Greater Holy Temple Church History
“The Goal Before Us Is Not Greater Than God’s Power Behind Us”
June 1932, being led by the Spirit of God, the late Elder R.
D. Wilson and his lovely devoted wife, Mother Bettie Wilson started prayer meetings in their home. They later established the Church of God in Christ, later known as East Side Church of God in Christ, at 1059 Burns Avenue. The land and house at 1059 Burns Avenue were owned by area businessman, Matthew Dinan. Mr. Dinan gave the house to Elder Wilson rent free. The members of the church, aided by a substantial contribution by Mr. Dinan, purchased and remodeled the building. On August 21, 1941, the church celebrated the remodeling of the house from a residential structure to a church building. Under his leadership many souls were saved, including the late Mother Josephine Redding who was appointed Church Mother and served diligently under three pastors. During this time, Elder Harold Haithcox was assistant pastor of the church and Missionary Lizzie Mae Davis was Treasurer. Elder Wilson worked untiringly to further expand the church. In September of 1947, the original church was razed in preparation for the State Meeting that would be held there. Elder and Mother Wilson then moved to 1101 Duey Street. The second building was soon razed and preparation for another building was made. This was the final building on Burns Street. Elder Wilson often accompanied worship services with his guitar. We were blessed with other musicians as well, such as: the late Gladys Hutchinson, Helen Redding Carter, and Abdul Carnes. Elder Wilson often sold sandwiches to factory workers. Mother Wilson and Mother Redding often baked pies and other foods for Elder Wilson to take along and sell at the factories. Mother Wilson was a loving and caring woman who was loved by all who knew her. Mother Wilson would often donate her pay from domestic work to further expand the church. She was a resilient woman of faith who stood by the church and her pastor. Elder and Mother Wilson led the church faithfully for 34 ½ years.
May 1966 the late Elder Harrison Benjamin Wiley and his beautiful wife, the late Missionary Viola M. Wiley were appointed to lead the church on to greater horizons. Elder Wiley was a kind man who was devoted to God, the church and people placed under his care. He was truly a man who had the church at heart. He treated the members as if they were family, because that was how he saw them. He and Missionary Wiley would periodically entertain the saints in their home. Elder Wiley is remembered as a fervent preacher who loved to sing. Some of his favorite songs were, “I’m Going with Jesus All The Way”, “What More Can He Do”, and “This Little Light of Mine”. Missionary Wiley is remembered as a sweet woman of faith who was devoted to God, the Church, and her husband. Elder and Missionary Wiley led the church for four years.
During the same year the church was prayed out and founded (1932), the Almighty God set into motion some powerful and compelling revolutions on his wheels of destiny. A vibrant baby boy by the name of Leroy Sutton, Jr. was born on December 26, 1932 to the Sutton family in Morganfield, Kentucky. When he was six years old, he experienced the loss of both parents. His heart was heavy and perplexed at that tender young age. The Lord touched the hearts of the Webster Family to open their hearts and home to welcome this young child into their family. Under wise guidance, he was introduced to “Holiness” through his adopted mother by precept and example. God moves circumstances to fulfill his purpose. God was preparing and qualifying this little boy in Kentucky to fulfill the role of “PASTORING” a small, but humble flock at Holy Temple in South Bend, Indiana.
April 2, 1971, the late Elder Leroy Webster Sutton was appointed Pastor of Holy Temple by the late Bishop C.E. Bennett. Elder Sutton accepted the challenge to reach higher, nobler plain of living through “Spiritual” influence, counsel, and preaching to the unchurched and unsaved as well. The late and beloved Sister Sutton, his loyal wife, embraced her husband’s undertaking with enthusiastic support. Their three children: Elder Leroy Sutton III, Elder Mark Sutton, and Sister Starla Ross, working faithfully and diligently for the cause of KingdomBuilding. The Church increased spiritually, numerically, and educationally under the outstanding leadership of these servants of God. May the efforts, responsibilities, qualities, and love for the church which our late Sister Sutton always exhibited, continue to reflect in all our church work. Nothing that she possessed was too great for the church. As we continue through this Christian journey without her
presence, we can be grateful for her love and her spirit that will remain with us forever.
After receiving a vision from the Lord, Pastor Sutton put into motion to erect a New Sanctuary in January 1972. The church family also became envisioned. As a result, we were blessed to purchase property adequate for our church in April of 1974. As the vision unfolded, groundbreaking services were held on Sunday November 30, 1975. Construction began in January of 1976 and was completed in August of the same year. Upon completion, we celebrated our grand opening on Sunday September 17, 1976 marching from Holy Temple eight blocks away singing “We’ve Come This Far By Faith” to our new church home, Greater Holy Temple. On Sunday September 11, 1977 we celebrated the dedication of our new sanctuary. We witnessed another momentous occasion, our mortgage burning ceremony on Saturday August 17, 1991. Seeing that our membership increased numerically, God gave Pastor Sutton another vision. On Sunday March 21, 1996 we again embarked upon another groundbreaking service for the new addition to our new church. The new addition was completed in June of 1997 and we celebrated our dedication services on June 29, 1997. The Greater Holy Temple Family was proud to say that we made our last payment for the new addition on November 1, 2000. God again visited Pastor Sutton with a new vision. We were able to break ground and complete our activity center, now named the Joy Center. We are proud to say that the Joy Center is paid off with a zero balance.
On February 13, 2014, the Lord called our Pastor, Superintendent Leroy W. Sutton home from labor to reward.
As a result, On Saturday April 26th 2014 Elder Lee D. Ross was installed as the new Pastor. Elder Lee and First Lady Starla Ross are continuing the legacy of reaching the lost and edifying the flock which God has placed in their care. Greater Holy Temple continues to be a growing church with outreach programs such as
- After School Tutoring Program
- Outreach at the Park
- Juvenile Justice Center Bible Study
- Nursing Home Bible Study
- Street Ministry
- Thanksgiving Outreach
We are delighted to say that the Lord is blessing and adding souls, healing and baptizing with the Holy Ghost in this place. Because of Christ’s love, “The Goal before us is not Greater than God’s Power behind us”! WE HAVE GREAT EXPECTATIONS!