Bishop Chester Perclease Friend, affectionately known as “Poppi”, “PopPop”, “Grandaddy”, and “Buddy”, a humble man, a man of wisdom, a visionary, and pastor of Greater Mt. Zion Pentecostal Holiness Church, Inc., made his transition around family on May 1, 2020. He was 92 years old.
Chester Perclease Friend was born in Preston, MD to the late Chester Friend and Magalene Williams on August 19, 1927. He received his education through the Caroline County School System. On November 24, 1945, Chester married Lela Mae King, from this union six children were born. On November 27, 1945, he enlisted in the United States Army. While in the Army, he was a Duty Non Commissioned Officer, he received a World War II victory ribbon, and was honorably discharged on November 26, 1946.
Chester Friend had several occupations throughout his life. In the early years, he was a heavy equipment operator, a diesel mechanic, a car mechanic for over 30 years, and a truck driver. His greatest occupation was pastor. He loved pastoring, caring for the people, and the church was dear to his heart. It was ordained and in God’s plan that Chester Friend be witnessed to about the plan of salvation in 1946, by his loving wife, Sis. Lela Friend. He was baptized in Jesus Name, and not long after, received the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. Brother Friend served as a dedicated Sunday School teacher for approximately 15 years, under the pastorate of the late Elder Ernest Holland at Mt. Zion Pentecostal Holiness Church. After the illness of Elder Holland, Bro Friend was appointed Pastor and Elder in May of 1968, and has served in the capacity of Pastor for 52 years. Elder Friend was directed from the Lord to expand the building of Mt. Zion. He was instructed to lay the foundation, stop the building process until the appointed time, and watch God move!! He was a visionary, and with the guidance and following directions from the Lord, the church was designed without a blueprint, and Greater Mt. Zion was completed and is fondly known as “The Temple in the Country”.
In 1992, Elder Friend was appointed as District Elder in the DC, Delaware, and Maryland District Council of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., under the leadership of the late Bishop Willard E. Saunders Sr. In 1995, through the direction of Bishop Thomas Weeks Sr., elevated District Elder Friend to Suffragan Bishop. Suffragan Bishop Friend remained in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., for several years.
In 2011, Bishop Friend became independent and was the Presider of Greater Mt. Zion Pentecostal Holiness Church, Inc. On August 25, 2013, Bishop Friend was honored with a bronze bust
for his 45th Pastoral Anniversary. “Give honor, where honor is due”
Bishop Friend was preceded in death by his loving wife of 58 years, Mother Lela Friend, five children; Darwinian Friend, Samuel Friend, Eugene Friend, Ann Freeman, and Kenney Friend Sr.; his father, Chester Friend; his mother and step-father, Magalene and Belvert Williams, and two sisters Ruby Cephas and Lola Williams.
Bishop Friend leaves to cherish his memories, one son, Lonnie Friend Sr.; two daughters/granddaughters Lela Freeman and Tamara Fletcher (Jeremy); eleven grandchildren, Liz Dickinson(Kevin), Darwayne Meekins, Camille Friend, Williams Adams, Kenney Friend Jr., Lonnie Friend Jr., Devin Friend, DeMarius Friend (Brittany), Cameron Friend, Deonta Green, and Mya Kane; twelve great grandchildren, Carl Green, Jesse Green, Samika Meekins, India Adams, Jeremy Fletcher Jr., Ja’Aron Fletcher, Emmanuel Fletcher, Nasir Adams, Zion Adams, Josiah Adams, Sydney Friend, and Josiah Green; three great-great grandchildren, Amari Jenkins, Londyn Brittingham, and Myles Brittingham; one brother, Oscar Williams; three daughters-in-law, Shirley Friend, Regina Friend and Sandra Beaulah; one son-in-law and caregiver, Anthony Freeman, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and his faithful Greater Mt. Zion
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