Our Church History

What is now known as STEPHEN TEMPLE Church of God In Christ had its beginning in 1938 when Overseer Cleveland L. Anderson brought Elder B.T. Stephen to Mount Clemens, Michigan for the purpose of setting up a church.  Elder Stephen held his first meeting in the home of Sister Georgia Jones and shortly thereafter Deacon and Mother Emory Housch agreed to work with Elder Stephen in establishing a church.  The place of worship moved from the home of Sister Georgia Jones to the home of Sisters Corrine Washington and Mary Richardson on Meadle Street.  In the summer of 1938, Elder Stephen went to Ohio and purchased the top and back of a tent and set it up on the corner which our present church edifice now stands.  Deacon Housch constructed some benches for the people to sit on and service was held in the tent as long as the weather permitted. There were many people on Mount Clemens who stated that there would ” never be a Church Of God In Christ in Mount Clemens” and tried to discourage the small group of worshippers by throwing tomatoes and other debris on the people during the tent services.  On occasions when the wind would blow the tent down, Elder Stephen would come in from Pontiac, Michigan where he lived and with the help of others would have it set back up. 

When the cold winter set in, it was necessary to hold the meetings indoors.  Deacon and Mother Housch opened the doors of their home to the members.  STEPHEN TEMPLE Church of God In Christ was formally organized as a corporation under the laws of the State of Michigan in 1940.  Around 1941 or 1942 a little building that had been a store was offered for sale at 80 Kibbee Street and this small congregation consisting of Sisters Mary Richardson, Edna Dulin, Annie Hopson, Ardella Housch and Bro. Emory Housch was interested in purchasing the building.  Elder Stephen requested each member to contribute the sum of $20.00 to make up the necessary down payment toward the purchase of the property.  The building was then purchased and remodeled as a church and the congregation now had a church home.  Shortly afterwards, there were approximately ten people added to the church.  It was also during this time that the officers and auxiliaries of the church were formally set up, to wit, deacons, trustees, church mother and others.  The first church mother was Mother Florence Moten and those following her were Mothers Lula Kitts and Ardella Housch, who was appointed in 1956. 

In 1955, the members of STEPHEN TEMPLE Church of God In Christ purchased the land on which our present church edifice stands and after groundbreaking services, construction on the church began and the church as it stands today was completed in 1957.  This was accomplished with a membership of approximately twenty-five members and since that time, many members have been added to the church.  We have been blessed to have many servicemen and their families from Selfridge Air Base to place them under the watch care of Elder Stephen and they remained with us until they had orders to move on. Elder B.T. Stephen pastored this church from its inception until the Lord called him home in December, 1983.  He was a humble servant of God; a dear pastor and a great administrator.  His dear wife, Sister Cora Lee Esther Stephen, worked faithfully by his side during his pastorate and left many projects accomplished in the church that we enjoy today. 

Elder Stephen had a great foresight and made preparation during his lifetime to see that this congregation would not be without a pastor upon his passing.  He tutored and groomed a young man who had his beginnings in this church in the person of Elder Theodore Colbert. Elder Colbert was saved at the tender age of 9 and is a product of the Sunday school of the church. He has worked in the Sunday school department, Y.P.W.W., and the Prayer and Bible Band, serving as superintendent and secretary.  Elder Colbert has also served on the Trustee Board, Deacon Board, and as President and Director of the Choir. Whatever his hands found to do, he would do it willingly and to the best of his ability.  When he was called into the ministry, he continued to work alongside Elder Stephen and was willing to be taught.  As a result, he gained great experience and knowledge.

When Elder Colbert assumed the position of Pastor in 1984, under the auspices of Bishop P.A. Brooks, Jurisdictional Prelate Northeast Michigan Jurisdiction, he already experienced firsthand knowledge of the qualification of the position as he had been set apart by the aid of the Holy Spirit and ordained to assume the position. By faith he has led this church to different levels of growth. As a leader, sometimes threatening, provocative and stimulating, he stood against every opposition to insure that by his example, we can overcome not yielding to the flesh man, but by the spirit man as he lead in the way of perfecting. As Pastor, he makes sure that he lives up to his responsibility to preach, teach with understanding and love. God’s Word is truly “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto his path,” for his steps are indeed ordered by the Lord. He is a man with a vision, and because of this the church has moved forward under his loving and inspirational leadership during the past 34 years. He is guided by his motivating encouragement through scripture often quoting Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths,” sharing this scripture during mid-week service became a guiding factor in moving the congregation forward to the path of spiritual growth. 

During his administration, many new ministries have been called for service in the ministry and the edification of the church and community at large. It is our leader’s belief that recognizing God’s plan for the church is always larger then self. Pastor Colbert established the following ministries: Bible Study, Deaconess Board, Praise and Worship Team, Outreach, Special Projects and Publications, along with Outreach Meal Programs, Children’s Church Ministries, Men of Faith Ministry,  Young Women’s Christian Council, Christian Women’s Council, Communications Media Ministry, New Member Orientation Committee, and Stephen Temple Leadership Training Institute, Feeding the Homeless, Convalescing Home Ministry, Women’s Shelter Outreach, and a community Back to School Supply Give-A-Way. As we look back over the past 80 years of dedicated church service to the greater Mt. Clemens and Macomb County area, we acknowledge and applaud Pastor Colbert’s 34 plus years of passionate, loving, and Holy Spirit leadership. And we look to the future with great excitement, and hope as we are guided by our leader on to new paths of service and sacrifice to meet the challenges of the next generation while we continue the tremendous legacy of the past.  He also focused on the blessings of being a cheerful and consistent giver of tithes and offerings. In 1994, he developed and formulated the first massive building fund project that raised more than $240,000 which secured the seven acre property for the future site of a new church edifice. Pastor always tells us to allow him 6 months to nurture us in the word of God and help develop us in our faith to trust that God will turn the situation around for our good. (promised to new converts or one who has decided to rededicate themselves back to Christ). Pastor always share about his gift of healing and deliverance (miracles). 

We acknowledge and applaud Superintendent Colbert’s contributions to our spiritual and personal growth as a church for the past 34 years, as he leads this fine church which serves the Macomb County communities for nearly three decades of the church’s span of 80 years of ministry. We look forward towards the next move of God in ministry and are confident and eager to see what is in store for Stephen Temple Church of God in Christ and the City of Mt. Clemens, Michigan and the surrounding communities, With God, Superintendent Colbert, our First Lady Cynthia D. Colbert, their son Lamont and his wife Shamara, their daughter Kristen, along with grand children: Doron, Demaris, and Shanay, the support of our Officers and church members, we can move forward with power to do “greater works”. If we listen for a moment we will hear the soft voice of First Lady Cynthia Colbert declare that our Pastor will lead Stephen Temple onward for many more years quoting a portion of scripture describing her Husband & Pastor Theodore Colbert as having “an excellent spirit in him,” (Daniel 6:3)

Stephen Temple Church of God in Christ is one with a rich history, great heritage, legacy and a solid foundation. For all our blessings we say, “To God be the Glory” for the great things He has, will, and continues to do in the lives of His people, Yes, we celebrate and thank God from  whom all blessings flow.