Bishop Michael A. Clayton, Sr., a native Philadelphian, was born on June 28, 1952, to the late Samuel T. Clayton, Sr., and Beatrice Clayton. He was the eighth son born into a family of ten boys. God richly blessed him to be reared in a household where God was honored and where he was taught about Jesus as Savior and Lord.
On August 21, 1976, Bishop Clayton was united in holy wedlock to the former Cynthia Beauford, also of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who has gone home to be with the Lord in December 2010. They enjoyed a wonderful marriage and family life together. To this union two children were born, Michael A., II and Kevin. Bishop Clayton is very proud of his sons, beloved daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren.
Having been brought up in the Church of God from birth, he was very active in many church functions at an early age. It was evident, even as a young lad, that he definitely possessed leadership capabilities. He was faithful and committed to serving God in his youth.
Bishop Clayton is a qualified leader in both church and secular arenas. God has been preparing him for a life of spiritual leadership and service in the body of Christ. He is an extraordinary organizer, administrator and programmer. Bishop Clayton received his education in the Philadelphia School system. He graduated from the West Philadelphia High School as an honor student in 1969. He is a graduate (1973) of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was on the Dean’s list, receiving a Bachelor Degree in Education. From 1975-1978, he earned a Master of Education Degree in Educational Administration and an Elementary Principal’s Certification in January 1981 from Temple University. In 1983, he received his Secondary Principal’s Certification from Cheyney State University. He continued to pursue his education by returning to the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility in 1992.
Bishop Clayton was an employee of the Philadelphia School District for 34 years. He has served in a variety of impressive positions and has received a number of meritorious awards. After becoming Regional Superintendent, in August 2002, he was responsible for the administrative and supervision of fifty-nine (59) schools, where the strong focus was on instruction and management. On September 17, 2007, Bishop Clayton took an early retirement from the School District of Philadelphia to focus full time on his responsibilities as Pastor and Bishop in the Gospel Spreading Church.
In October 1978, he obediently heeded God’s call into the preaching ministry and was duly ordained a Minister of the Gospel on January 1, 1985. On January 1, 1984, he was installed as the Assistant Pastor of the Philadelphia Church of God, under the watch care of the late Elder Willie Edwards, who was the General Overseer at that time. On January 1, 1986, he became the Pastor of the Philadelphia Church. That same year in October 1986, he was appointed as Assistant General Overseer under the late Bishop James R. Riddick. On June 26, 2004, he was appointed Bishop Elect of the Gospel Spreading churches, and was duly consecrated as Bishop and General Overseer on November 7, 2004.
With Bishop Clayton’s many achievements, he has remained a humble servant of God. Over the years, he has displayed profound faith, courage, fortitude, ingenuity, and patience with a unwavering commitment to God. He is dedicated to the church and to the ministry. His goal for the Gospel Spreading Church is to revitalize it as a place where Jesus Christ will always be lifted up, where the presence of God is evident, where prayer and love permeates everything that is done and believers become disciples and make disciples.
Bishop Clayton values education and uses his knowledge to rightly divide God’s Word, and admonishes the Philadelphia Church to “Study to show themselves approved unto God, workmen
that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
(II Timothy 2:15)
Bishop Clayton’s life is verse: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)