Pastor, Teacher, Leader & Friend Earley Dillard was born in Axton, Virginia, the only son to the late Jesse and Prudencie Dillard. He has a sister, Geneva Dillard Hart of San Jose, California. Earley grew up in the Martinsville/Henry County area of Virginia. He was educated in the Henry County public schools. After graduating high school, he enlisted into the United States Air Force where he served for four years. His tour of duty included a year in the Republic of Vietnam and Saigon. He received a degree in Aircraft Repair from Aircraft Tech School, Amarillo, TX. After receiving an honorable discharge from the military, he became a Professional Truck Driver, receiving a Professional Truck Driver’s Certificate from the Virginia Carolina Truck Driving School, Martinsville, VA. He also continued his education with studies at the Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Earley became a member of Shiloh Way of the Cross Church of Christ at the age of seven. He was baptized in the name Jesus by the founder and Pastor, Bishop H. C. Eggleston, and was filled with the Holy Ghost shortly afterwards. After straying away from God for seven years (age 15 to 22), he rededicated his life to the Lord on November 17, 1969. He was called into the ministry in 1970. He preached his first public sermon “Prayer Is The Answer” on March 14, 1972 at Shiloh WOTC Church. He faithfully served under the leadership of Bishop Eggleston where he taught the teen Sunday School Class, sang in the Adult Choir, was President of the Youth Department, and was overseer of the Transportation and Travel Department.
On August 21, 1971, he was married to Miss Janice Dodson of Martinsville, VA. They have a daughter and a son-in-law, Bishop and Mrs. Eric (Tonia) Cannady of Stone Mountain, Georgia; three grandchildren, Lincia Brooke Cannady, Christian Dillard Cannady and Ashton Dillard Cannady.
In November 1984, after the death of Bishop Eggleston (who was also the 3rd Presiding Bishop of the Way of the Cross Organization), Elder Dillard took the torch, continued to run the race, laboring to bring the church on forward to higher plains in Christ Jesus. He was formerly consecrated Pastor of Shiloh Way of the Cross Church of Christ on June 8, 1985. The spiritual growth of the church has been a great blessing in his ministry. His leadership is highly respected throughout the Martinsville/Henry County and distant areas.
In August 1996, Elder Dillard was promoted to the office of Bishop with the Way of the Cross Church of Christ International in Largo, Maryland. He has served the Organization as Vice-Presiding Bishop, an Executive Board Bishop, Chairman of the Pastoral Council, Trustee Board Member, Foreign Missions Auxiliary Bishop, Virginia Diocesan, State Bishop of Alaska, Bishop over the Way of the Cross Churches in Africa and the United Kingdom, Secretary of the National Board of Trustees, Auxiliary Bishop of the National Youth for Christ, Vice Chairman of the Pastoral Council, and served as President of the National Youth for Christ from 1991-96.
Bishop Dillard received his Doctorate in 2006 from the School of Bible Theology Seminary and University, Riverside, California. He is an active member of the Apostolic World Christian Fellowship (AWCF) Organization, and the AWCFSE Conference.
Bishop Dillard has been an inspiration in many others coming to Shiloh WOTCC and into the Way of the Cross Church of Christ Organization. He is a World Traveler, visiting and leaving his apostolic footsteps on every continent across the globe. One of his most memorable moments in travel was the blessing God bestowed upon him to baptize individuals in the Jordan River while in the Holy Land.
Bishop Dillard is APOSTOLIC ALL THE WAY! Believing and preaching the baptism in Jesus name—a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! His motto: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” –Proverbs 3:6