About us



"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

Matthew 6:10

Life and Praise is made up of people from every socio-economic background and persuasion. We welcome everyone who desires to find light in a world full of darkness. We desire to be a citadel of deliverance to those in need and allow the Spirit of God to influence everything we do.


We firmly believe that the church's purpose is to transform the society around them by bringing heaven to earth. Jesus prayed that earth would become like more like heaven. This isn't something for which we have to die in order to experience. It is something every believer in Jesus can experience now. At CLP, we are dedicated to living out this reality.

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Meet Some of Our Leaders

Rev. James and Barbara Heard

Senior Pastors

Rev. James and Barbara Heard have been pastors of CLP for 50 years. Over that time, they have discipled scores of individuals into the ministry. Pastor Heard is dedicated to seeing the church fulfill its role in bringing God's kingdom to earth and has received a doctorate in systematic theology. James and Barbara have two children and six grandchildren.

Ray Stephens

Assistant to the Pastor

Jim Tracy

Ignite Youth Pastor

Deanna Leathers

Worship and Creative Arts Director

Russ Spofford

Home Bible Study Pastor





The Church of Life and Praise was originally established and incorporated as The Ellsworth Full Gospel Church. The church was birthed out of prayer meetings held at the home of the Rev. Lila Gallagher, who resided at 32 West Main Street, on Bridge Hill. The prayer meetings grew, until it was realized that a new church building was desperately needed to house the fledgling congregation. In the year 1966, land on Grant Street in Ellsworth was donated to the congregation.

     At this time, Rev. Lila Gallagher discovered that she had cancer in the advanced stages. Her doctor did not give her long to live. She called the Rev. Lawrence Heard to her bedside and  asked him to assume the oversight as pastor of the small group. Pastor Heard was in the process of establishing a missions church in Rockland, Maine known as Calvary Tabernacle. Nevertheless, he assented to her request, and upon pastor Gallagher’s death became the new pastor.

      He traveled weekly, approximately 60 miles to oversee the work in Ellsworth. The death of the former pastor necessitated the congregation to meet in various homes until a place of worship could be erected at the Grant Street site. Preparations began in earnest to build a new church building on the Grant Street property. Under the direction of its pastor, Rev. Lawrence Heard, the congregation faithfully executed the plans for a building, and on Saturday, June 29, 1968, the first church service was held in the newly constructed basement chapel. The structure was built into the steep hillside property, and the congregation affectionately referred to the church as “the underground chapel.” That Fall, the congregation was officially incorporated as The Ellsworth Full Gospel Church.

     Having faithfully executed his responsibilities in settling the young congregation into their place of worship, and feeling the added pressure of pastoring two churches, pastor Lawrence Heard tendered his resignation at the Sunday morning service, on September 22, 1968. His last Sunday as pastor was Sunday, October 13, 1968. Upon his resignation, the pastoral responsibilities rested upon his brother, the Rev. James Heard, who was serving as assistant pastor at the time. Pastor James Heard’s first service as pastor was Sunday, October 13, 1968. He has served as senior pastor ever since.

      The congregation worshipped at the Grant Street location for the next five years. Pastor Heard, along with the congregation, labored faithfully and experienced steady growth into what is now a strong, healthy body of believers many times the size of that first eleven members.


      Finding the Grant Street location inadequate for expansion, and after a series of miracles that provided the opportunity and means where there first were none, land was purchased at 321 State Street, Ellsworth. In the year 1973, work was begun on a new church building. On Sunday, January 4, 1974, the first service was held in the new church.


      For thirty-four years, 1974-2008, the congregation worshipped, grew, and was expanded. In year of 1990 the church helped establish and accommodated a new interdenominational Christian School—Life Christian Academy. The school was hosted at the State Street location for approximately five years and eventually re-located due to the growing student body.

Another milestone was realized in June of 1999. The Ellsworth Full Gospel Church officially changed its name to what is now known as The Church of Life and Praise.

Then on Saturday, July 19, 2008, at approximately 10:30 p.m., tragedy struck. Pastor Heard was called swiftly to the property to discover that the church of thirty four years was engulfed in flames. Church member after church member arrived at the property to look on helplessly as the church burned. Though fire crews bravely battled the blaze, it was a total loss. Pastor Heard lost fifty years of ministerial work; books, messages, and memories.

      However, the next morning (Sunday, July 20, 2008) the congregation met under the weeping willow trees to identify the loss in the light of the sun and give thanks to the Lord for His bountiful provision, even in the midst of tragedy. Under the trees, in the open sunny air, the congregation made a united decision to begin again and, with the help of the Lord, erect a new edifice for the glory of the Lord.


​      The outpouring of love from the Ellsworth community and beyond was simply amazing. St. Joseph Catholic Church opened its parish hall for the congregation to worship and make it their church home for three and a half years. Following their stay at St. Josephs, the Ellsworth YMCA also graciously opened their facility to Life and Praise and, for about two years, they worshiped there as they constructed a new building.


      The congregation of The Church of Life and Praise worked diligently on a new church building for several years until, finally, the goal was reached. On Sunday, January 6, 2013 the church body moved into a new, beautiful building where they have worshiped until the present day.


      With humble and thankful hearts we give God praise and glory for the many miracles we witnessed along this journey. Only the Lord could have seen us through into the facility we have now. Nevertheless, we now look forward into the future. With faithful expectation and trust in God, we are jumping into the next phase our journey. Plans are already in the works to expand as the Lord continues - as He has from the church’s inception - to grow our family of believers, as we follow Him and His marvelous plan for us.

Nehemiah 2: 20

“…The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; Therefore we His servants will arise and build.”

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