General Assembly Institute
The GENERAL ASSEMBLY INSTITUTE was founded by Presiding Bishop C.C. Berry, Jr. Under his leadership along with the Institute’s President Eldress Cynthia Bursey, Director of Education Dr. Wheeler Jones, The Bishop and Executive Council of the General Assembly, the school is in the process of having an accredited college based curriculum established, to teach and train our ministers and lay persons, to grow and move forward in leading our Churches to higher heights.
The visionary journey of the Institute began on an afternoon reflective drive by Bishop C. C. Berry, Jr. During this fall 2002 drive, he discovered the transitioning facilities of the Shambach Ministries located at the intersection of County Roads 149 and 129, in Tyler, Texas. Being divinely led, Bishop Berry began to envision how the General Assembly Church of the Living God, Pillar and Ground of the Truth could utilize the corner building as a National Headquarters for officers and department leaders. He then began making inquiries about the possible purchase of the property and facilities.
Upon Purchase and a complete renovation and overhaul of the facilities, nine classrooms are beautifully decorated by individual families or churches in memory of loved ones. These classrooms have a 45 person theater style seating capacity, that also bear the names of those memorialized General Assembly pioneers.
The First General Assembly Institute Session was held during the November 2003 Annual Assembly. Members were excited to see a General Assembly Historical Hall of Fame with pictures of past presiding bishops; Bishop Canary Davis, Bishop James Pendleton and Bishop C. C. Berry, Sr. In addition, there is a pictorial exhibit of current and past Assembly leaders. An official dedication of the Institute occurred during this Assembly. The Hall of Fame is present upon entering the executive office area. The auditorium area has a spacious 350 seating capacity, in addition to a choir area. The north wall of the auditorium exhibits a pictorial review of each of the member churches of the General Assembly.
The second building had been converted into a Chapel, housing the Executive Board Room. This room has a large wooden mahogany conference table with leather chairs to accommodate the executive staff for meetings. Within this second building there is a spacious dining area with a fully equipped commercial kitchen with multiple freezers. Through the generous efforts of members and churches, all modern appliances were donated. The dining area will convert to accommodate educational trainings, if needed.
The 23.3 acres of rustic splendor was enhanced by the removal of the dilapidated gymnasium, abandoned trailers and other neglected housing. The well manicured lawn has been a source of beauty and enjoyment by our youth, young adults, and those that are young at heart. Efforts to maintain the beauty and comfort at the Institute have been a primary focus of Bishop Berry, the Executive Council, and the Institute Staff. Central air and heating, upgrading the sewage system, computer access, Internet with other technological supportive equipment, and illuminated outer areas are some of the conveniences at the Institute.
The General Objectives and Goals of the Institute are still being embraced today. They are:
• To promote Christian principles and doctrine n a structured learning environment
• To develop an academic program that will meet the needs of the students
• To create a learning environment that will provide a personal approach to their educational development
• To present a realistic and fundamental approach to adult instruction and learning
In an effort to provide the members and supporters of the General Assembly a realistic learning experience in this divinely inspired educational environment, the GENERAL ASSEMBLY INSTITUTE has adopted the motto: “Learning to Do, Doing to learn, Learning to Live, and Living to Serve”. We embrace the spirit of this motto as the Institute strives to make a difference in the lives in this and future generations.
We are thankful to God for His divine guidance, the divinely inspired vision of Bishop Berry, and the supportive members of the General Assembly Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth. To God be the Glory!