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Emmanuel Temple Mourns Loss of Founder

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Portland Bishop A.A. Wells Passes at age 81

Bishop A. A. Wells is pictured outside his Emmanuel Temple church in north Portland in this Portland Observer archive photo from 2010. The founding bishop of the church and an esteemed leader in Portland’s African American community, Wells died March 14 at the age of 81.

With a heavy heart, the family of Bishop A.A. Wells, the founding pastor of Portland’s Emmanuel Temple church, has announced the passing of their father, grandfather, and church patriarch who died March 14 in the comfort of his home surrounded by Mother Mattie Wells and his family.

Bishop A.A. Wells was an esteemed leader in Portland’s African American community. He founded Emmanuel Temple on April 11, 1965 where he faithfully served as pastor for nearly 40 years. He also founded the Full Gospel Pentecostal Association in 1971, a national fellowship that launched churches and led over 100 pastors and ministries.

The church released the following statement:

“As a General in the Body of Christ, Bishop Wells was committed to ‘paying his community dues.’ He was a civic leader who worked with other great influencers such as Ambassador Andrew Young and Rev. Jesse Jackson. He was trusted by governors, mayor and local officials. Bishop Wells will forever be known as a community pillar; a leader’s leader and a spiritual father to many.”

Plans call for a public viewing where Bishop Wells will lie in state on Saturday, March 28 at Emmanuel Church, 1038 N. Sumner St., where time will be reserved from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for community members age 60 and above, and from noon to 3 p.m. for the general public. Because of the current coronavirus pandemic, social distancing requirements will be enforced. If you are not feeling well or have underlying health challenges, you will be asked to refrain from attending and will be encouraged to view by live stream video.

A national homegoing celebration in Wells’ honor is pending the release of government-mandated gathering restrictions. Bishop A.A. Wells’ final resting place will be in Three Rivers, Mississippi.

In lieu of flowers, monetary donations can be made via PayPal to the Personal condolence cards and official condolence letters and resolutions can be sent to the Bishop A.A. Wells Legacy Fund at P.O. Box 823215, Vancouver, WA 98682 or email


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