Our History

June 1932 being led by God’s spirit, the late Elder R.D. Wilson and his devoted wife, also the late Mother Betty Wilson, started prayer meetings in their home.  As a result of these services Holy Temple Church of God in Christ, was established located at 1059 Burns Ave.  Under his leadership may souls were saved, including the late Mother Josephine Redding who was appointed Church Mother and served diligently and faithfully her role under the leadership of three (3) positions.


May 1966, the late Elder Harrison Wiley and his dedicated wife the late Missionary Viola Wiley were appointed to lead the Church onto greater horizons.  The church was blessed naturally and spiritually under the ministry.


April 1971, Elder Leroy Sutton was appointed Pastor of Holy Temple by the late Bishop C.E. Bennett. Elder Sutton accepted the challenge to reach higher, nobler plan of living through spiritual influence, counsel and preaching to the unchurched and the unsaved as well.  The late and beloved Sister Helen Sutton, his loyal wife embraced her husband’s undertaking with enthusiastic support and their three children, Eld. Leroy Sutton III, Min. Mark Sutton and Sis Starla Ross working faithfully and diligently for the cause of Kingdom building. The Church increased spiritually, numerically and educationally under the outstanding leadership of this man servant, and his devoted wife. 


On January 9, 1994, the Lord called Sister Helen Sutton from labor to reward.  We will continue to remember her many efforts, qualities and the great love she exhibited towards the church.  Sister Sutton’s spirit will remain with us forever. 


After receiving a vision from the Lord, our Pastor (Elder Sutton) put into motion to erect a New Sanctuary in January 1972. The church family also became envision. As a result, April 1974 we were blessed to purchase property adequate for our church, as the vision unfolded ground breaking services were held November 1975. Construction began January 1976. Upon completion, we celebrated our grand opening August 1976 marching from Holy Temple eight (8) 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 new membership increased numerically God gave Pastor Sutton another vision. On Sunday, March 21, 1996 we again embarked upon another ground-breaking service for the new addition to our new church. The new addition to our new church. The new addition was completed in June of 1997, the Greater Holy Temple family, was proud to say that we made our last payment for the new addition on November 1, 2000. In 2009 we watched another vision unfold the completion of the Joy Center. Through much fasting, praying, hard work, sacrificial offerings, tithing and generous donations from well-wishers, and many friends the Lord has continued to bless us. We give God all the honor and glory.


On February 13, 2014, the Lord called our Pastor, Superintendent Leroy W. Sutton home from labor to reward. 


As a result, on Saturday April 16th 2014 Elder Lee D. Ross was installed as the new Pastor.  Elder Lee and Sister 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 for growing people.  We are delighted to say the Lord is blessing and adding souls, healing and baptizing with the Holy Ghost in this place. Because of Christ’s love. “The God before us is not Greater than God’s power behind us.”! TO GOD BE THE GLORY! 


Pastor Lee & First Lady Starla Ross

Pastor Lee D. Ross, the oldest of three siblings, was born to the parents of the late Willie Lee Ross and Gwendolyn (Ross) Belanger. He was raised in Chicago by his late grandmother, Dorothy Jones and attended Chicago public schools. He was elected Junior and senior class president at Near North Career Magnet High School (formally known as Cooley High).

Pastor Ross gave his heart to the Lord in 1987 at Greater Holy Temple. Pastor Ross received his secondary education from Indiana University of South Bend in 1987 with an Associate’s degree in criminal justice and also C.H. Mason Bible College in 1997 with an Associates he was also named as class Valedictorian.

He was appointed as the Assistant Pastor of Greater Holy Temple in 2003 and served diligently for 11 years. He has also served in many capacities at Greater Holy Temple as the Sunday School Superintendent for over 5 years, Trustee Board member, Finance Chairman, Outreach Coordinator, Church Finance Chairman and Local YWCC President.

For the E.A. McNeely he served as District Young Men Christian Council President, and currently is the District Treasurer.

Pastor Ross was selected by the JJC (Juvenile Justice) board as the Coordinator of the One by One mentoring program for Juvenile delinquents in St. Joseph County in 2010.  His past services in the community are the South Bend Community Schools Mentor, Big Brother for Big Brother Big Sisters Org., Mothers against Violence advisor, and board member of St. Joseph County Health Initiative.

Pastor Ross retired from the South Bend Police Department in 2015 with 26 years of service. While on the police dept. he served in many positions as the Lieutenant in the office of Professional Standards (Internal Affairs) patrolman, Dare Officer, Midnight Supervisor, and Domestic Violence Investigator Crime prevention Supervisor, and Assistant P.I.O. He’s received many accommodations for his work in community as a police officer. He now serves as School Resource Officer and head of Security at Career Academy of South Bend and Success Academy. 

Pastor Lee Ross was appointed as the Pastor of Greater Holy Temple by Bishop Mark H. Blade in April of 2014 with his loving wife, family, friends, and the wonderful Greater Holy Temple church family in attendance. 

First Lady Starla Ross was born in South Bend Indiana to the proud parents of the Late Superintendent Leroy and First Lady Helen (Marable) Sutton she is the youngest of three siblings. Lady Ross was saved at the age of nine and received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost at age 12. She served her parents faithfully until their death. As a PK she displayed her God given talents in many areas at Greater Holy Temple, as Youth Director, Church administrator, After School tutoring coordinator, Children’s choir director for 36 years and coordinator for 20 years, street ministry and outreach worker.  In 1996 Lady Ross passion for lost souls lead her to create and organize a bible study program at the Children's Campus for children with severe behavioral challenges and also to organize the JJC (Juvenile Justice Center) bible study program. She also served in the capacity as the E.A. McNeely District Choir Minister of Music for 25 years.

Lady Ross attended South Bend Community Schools and graduated from Indiana University of South Bend with a B.S degree in Marketing/ Advertising and Marketing Research and attended Ivy Tech for one year of graphic Design. Lady Ross created the church website and loves to design church programs, flyers and signs.

Lady Ross is currently employed by the University of Notre Dame Shaw Center for Children and Families and has been a Family Coach for over 15 years. Her emphasis is working with high risk parents and children through intervention programs throughout the St. Joseph and Elkhart County area. For 5 years she served as an executive board member for the St. Joseph County Minority Health Coalition and also and mentor for the South Bend Community School Corp. Her awards include Greater Holy Temple woman of the year, choir member of the year, E.A. McNeely Member of the year, and nominated as the City of South Bend Women of the year in 1996.

Pastor & First Lady Ross met at IUSB and married 2 months after graduation on August 13, 1988. The Lord has blessed them with 4 wonderful and talented children, who are now all adults, three boys Antonio, Lee, Jr., Terrell, and one girl Alana.  Lady Ross currently serves as the Women’s Department leader and proudly serves as the First Lady of Greater Holy Temple. Her Motto is: “Every day that I am alive is another day for me to serve the Lord”

Pastor and First Lady continue with true commitment to the mission of Souls Maturity and Growth. They humbly serve the people of God and dutifully work for the sake of Kingdom building.  Trained and mentored by one of the greatest leaders of our time the Late Pastor Leroy W. Sutton. Pastor and First Lady are moving Greater Holy Temple forward and have GREAT EXPECTATIONS!