Bishop David Lee Ellis had such a vision! Under the inspiration of God, and acting out of love and respect for the church at 4010 Moore Street, (formerly known as Bethlehem Temple of Inkster), Bishop Ellis took the necessary steps to return this historic Pentecostal landmark to the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. With the help of God, Deacon Benjamin Hayes, and several key people, the transactions were completed. The church was renamed Greater Grace Temple-Inkster (O.G. Hayes Memorial) in honor of the builder, the late District Elder O.G. Hayes, who was Bishop’s friend and brother.
At the official opening on Sunday, March 2, 1986, Elder Gary Harper was appointed by Bishop Ellis as interim pastor. Prior to that, Elder Harper served four years as the Northern District Council State Youth Evangelism Team Chairman. He was then serving as the NDC 1st Vice State Youth Chairperson and was also serving faithfully under the tutelage of Bishop Ellis as an associate minister.
While serving at the Inkster church for four years, Elder Harper was placed in complete charge of the church to the great pleasure of the church family. While laboring in Inkster, Pastor Harper immediately began to organize the church. Among the friends who came to help organize the music ministry were Sister Vicky Taylor-Merced and Evangelist Sharon Johnson, who spent many hours teaching songs and training voices in the young choir. Later Brother Charles Guy came as organist. Sister Mable Allen, who worked
with Elder Harper as Director of the NDC State Youth Evangelism Choir, also came to give assistance. The Choir has remained intact and is now known as the Voices of Grace.
On Sunday, March 18, 1990, after four years of faithful service, Elder Harper was officially installed as Pastor in a Victory Service and Installation Ceremony conducted by the late Bishop Willie Burrel, Diocesan of the NDC, PAW, Inc. God showed his favor by leading Pastor Harper to burn the mortgage on March 15, 1992, within two years of his pastorate, retiring the full obligation of over $250,000. The following year, the church celebrated its 7th Year Jubilee in a grand occasion with Bishop Burrel as guest speaker.
Shortly after the mortgage burning, Pastor Harper was challenged with a major decision to step out on faith into full time ministry, bearing in mind his responsibility to provide for his family—his wife and four children. The Lord blessed this step of faith with an increased church membership far exceeding the original 44. To accommodate this expanding church family, Pastor Harper set in motion a plan to secure new facilities.
With the support of the membership, the beautiful, spacious church at 24111 Koths Street in Taylor, Michigan was purchased. Greater Grace-Inkster proclaimed, “We’re Crossing Over to Possess the Land”. Sunday, February 5, 1995, escorted by Wayne County Sheriffs, a motorcade of three 16 passenger and two 14 passenger stretch limousines and more than 75 automobiles made the five mile journey from the historical landmark in Inkster to our new home. Religious and secular dignitaries, including Mayor Priebe from Taylor and Mayor Bivens of Inkster were on hand as the late Bishop Burrel conducted the Dedication Service to a new church filled to capacity. A completely new church has emerged. There is the added blessing of 4-1/2 acres on which to expand and build as the congregation continues to grow.
Certainly the members of Greater Grace Temple-Taylor recognize Pastor Harper for the dynamic man of God that he is. In August, 1995, at the Annual Convention, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. also acknowledged his dedication, perseverance and commitment by extending his vision and bestowing upon him the title of District Elder. The accomplishments made under his dynamic leadership have been nothing short of spectacular.
Our recently expanded bus ministry provides transportation to scheduled services for members not only in the Western Wayne County area, but the lower eastside of Detroit as well. Pastor Harper established a Drug Ministry called “God of a Second Chance” which successfully rehabilitated former substance abuse addicts – moving them from the street corner to the church pew. They are now addicted to Jesus Christ!
In March, 1996, Bishop David Lee Ellis participated in the 10th year celebration of the church he founded. This was the last visit before his untimely homegoing one week later. We know he was pleased with the progress and great strides being made by his son in the gospel, Pastor Gary Harper.
In June 1996, the Official Board presented its first scholarship to a deserving college bound student. This has now become an annual event.
The Lord showed his mighty hand again by allowing us to burn the mortgage on our present facility in March, 1998. We celebrated this joyous event with a glorious banquet at the Marriott Hotel in Ypsilanti, Michigan, culminating with a mortgage burning ceremony Sunday, March 7, 1998.
The Lord truly blessed us in 1999: We purchased two new vans, purchased a snow plow truck; donated money to Christnet, Counterpoint Teen Shelter, and Emmanuel House, which houses the homeless in the Taylor and Detroit areas; we were a blessing to Mark Taylor, survivor of the Columbine High School shooting, and the Shoul Family, parents of slain Isiah Shoul, during our “Stop the Violence Campaign”; we started our website; held our first Illustrated Sermon, Flight 415; and we were blessed in our Outreach 2000
effort in which 422 souls were baptized and many received the Holy Spirit! We thank God for what He has done and is doing!
The Lord continued to shower his blessings on us in 2001. We renovated our entire sanctuary, updated the sound system, reconstructed the pulpit area, acquired new choir and pulpit chairs, upholstered the church pews, installed new carpet, new drapes, a new roof, and various other renovations to make our church comfortable and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
On Friday, September 28, 2001, Pastor Harper was honored for his faithfulness and dedication to the work of the Lord by being elevated to the position of Suffragan Bishop of the P.A.W. This was great cause for celebration and a semi-formal dinner ensued at the Holiday Inn in Taylor.
The Greater Grace Temple (O.G.H.M.) School of Ministry, under the direction of Evangelist Rita Green, held its first session in November 2001. The School of Ministry is a structured two- part course created to provide an opportunity for the ministerial body and laypersons to develop sensitivity and gain knowledge of the use of spiritual gifts for the ministry through sound, biblical doctrine and practical application. Part I consists of biblical teaching by trained instructors. Part II involves hands-on participation in many of our outreach and practical ministries. New to the School of Ministry in 2007, was a course in
Evangelism. This is a non-traditional, non-conventional course designed to set ablaze violent passion for soul-winning. A certificate of completion is awarded by Bishop Harper upon completion.
Greater Grace Temple-Taylor can be viewed on the world-wide web. Our website is www.ggtoghm.org. We are also on Facebook bringing relevant sermons to reach the lost and encourage the saints. We are determined to utilize every opportunity we can to minister hope to hurting and lost souls around the world.
The Lord has given Pastor Harper a vision to expand our present facilities. We are working on a building fund project to add a new wing, which will house our administrative office, auxiliary offices, children’s church, several classrooms, a bookstore, a formal dining area and a gymnasium!
On Thursday, August 4, 2011, at the Annual PAW Convention held in Orlando, Florida, Pastor Harper was again honored for his faithfulness and commitment to teaching and preaching the unadulterated Word of God by being elevated to the position of “Bishop”. We are truly thanking Lord for this latest manifestation of God’s favor.
Bishop Harper has served faithfully as Pastor of Greater Grace Temple-Taylor since 1986 and Chairman of the Northern District Council of the PAW, Inc., a position he held from 2007 until 2014. He serves on the Taylor Ministerial Alliance and also is a Chaplain for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.
We will continue to strive toward our goal of building God’s Kingdom and reaching souls for Him. Please pray for us as we continue to earnestly contend for the faith and allow the Holy Spirit to use our ministry for His glory. We believe the best is yet to come!!