GHT Church History

 With the resignation of Pastor Thomas Farley from the Church of God In Christ at 1865 West Carroll Avenue , there was a need for a pastor.  The congregation fasted and prayed for guidance, and set a date for God’s answer to be revealed.  As the members gathered that night for service they could hardly contain themselves, as they each wanted to tell what the Lord had spoken to them.

Elder John D. Harris and Sister Luivory Littlejohn began to speak simultaneously.  Elder Harris told Sister Littlejohn to wait, and let him tell that the Lord had sent Bro. Eleazar Lenox.  The church, with one accord, went up in a shout because they all had received the same message.  Bishop William Roberts was called, and on July 20, 1925 ordained Brother Lenox and appointed him Pastor.

Elder Lenox’s first concern as Pastor was to find a better church home for God’s people.  After awhile of searching he and the late Father John T. McCarroll, his close friend until his death at age 100, drove in front of a storefront at 2673 W. Lake Street.  They both agreed that “this is the place.”  The congregation was enthused, and began rallying to support the purchase of the storefront.  The necessary funds were raised, but a crooked real estate agent swindled them out of their money.  This did not discourage the saints.  They again rallied and raised $500.00 as a down payment.

 On January 1, 1928, the congregation would move into the storefront that would soon be known as “The Power House of Chicago”, and the 26th Street Church.  The church dedication was a great revival conducted by the twin Evangelists Reatha and Leatha Herndon—many souls were saved and added to the church.  The popularity of the church was enhanced by a praying and preaching young man who allowed the young people a chance to go forth in spite of the teaching by others that children should be seen and not heard.

 The Lake Street Church grew by leaps and bounds.  Folks from all over the city came to the packed Sunday night services.  There was standing room only, and people looking in the windows to see the saints rejoice and hear the Word of God at the “Power House” on Lake Street .  The church was remodeled and enlarged and still there was not enough room.

 In 1944, during the State Convocation, our pastor, knowing we needed larger quarters, decided that instead of attending the Convocation that Sunday he walked to the Lutheran Church at 246 N. California Avenue, where a Caucasian congregation attended, two blocks from the Lake Street Church .  Led by the Holy Ghost he discovered that they had made a decision that same morning to sell the church.  It was agreed they would sell the church for $35,000 or $25,000 cash (remember this was in 1944).  Our Pastor got busy, the congregation began praying and working together.  During these trying times african-americans had little or no money, and menial and custodial jobs, yet the members pledged from $25.00 to $200.00.  Pastor Lenox put in his life savings, and with the help and loans from Anna J. Thompson, a Westside funeral director and other friends, they were still $10,000 short.  Bishop Mason was coming through Chicago at the request of Bishop Roberts, and came and saw the church.  He then loaned Eld. Lenox the money without a contract.  Bishop Mason let it be known all over the brotherhood, how Eld. Lenox repaid a sum far greater than others who made no effort to repay their loans.

 The church was purchased, and on Sunday, June 10, 1945, with a police escort and a marching band the congregation marched from 2673 W. Lake Street to 246 N. California Avenue then named Holy Temple Church of God In Christ.  It was the most beautiful church and the only church edifice among the Church of God In Christ in Chicago

 We had as church mothers:  Mother Mary Dudley, who was a great teacher of God, who often sang, “I’m One of Them Today.”  Then there was Mother Anna Wynn who was a great comforter for the people of God, and Mother Ada Walker who was a source of counsel and advice for all.

 Under the leadership of Bishop Lenox there were nine Assistant Pastors:  Elder M. Turner, Elder Lee Collins, Elder J.D. Harris, Elder Timothy Walker, Elder Richard Ray, Eld. Luther Nesbitt, Elder Curley Smith, Elder Ardail Allen and Elder James Lenox.

 Holy Temple , later named Greater Holy Temple, became a monument to the Church of God in Christ.  Many Evangelist’s had a part in it’s early growth - Elder White of Louisiana, Evangelist Randall “The White Rope Preacher”, Mother Littlejohn, Evangelist Irene Mitchell and so many others.  The church grew spiritually and became an incubator for many churches in the Chicago area.

 Located on the corner of California and Walnut (now Bishop E. Lenox Drive) it is a landmark.  Bishop Lenox faithfully pastured the church for 60 years.  After him, the mantle fell on his son, Elder James E. Lenox, (our ninth Assistant Pastor).  His father officially appointed him pastor in October of 1984, however, Elder James stated that as long as there was breath in Bishop Lenox, he would not be pastor of the church.

 Elder James Lenox had a great concern for community affairs.  He was a counselor for teenaged youth and had a great understanding of their problems.  He was also known as the “preacher’s preacher”, many pastors and evangelist sought Elder James for his wisdom and knowledge of the Word and honest approach.  Elder James Lenox was pastor for 15 years before his transition to a higher calling.  After the transition of Elder James Lenox, the church met and unanimously voted and agreed that Elder Lamont Lenox would be our next pastor.
Now the mantle has been passed down to his son, Elder Lamont Lenox, who is taking us to a higher level in God.  Since Pastor Lamont's appointment, he has implemented the following ministries: James E. Lenox Bible Institute, monthly and outreach feedings, Praise and Worship Team.   He also implemented the beautification of the church edifice and exterior, renovation of the Prayer Room, Kitchen, Deacon and Pastor offices, Dining Room and remodeling the third floor of the church to add a conference room.
And here we are now over 90 years later, we still have a few members from that Lake Street Church here with us today, and like the Mighty Men of God before him, Pastor Lamont is also a man of wisdom and anointing.