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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. Dr. James and Barbara Heard

Senior Pastors

Rev. Dr. 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

& Board Member

Jim Tracy

Men's Ministry Pastor

& Board Member

Russ Spofford

Home Bible Study Pastor

& Board Member

Tim Leathers

Media Director

& Board Member

Deanna Leathers

Worship and Creative Arts Director

Alec Leathers

Ignite Youth Pastor



God is one. He has revealed Himself to us as eternally self-existent and indivisible.


God’s nature is that of pure love and perfect justice. He is the incorruptible creator of all that is.


Human beings were originally created in the image of God; good and upright. Yet, through disobedience, they fell into sin.


The Bible is divinely inspired and perfect. God breathed on the pens of those who crafted it and supernaturally guided its formation. It is the only true message from God.


Baptism in Jesus’ name by immersion in water is an essential element of salvation. It is a symbol of Jesus’ burial and resurrection.


Tithing, or giving God the first ten percent of everything you earn, is God’s Biblically prescribed financial plan for the church.


Jesus is God manifested to us in flesh. God wrapped Himself in flesh and was born of the virgin Mary.


Jesus lived a life completely free of sin or unholiness. He did this through His humanity to provide for us an example of how to live life in surrender to God’s Spirit.


Jesus gave His life on the cross as a flawless substitute for our sin-earned punishment. Three days later, He rose from the grave.


The Holy Spirit is God. He first released Himself into 120 of Jesus’ disciples on the day of Pentecost and is still active today.


The infilling of the Holy Spirit is essential for every believer to live an empowered life. It is first evidenced by supernaturally speaking in unknown languages.


The Holy Spirit empowers us with supernatural gifts that should operate in the daily lives of all those who are filled.


All those who accept Jesus’ death and resurrection as truth, and repent of their sins, making public their decision, will receive eternal life and a future with Jesus in heaven.


The receiving of the Lord’s Supper, or communion, is open to all who believe in Christ. It is a symbol of the bodily sacrifice Jesus paid for our salvation and healing.


Hell is a real place, but it was created for satan and his fallen angels, not for humankind. Nevertheless, those who deny Jesus unconsciously chain themselves to the punishment awaiting satan.


Divine healing, both physically and emotionally, is an integral part of the holistic provision of Jesus’ death on the cross.


Living a pure, holy life is clearly taught in the scriptures and is a requirement of all those who believe in Jesus. This requires daily prayer and reading of the Bible.


Sanctification is an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life, separating them from what is evil and drawing them into a closer relationship with God.


The Church is the spiritual body of Jesus here on earth. It is a collection of believers who are active in bringing the miraculous reality of God’s love to the world.


Just as Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, a day is coming soon when Jesus will return to establish the eternal home of His kingdom, where every believer will rule with him over His new creation in everlasting bliss.



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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