In 1926, Henry Chauncey Brooks started his first church named Emmanuel Tabernacle, which was located at 4th and W Street, NW Washington, DC. After being there five months, he was informed that he had to leave because another church had purchased the building. This caused the small congregation to be scattered. For approximately three months he went without any accommodations. He stored the church equipment in the home of Charles and Alice Johnson, (his brother-in-law and Sister), at 3rd and Q Street, NW. This is where the church reorganized.
The membership consisted of his wife, Willie Shaw Dunston Brooks (Henry and Willie Brooks had three children at that time – Isabel, John and Essie); Charles and Alice Johnson; Rose Belle Howard; and Lovie Foster Brown. On the night of February 28, 1927, The Way of the Cross Church of Christ was started; however the name was not given until they located the building at 2nd and P Street, NW. The owner asked for what purpose they would be using the building, and Bishop Brooks answered, “A church”. He asked Deacon Bruce for a name. Deacon Bruce replied, “The Way of The Cross”. Until that time, they had only been regarded as the Church of Christ. Combined, we now have The Way of the Cross Church of Christ.
The Lord blessed tremendously, and in approximately one year, the building at 2nd and P Street, NW was filled to capacity. As a result, they were required to find another place to worship. They moved to 21st and M Street, NW. This building had a seating capacity of 300. After seven years there, it was also filled to capacity. One of the charter members, Samuel M. Cole, told Bishop Brooks about a building at 4th and Virginia Avenue, SE Washington, DC in May 1935. Bishop Brooks and Elder Alexander R. Harris went to see the building. As they sat in the 3rd bench in the middle aisle the Lord told Bishop Brooks to claim it and this is where it remained for the next twenty-eight years. A highway construction project forced the church to move.
In need of a place to worship, by the leading of the Lord Bishop Brooks found the building at 9th and D Street NE, Washington, DC in 1963. He inquired of the current pastor if the building was for sale and was told that they had just completed $100,000 worth of renovations, so they had no intention of selling. Bishop Brooks told the pastor that the Lord sent him there. He contacted an agent and the next Sunday, The Way of the Cross Church of Christ membership worshipped in the building.
The church received its charter credentials from Bishop Robert Clarence Lawson, Founder of Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in June 1928 and became incorporated in December 1933. The Way of the Cross organization now had the authority to establish and organize other churches. Elder Henry C. Brooks was consecrated as Bishop in 1933.
Bishop Henry C. Brooks served as Pastor of the Mother Church from 1927 until his death on June 12, 1967, Pastor of Ransom WOTCC from 1933-1947, and Presiding Bishop of The Way of the Cross, International from 1944-1967. Bishop Walter J. Thompson Sr., Bishop Willie James Davis, and Bishop Joseph Weathers were the three Elders that served as Interim Pastor for four month terms each.
Bishop John Luke Brooks, the brother-in-law of Bishop Henry C. Brooks, became the Pastor of the Mother Church from 1967-1978. He also served as the second Presiding Bishop of The Way of the Cross Church of Christ, International until his death in 1981.
Bishop Harry Clay Eggleston became the third Presiding Bishop of The Way of the Cross Church of Christ, International upon the death of Bishop John L. Brooks. He served in this capacity until his death from 1981-1985.
Bishop Leroy H. Cannady, Sr. became the fourth Presiding Bishop of the Way of the Cross Church of Christ, International in 1985. After thirty years of service to the organization and remaining loyal to its doctrine and his stance on the resounding declaration that “The Way of the Cross Leads Home” Bishop Cannady decided it was time for a change in leadership. He served in this capacity from 1985 – 2015.
Bishop Alphonzo D. Brooks, the son of the late founder, Bishop Henry C Brooks, became the fifth Presiding Bishop of the Way of the Cross Church of Christ, International on August 7, 2015. Bishop Alphonzo D. Brooks has served in many capacities within the Way of the Cross Church of Christ, International and desires to continue the legacy of leading souls to Christ, helping the Way of the Cross Church of Christ, International grow domestically and internationally, and honoring his predecessors by proclaiming, ““The Way of the Cross Leads Home”!