On July 26, and October 9, 1966, two special Executive Committee meetings were held in response to the action of the ALLEGHENY CONFERENCE CONSTITUENCY MEETING, in session May 1, 1966, in Baltimore, Maryland, recommending the division of the ALLEGHENY CONFERENCE and the establishment of two Black administered conferences in the same geographical region effective January 1, 1967.
Initial Constituent Action
In the constituency meeting of November 20, 1966, the delegates for the eastern portion of the conference elected Elder W. A. Thompson as President and Elder Edward Dorsey as Secretary-Treasurer. On January 1, 1967, the ALLEGHENY WEST CONFERENCE commenced operation with 44 churches, 7,144 members and a tithe income base of $776,589.43.
The Allegheny Conference was established September 26, 1945. This was a historical year for Blacks in the Columbia Union Conference. The Allegheny Conference was organized in the rear of a book store near Howard University with 4,000 members. Elder J. H. Wagner was elected the first president, and by the end of 1967, the conference was divided into two conferences: Allegheny East and West. The Allegheny West Conference elected Elder W. M. Starks as it first president. Later, he became the Stewardship Secretary for the General Conference. Then, Elder Donald B. Simons was chosen as the second president and a major share of organizational details in setting up the new conference fell to Elder Simons. In an arrangement with the Ohio Conference, Allegheny West used its campground Mount Vernon for Camp Meeting.
In 1972 Elder Harold L. Cleveland became the third president. He was president from 1972-1983. In 1982, membership increased to 8,703 with forty-four congregations which was served by twenty-four ministers. In the Spring of 1983 Elder Henry M. Wright was elected as it s forth president. As a former pastor in the conference, instructor of religion and pastoral ministry at Oakwood College, Elder Wright went on to serve as the Columbia Union Conference Executive Secretary. Elder W. J. Lewis became the fifth president from 1986 - 2001. Under Elder W. J. Lewis leadership, a campground was purchased in Thornville, OH A complete financial plan was enacted to build several facilities on the grounds including the Frank W. Hale, Sr. Pavilion for worship, a multipurpose building with an ABC, full dining and parking facility along with various improvements. Elder Hector Mouzon, Conference Secretary, served as the conference (interim) 6th president for three months after Elder W. J. Lewis went on to serve as Vice President of United Prison Ministries, Inc. In 2001 Elder James L. Lewis, former treasurer, became the 7th president of Allegheny West.
In 2009 when Elder James Lewis accepted a call to serve as the Director of The Office of Regional Conference Ministries located on the campus of Oakwood University, Elder Fredrick Russell was selected to become the 8th president of the Conference. In 2011 Elder Russell accepted a call to pastor Berean Church in Atlanta, GA. The Executive Committee selected Dr. William T. Cox to serve as president.
Elder Cox is a graduate of Oakwood University (Huntsville, Ala.), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (New Orleans, La.), where he received a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education, and United Theological Seminary (Dayton, Ohio), where he received a Doctor of Ministry. His 32 years of pastoral ministry have been dedicated to populating the kingdom of God. He began his ministry in the Southwest Region Conference, where he spent 17 years, before moving on to the Southern California Conference where he pastored the Berean church in Los Angeles. He spent the past 13 years of his ministry in Allegheny West Conference.