United Pentecostal Church changes name to First Pentecostal Church

United Pentecostal Church on Northern Avenue changed its name to First Pentecostal Church this week. (Photo by Shawn Byrne/Daily Miner)

United Pentecostal Church on Northern Avenue changed its name to First Pentecostal Church this week. (Photo by Shawn Byrne/Daily Miner)

KINGMAN – A former member of United Pentecostal Church was unhappy with the church at 2498 E. Northern Ave. continuing to use that name after it dropped its membership in February 2017 from the state and international associations.

Jerry Phelps, who left the church in October 2016, found out it wasn’t associated with the United Pentecostal Church International any longer when he was lodging other complaints against the local UPC church and its pastor, the Rev. Jerry Walker.

“For a little more than a year he’d been running under that name knowing he was dropped over a year ago,” Phelps told the Daily Miner. “When you are taking tithes, offerings, and gifts under a name you’re not, it’s not right.”

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The Arizona district superintendent for United Pentecostal Church sent a certified letter to the local church on Northern Avenue to stop using its name. (Photo by Travis Rains/Daily Miner)

After Walker spoke with the Daily Miner Wednesday, the local church began its process for changing its name from United to First. The sign in front of the church was replaced, the website upckingman.com was taken down, the church’s voicemail was changed to reflect First Pentecostal, and its Facebook page appears to have been removed.

The Rev. Robert Allen, Arizona United Pentecostal Church district superintendent, said his organization sent a certified letter to Walker to have him stop using the UPC name. He was getting concerned his organization would have to contact a lawyer.

“If you’re not part of our group, please don’t use our name,” Allen said Tuesday. “To use our name is false advertising to me. If something like a crisis were to happen, we don’t want our name attached. We just want to protect our name.”

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United Pentecostal Church on Northern Avenue changed its name to First Pentecostal Church this week. (Photo by Shawn Byrne/Daily Miner)

Allen was satisfied when he found out Walker was moving on from United to First Pentecostal Church. It didn’t appear that was going to be happening so soon as of last weekend. Flyers were being passed around Kingman inviting people to United Pentecostal Church with the promise of a new Bible and Walmart gift card for all visitors. The flyer included Walker’s name.

“I’m not trying to misguide anyone, and we’re not trying to be fraudulent,” Walker told the Daily Miner Wednesday. “We are in the process of changing.”

Services at First Pentecostal Church are at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sundays, and 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Call (928) 757-2109 for more information.