The Honorable Bishop Mervin Armstead, Sr., Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Temple Church, Monticello, New York, was born on July 4th, 1936 in Bromley, Alabama to the late Jessie Armstead and Equilla Sledge Armstead. God sent an angel and escorted him home on Monday, January 14, 2019.
Bishop Armstead spent his early life in Bromley and in 1948, his family moved to Lake Butler, Florida where he attended Shaw Grosse School. In 1955, he came to Monticello, New York to join his older sister, the late Ceola Armstead Bickham and his older brother David Armstead. He found employment at Raitens Mattress Company and later at Channel Masters Corp (VAW of America) where he retired after 32 years.
In 1958, Bishop Armstead became a member of Bethlehem Temple Church under the leadership of the late Founder and Pastor, the late Rev. Martha Finn. In this same year, he met and married the late Lola Strong Armstead. This union was blessed with seven sons and three daughters.
Bishop Armstead served faithfully at Bethlehem Temple as Janitor, Sunday School Superintendent, Ordained Deacon, Missionary Chairperson, and Minister.
In 1985, Pastor Finn became ill and she appointed Bishop Armstead as Asst. Pastor. Following her death, he was installed as Pastor in 1988. He later met and married the late Evangelist Sharon White with whom he shared his love for the next fourteen years. Evangelist Sharon Armstead was Bethlehem Temple's first "FIRST LADY". She passed away on January 15, 2003. Bishop Armstead was a man of great faith and vision. It was because of his "crazy faith" and vision that the church was reconstructed in 2003 and re-dedicated in 2004. Over the years Bishop Armstead was noted for his love of community and his availability to "ALL" people. He often traveled miles within the tri-state area visiting the sick at hospitals and homes and offering spiritual guidance to many. He was a man of integrity and respect whom was loved and respected.
Bishop Armstead served as Pastor of Bethlehem Temple Church for over 28 years and was committed to making this community a better place. In 2008, Bishop Armstead married Lillian Lubiano. He retired from pastoring in 2015. He served as District Elder of the 3rd, 10th and 24th Episcopal districts of the New York, Pennsylvania and New England States Council. He was a Jurisdictional Bishop with the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.
He leaves to cherish his memories, his wife, Lillian, at home in New Kensington, PA, four sons, Mervin Armstead, Jr. and Eric Armstead (Jackie) both of Richmond, VA, Byron Armstead (Janet) of Georgia and Marcus Armstead of Monticello, N.Y.; two daughters, Flora Armstead of Monticello, N.Y., and Theresa Armstead of Middletown, N.Y.; ten grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, the Strong family, the White Family, the Lubiano Family, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, saints and friends. He was also predeceased by four children: James, Wayne, Herman and Chrissey.
Viewing is on Monday January 21, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm with a memorial service starting at 6pm at the Bethlehem Temple Church, 93 Fairground Road in Monticello - Elder Ryan Tinsley, Sr. Pastor. Additional viewing on Tuesday January 22 from 10:00am to 11:00am with a funeral service starting at 11:00am with Bishop Gilbert Edwards officiating. Burial will follow at Rock Ridge Cemetery in Monticello.
Arrangements are under the direction of the VanInwegen-Kenny, Inc. Funeral Home of Monticello, NY. For additional information or to send an online condolence, please visit www.kennyfuneralhome.com.