The Armor Bearers Young Peoples' Union was founded in 1922 at the Refuge Temple Church of Harlem, NY – the mother church and current headquarters of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc. Our founder, Bishop Robert C. Lawson, saw the spiritual and natural potential of the youth and organized them into a union. Leon Seely was the first president. The union began with only senior aged young people (18 through 35). But as membership increased it also diversified and the constituency of the union grew to include intermediate groups (teens) and junior groups (children) as well. In the beginning there were only a few Young Peoples' Unions in the organization and no thought of a national union. However, as the number of members and local unions multiplied, it became necessary to organize all local unions into a national body. Soon, state and diocesan unions were also established throughout the organization. Mrs. A.T. Slade was instrumental in corresponding with local unions and helped to organize them nationally. She was given the title of Honorary National President.
The name Armor Bearers was suggested to Bishop Lawson by Mrs. Beatrice Brooks Utterbach. Since its establishment, the ABYPU has always been an organization of innovation and creativity. Our leadership, initiatives and programs have had a lasting effect on the youth of C.O.O.L.J.C. and the organization as a whole.
The A.B.Y.P.U. is proud of its heritage and notable impact since its inception. We boast in the ranks of past international presidents who have grown to the highest levels of leadership in the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, including the Board of Apostles, Board of Bishops, Board of Education and Deacon’s Union. Throughout the organization, current pastors, auxiliary presidents and leaders began their service to the organization as leaders of a local or diocese A.B.Y.P.U. Today’s Armor Bearers Young Peoples' Union continues to expand and nurture the talents and gifts of young people, turning potentials into actuality, and keeping the vision of our founder alive.
"The International Armor Bearers Young Peoples' Union (IABYPU) is the official youth arm of the historic Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. Established in 1922, the IABYPU and is the oldest standing auxiliary of COOLJC."