Born in Barbados in 1936, Wood came to London in 1962 and served as a curate, then honorary curate, of St. Thomas with St. Stephen, Shepherd's Bush, until 1974. Being struck by the harsh conditions that black immigrants had to undergo and by the problems of the inner city, Wood maintained an active interest in race relations and social justice in London. He was a founder member of the Paddington Churches Housing Association, and was appointed the Bishop of London's race relations officer in 1966, and was Bishop of Croydon from 1985 to 2003.
Dr. Oliver Lyseight arrived in the United Kingdom in 1953 and being a devoted Christian, immediately sought for a place of worship. He started out by attending the Methodist Church in Wolverhampton which was acceptable until there a change in Pastoral charge resulted in him experiencing some amount of racism.
He began to explore the region seeking for places to preach the gospel and in speaking with other immigrants, realised that racism was rife towards them also. So much so that a number of people had given up going to church altogether rather than face a constant barrage of insults.
Dr. Lyseight then decided, along with fellow brethren, that they would have to start their own church to house these brethren who were craving a comfortable place of worship.
He started out by having prayer meetings in someone's home before discovering the availability of a hall in the YMCA building. The New Testament Church of God was already operating in the USA and Jamaica, therefore the name was continued here in the U.K.
During that era, a large number of people were arriving from the West Indies in search of 'a better life' for themselves and their families; and these people were always searching for a place of worship. News spread fast about this new vibrant place of worship and the congregation grew steadily in numbers.
Before long, branches had been established in Birmingham, Walsall and London and Dr. Lyseight was appointed as National Overseer by the State Board in the USA.
Dr. Lyseight continued touring the Country preaching the Gospel, while his wife Rose headed a group of singers who would accompany him on these engagements. Through their joint efforts of preaching and singing, the 'black' Church was becoming better known and accepted in the British Society.
Under Dr. Lyseight's administration:
- A number of Districts were established throughout the U.K.
- District Pastors were appointed
- A National Calendar was established with annual conventions, conferences & seminars
Today, the New Testament Church of God stands proud with over 107 branches, 12 missions and over 10,000 members with a further 20,000 adherents.
We salute Dr. Oliver Lyseight as a great man of God and indeed a great Black Briton!