Elder and Sister L. H. Jefferson of Jackson, Michigan was led by God to come to Albion, Michigan to conduct a street meeting during the mid 1920's. From this street meeting the first child saved was Mattie Simmons Broden in 1925, one of the first adults that gave her life to Christ was Mother Ella Payne. Out of this highly anointed street meeting many souls were saved under Elder & Sister L. H. Jefferson.
The First Church of God In Christ in Albion, Michigan was established in 1925. The first services were conducted by Elder & Sister L. H. Jefferson and Sister Josephine Williams and members from Elder L. H. Jefferson's Church in Jackson, Michigan now called Bethesda Church of God In Christ. These first services were held at the corner of West Cass Street and Gadsen Court and Culvert Street. Mother Ella Payne also opened the doors of her home for services. The first Pastor of the First Church of God In Christ was Elder L. H. Jefferson. At the same time he was also the Pastor of Bethesda Church of God In Christ in Jackson, Michigan which is still in existence.
At a later date Pierson Hall was rented and it can be said that this was the first church home. Pierson Hall was a secular dance hall at first, but the saints at that time turned it into a Church. Many souls were saved, filled with the Holy Ghost and blessed of God. During this time there was only one COGIC Jurisdiction in Michigan. The Albion Church of God In Christ at that time was under Overseer I. S. Stafford back in the early days of the C.O.G.I.C. when they called State Bishops Overseer's. The State Headquarters was located in Detroit, Michigan. Our 1st Superintendent was Elder I. G. Glover out of Battle Creek, Michigan. He was a very energetic young man and loved the Lord. Elder Glover was appointed as a Supt at the age of 19. Mother Lizzie Robertson, the First International General Supervisor of the COGIC Women's Department, came to visit the Albion Church of God In Christ in the early 1930's to help with the Women's Department. According to the COGIC Whole Truth Paper, dated March 1992, Elder S. C. Cole became pastor between the years 1934 - 1938. These services were held at Pierson Hall.
At a later date the church left Pierson Hall and rented the former home of Mother Ella Payne on Cass Street. Services were held here until the church caught on fire. The owner decided to no longer rent this house to the church, so it was sold to Mr. Robert Pierson and it became "Our Little Store". The members returned to Pierson Hall for services. At this time Elder Jackson of Flint, Michigan was Pastor. Elder Jackson, later in his ministry founded what is now called Jackson Memorial Church of God in Christ. It is now pastored by Bishop Herbert Williams of North Central Jurisdiction of Flint, Michigan. Later Elder William B. Williams became Pastor.
Elder Williams received permission from the Albion Malleable Iron Company to set up a tent on their grounds called Mc Auliffe Park. Services were held there until the tent caught fire in 1943. Following this incident Pastor William B. Williams and the members built a small wooden building that replaced the tent. Again, services were in progress. Later, Elder William B. Williams left Albion Church of God In Christ and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and joined 4th Street Church of God In Christ. On August 16, 1948, Elder William B. Williams became pastor of 4th Street Church of God In Christ in Minneapolis, Minnesota . He was the Pastor for 23 years until his death on Dec 20, 1971. The church he pastored is now known as Emmanuel Tabernacle COGIC. This church was pastored by the Late Bishop Stanley Neil Frazier State Prelate of the state of Minnesota.
On April 13, 1945, Elder James S. Lee was appointed pastor by the late Bishop C. L. Anderson Sr. At this time there was only one COGIC Jurisdiction in the state of Michigan. Bishop C. L. Anderson Sr. was the State Bishop at the time. Former pastors from 1925 - 1945 were Elder L. H. Jefferson, Elder S. C. Cole, Elder Anderson, Elder Tuggle, Elder Samuel Snow, Elder Jackson and Elder William B. Williams. Some of the members of the earlier church were: Mother Ella Payne, Mother Leila Harris, Mother Lula Kemp (Young), Bro. Andrew Kemp, Mother Mary Britton (Newland), Mother Reba Hughes, Mother Simmons, Mother Jackson, Bro. & Sis. Richmond , Sis Reddrick, Bro. & Sis. Howard, Bro. & Sis. Douglas, Bro. & Sis Fields, Bro. George Williams, Mr. Hirsch, Mrs. Elizabeth Resse, Mrs. Gussie Snyder, Mrs. Flossie Burnett, Mrs. Carrie Gibson, and Mrs. Rosie Malachi to name a few. Some of the young people saved during that time were: Mattie Simmons - Broden, Modeste Yowell (who was a very dedicated young women who played the piano for the church. She later moved to Detroit, Michigan to help her husband pastor Pentecostal Temple COGIC. Her husband Elder G.L. Yowell was appointed on January 30, 1949.) This church is now pastored by Bishop Isaac King. Lola Kemp-Aikens, Maggie Kemp, Hazel Blackman-Perry, Lylla Blackman, Charlotte Curtis, Leola Richmond, Lillie Union-Taylor and Fannie Mae Miles.
When Elder James S. Lee became Pastor, church services continued in McAuliffe Park. The church later moved to 1203 Mallory Street , which was the home of Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Kemp. On May 24, 1947, lots were purchased at 1014 North Albion Street from Mr. James Little who is Malcolm X's uncle. The church was incorporated as a Michigan Corporation. The church was renamed Gethsemane Temple Church of God In Christ. The basement of the church was erected in 1947. Services were held in the basement until the sanctuary was completed in 1949. In 1951, the church was completed and all debts were paid.
In the year 1946, Bishop C. H. Mason seen that the Church of God In Christ had reached phenomenal growth. He saw fit to create a second Church of God In Christ State Jurisdiction. He called this Jurisdiction the Southwest Michigan Jurisdiction COGIC. He appointed Elder John Seth Bailey as the Bishop. Bishop Bailey appointed Mother Mary Belvin as the State Supervisor of the Women's Dept. Around this time Pastor James S. Lee moved Gethsemane Temple C.O.G.I.C. under the Southwest Michigan Jurisdiction. The state headquarters was in the city of Detroit, Michigan. In 1950, Pastor James S. Lee was appointed Superintendent of District #10 and served 35 years as Superintendent under the leadership of Bishop John Seth Bailey.
During the earlier district meetings at Gethsemane Temple COGIC, Mother Lillian Brooks Coffey came to visit. She was the 2nd International Supervisor of the Women's Department of the COGIC.
In the 1950's and 60's, Elder & Mother Lee conducted many revivals and prayer services causing growth and success for the church. Pastor Lee was also used of God to write letters to people who needed healing in their bodies. They would be healed by God's power. In the 1950's, 60's & 70's; during this time many souls were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. During this time, many souls were saved. Pastor Lee was led of God to let revivals be conducted by Pastor Non Walker, Pastor James C. Taylor, Elder Pryor and Mother Cryor and many more, too numerous to mention. In February 1970, the Lee Scholarship Fund was established to benefit students of higher education who regularly attend Gethsemane Temple Church of God In Christ.
In 1972, with a continuous growing membership at Gethsemane Temple, the auxiliary leaders were called together to plan a new church facility. On May 16, 1975, the ground breaking
ceremony for a new church was held.
On September 4, 1977, with a membership of no less than 100, the new and more spacious Gethsemane Temple was entered into. At the 1978 State Women's Convention in the new church facility the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark came to visit. She directed the Southwestern Michigan Jurisdiction State Choir. Dr. Mattie Moss Clark was the COGIC International Music President at that time.
In August of 1984, Bishop John Seth Bailey went home to be with the Lord after being State Bishop for 38 years. Bishop J. O. Patterson, who was Presiding Bishop at the time, divided the state into four Jurisdictions, thus ending District #10. District #10 was known as one of the largest districts in the state. Administrative Assistant James S. Lee was asked by the Presiding Bishop & The General Board to take one of the Jurisdictions. By the leading of the Lord, he did not accept. Even before the passing away of Bishop Bailey, Supt. James S. Lee could have been appointed Bishop many times before. Supt. James S. Lee was Bishop Bailey's right hand man. Supt James S. Lee served as Administrative Assistant for 38 years in the Southwest Michigan Jurisdiction under Bishop Bailey. He was Chairman on the Ordination board that Ordained (the young Elder Gilbert Earl Patterson) who later became Presiding Bishop over the Churches of God In Christ Worldwide.
In 1985, Pastor Lee united Gethsemane Temple with newly created Western Michigan Jurisdiction under the leadership of Bishop Nathaniel Wyoming Wells, Jr. Assistant Pastors who served under Pastor Lee at Gethsemane Temple were: - Elder Non Walker (1957- 1959) founder of Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C. in Jackson, Michigan which he pastored for 32 years. -Elder Robert Brown (1961 - 1972) founder of Grace Temple C.O.G.I.C. in Albion, Michigan which he pastored for over 30 years. -Elder Carlos Washington (1973 - 1976) assistant pastor at Gethsemane for 3 years. -Elder Bobby Moore (1976 - 1984) later became pastor of New Hope C.O.G.I.C where he has pastored for over 20 years. -Elder Eustice Williams - 1st Administrative Assistant (1985 - 1990) later became the Pastor. Many preachers got their start under Supt. James S. Lee and numerous Ministers, Elders, Pastors, Superintendents and even Bishops came out of his ministry. He licensed and ordained many preachers. He served as the Ordination Board for many years.
In January 1988, Mother Rosie Lee went home to be with the Lord. We will always cherish her hard work and dedication to God and to the church. Her building of churches, her many skills, her wisdom and advice, but most of all her smile will be missed. We will always have precious memories of Mother Rosie Lee. Her home going service was held at Open Door Church of God In Christ in Kalamazoo, Mi where Supt. James S. Lee was Pastor. She was eulogized by Bishop N. W. Wells Jr.
In March 1988, Pastor James S. Lee was appointed Supt. of Love District by Bishop Nathaniel Wyoming Wells Jr. He was also appointed and given the honor of 1st Administrative Assistant Emeritus of Western Michigan Jurisdiction. In 1990, Papa Lee's health began to fail. In September of 1994, Supt James S. Lee went home to be with the Lord. Administrative Assistant James S. Lee served as pastor of Gethsemane Temple Church of God In Christ for 45 years (1945 - 1990). We will always remember Supt. James S. Lee for his leadership and kind and giving spirit. He was a Master Teacher of the word of God because he knew the whole bible front to back. He was a TRUE APOSTLE and a TRUE LEADER. We truly thank God for him. His home going service was held at Open Door Church of God in Christ, which he founded and pastored in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was eulogized by Bishop N. W. Wells Jr.
After having served faithfully under the leadership of Pastor James S. Lee, on June 10, 1990, Bishop Nathaniel Wyoming Wells Jr. appointed Elder Eustice Williams as pastor of Gethsemane Temple Church of God In Christ. Elder Eustice Williams received his minister's license under Supt James S. Lee and was ordained Elder under Bishop J. S. Bailey.
God chose Elder Eustice Williams as the next leader for Gethsemane Temple Church of God In Christ. Supt. James S. Lee told Elder Williams many times that he wanted him to be the next Pastor of Gethsemane Temple. The church congregation wanted Elder Williams as well.
Under the leadership of Pastor Eustice Williams, the new church mortgage was paid off. Many renovations have taken place at the new church facility. This includes the enlargement of the Pastor office, an office for the First Lady Sis. Beverly Williams, air conditioning, carpeting, the repainting of various rooms such as the sanctuary, Fellowship Hall and Church Office. He has motivated auxiliaries to get new tables and chairs, mini blinds, curtain valances for the Fellowship Hall and the church office, new copy machine and computer for the business office. He also purchased a Leslie Speaker for the Hammond Organ. Pastor Williams also gave a gift of bibles for the sanctuary pews.
Pastor/Evangelist Eustice Williams still continues in the fervor of his early ministry days by still conducting prayer meetings and revivals, when led of the Lord. Pastor Williams continues to teach the way of Holiness at Gethsemane Temple and has not compromised the word of God. God has healed many sick bodies at Gethsemane Temple through the ministry of Elder Eustice Williams. Many times God has used him to Prophesy in many situations. His wife Sister Beverly Williams works faithfully by his side in ministry. First Lady Sis. Beverly Williams serves as Minister of Music/Adult Choir President, Women's Dept. President & Home & Foreign Missions President. The Gethsemane Temple Church of God In Christ Music Dept also has been enhanced greatly under her leadership as Minister of Music.
Elder & Sister Williams have four children; three daughters and one son, Jessica, Rebecca, Tamara and Matthew. They also have one son-in-law Edward Croft, and two grandchildren Amara and Edward. Their oldest daughter Jessica serves as Hospitality President, Member of Ways & Means Committee, Choir Member, financial secretary and plays the drums as well. Rebecca and Tamara sing in the choir. Their son Matthew serves as the Church Organist, Assistant Minister of Music, Y.P.W.W. President and Trustee Board Member, Member of the Ways & Means Committee.
But without GOD none of this would have been possible. We thank God for our church and the men and women of God that he sent to and through our Church. God Bless our Pastor and First Lady. Thank you and God bless all of the faithful members and auxiliary leaders.
We give glory and honor to God for all he has blessed us (and continues to bless us with).
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