Ministry Timeline

1921 Edward Earl Cleveland is born on March 11 to William C. and Eunice Cleveland on Pulaski Pike in Huntsville, AL

1939Graduates from Howard High School in Chattanooga, TN. He is valedictorian and president of his class. That Fall he enters Oakwood Junior College.

1941 Graduates from Oakwood Junior College.

1942On June 2, begins ministry as intern  in the Carolina Conference. President H. E. Lysinger predicts he will be the next Sidney Scott if he will keep his feet on the ground.

1943 In March,  Earl’s mother, Mrs. Eunice (Pettigrew) Cleveland passes in Chattanooga, TN.

1943 Earl marries Celia Abney on May 29 in Meridian, Mississippi.

1946 When the South Atlantic Conference is organized he is hired as pastor / evangelist. After pastoring for seven years he becomes full-time evangelist in 1949.

1950 Cleveland becomes evangelist for the Southern Union Conference.

1954 Cleveland is elected Associate Secretary of the Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He serves there for 23 years.

1954 Holds historic evangelistic meeting in Montgomery on the corner of Smythe and High where over 500 persons are baptized.

1956 Earl’s father,  William Clifford Cleveland, born March 6, 1890, dies on May 4 at the Riverside Hospital in Nashville, TN. His last words to his three sons were, “The just shall live by faith. Don’t forget it.”

1964 Publishes first of two Sabbath School Quarterlies that he wrote. The other was published in 1981.

1965 Holds meeting in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad where 812 are baptized and another 400 in follow-up meetings. As a result the Cleveland Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church is organized.

1968 Publishes, Mine Eyes Have Seen, the first of 16 books that he authored.

1968 Andrews University confers Doctor of Divinity degree on Cleveland. He is first African-American to receive honorary doctorate from this school. He received an LLD from Daniel Payne College the same year.

1972 Evangelism Coordinator for the North American Division until 1977.

1977 Becomes Director of the Department of Church Missions at Oakwood College in Huntsville, AL

1980 The South Park Seventh-day Adventist Church is established in Birmingham, AL from members baptized during summer evangelistic meeting for his brother, William J. Cleveland.

1979 Founded the Annual Council on Evangelism which is held each winter at Oakwood College.

1986 On October 22 he is invited to the White House for a briefing with President Ronald Reagan on International and National Affairs.

1990 Holds final tent meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. It is city-wide meeting in which nearly 200 persons are baptized.

1993 Inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Preachers and Scholars at Morehouse College.

2003 His wife, Celia, dies on May 31 after 60 years of marriage and work together.

2006 Holds final evangelistic meeting. It is a four week meeting conducted for Dr. Calvin Rock at the Abundant Live Church in Las Vegas, NV

2007 The Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Leadership Center opens at Oakwood University on October 22.

2007 The Center for Adventist Research Center dedicates Edward Earl Cleveland Collection at Andrews University on November 8.

2009 Cleveland dies on August 30 in Huntsville, AL. Funeral is held on September 9 at the Oakwood University Church