Bishop Nathaniel Simmons, DD, S.O.P. Founder

The key word is great.  Bishop Nathaniel Simmons was not great because he deserved it or because others wanted it, Bishop Simmons was great because he followed the example of Jesus.  Jesus was a servant, and he preempted himself of his glory with God, just to become a servant.  Mark 10:43,44, "Let him that would be great among you be your minister, and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be your servant."​

Bishop Simmons certainly was a servant indeed.  He served his church, his people, and his community.  A really great man is known by at least three things: generosity in design, humanity in execution, and moderation in success.  Bishop was all of these and more.  Bishop's generosity was unparalleled.  He gave of himself, all of the time, and with all of his heart.  His humanitarianism was par excellence, for he who gave so much, loved much.  His success never caused him to be self-exalted or self-deserving, because he was not just a good man, he was God's man.
Bishop Nathaniel Simmons, son the late Reverend Mose and Mother Eva Adams Simmons was born on June 6, 1937 in Summerville (Jedburg), South Carolina.  He graduated from Alston High School then moved to New York City to continue his education.  He was called into the ministry in December 1962.  He received a Baccalaureate degree in Theology and a Masters in Pastoral Excellence from the Manhattan Bible Institute in New York City.  He received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the Fuller Normal Industrial Institute in Greenville, South Carolina.

In October 1965, Bishop Simmons began his first pastorate at St. Paul FBH Church in New Rochelle, NY.  The church was blessed abundantly and many souls were added to the local assembly.

In November 1966, Bishop was sent to Zion Chapel FBH Church in Chicago, Ill.  Once again, the Lord used him to minister to the needs of the people and Zion Chapel grew as souls were saved and added to the church.  This was with much suffering for the cause of Christ and the preaching of the unadulterated gospel.  Because of his stand for holiness in one of the roughest areas in Chicago, his church was burned and his home bombed.  In spite of this, the church gain added strength and flourished.
In the early stage of his ministry, Bishop Simmons fell in love and married the beautiful and charming, the late Johnnie Mae Keasley.  To this union four children were born.  Glenn Nathaniel, (who preceded him in death), Bishop Wayne Andre', Stacie, and Natalie.  This core group worked untiringly in ministry and faced together the obstacles and challenges to overcome, through Christ, with victory.
In November 1975, because of the added threats, and for the security of his family, Bishop Simmons was sent to St. Paul FBH Church in Newark, NJ.  Seizing the opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to utilize all of his skills, he believed God for the seemingly impossible.
St. Paul grew from a membership of eleven to twelve hundred during his administration.
He served as Presiding Elder of the California District for three years in the FBH Church.  In 1985, he was appointed to the office of Presiding Elder of the New Jersey District.   Over a span of eight years, the district grew from nine churches to twenty churches.

Bishop was known for his loving kindness, thoughtfulness and love for people.  He had a magnetic smile that would capture the heart; old hearts as well as the young.  His theme in life was "caring and sharing".  He was a role model for many young men and women in the church and community and known throughout the nation and abroad for his anointed preaching, teaching and singing abilities.
On December 16, 1993, Bishop Simmons and Sister Ruby F. Hill were unity in holy matrimony.  They worked hard in serving the church until his demise.
In October 1994, under the leading of the almighty God, he founded the Sounds of Praise Pentecostal Fellowship Ministries, Inc.  On November 26, 1994, along with Bishop-elects Allen H. Simmons, Charles W. Williams and Henry A. Tindal, J. Parks, John Bland and Walter B. Medlock, was consecrated and installed to the Bishopric, and anointed by the Presiding Bishop of the Churches of God in Christ, His Holiness Bishop Chandler D. Owens.  "To God be the Glory for the things He has done."

Bishop Simmons has been one of the most celebrated Pentecostal evangelists in this century.  His ministry has been a definite reality in our times: a Prince of Preachers, Counselor Extraordinaire, Master Teacher, and a Pastor's Pastor.  His anointing, charming personality and influence has won many souls to Christ, and his works do follow him.
Even in his ultimate message to the saints, he stood like Moses a giant among giants, a colossus, even in the midst of mighty men.  The request of his spirit parallels that of other great men; and he said, "Lord, I beseech thee, show me thy Glory."
Our Bishop entered into eternal rest on Sunday, February 21, 1999 at his home in South Orange, New Jersey at 7:30 PM.  He left to cherish his memory: a loving wife, Mrs. Ruby F. Simmons; four children, Bishop Wayne Andre' and wife, Kim; Mrs. Stacey Garner and husband, Van; Mrs. Natalie Wilson, and husband, Joe; and Miss Takesha Hill:  Six grandchildren: Jonathan Garner, Andrea Simmons, Aleesia Simmons, Wayne Andre' Simmons, 11, DeAndra Simmons and Tiffany Simmons; five brothers and wives, six sisters and husbands, too many nieces and nephews to count, aunts, uncles, cousins and a devoted church family, numerous spiritual sons and daughters, several godchildren and many wonderful friends.

God saw the road was getting rough
The hills were hard to climb
So, he gently closed your weary eyes
And whispered peace be thine.