Greater Christ Temple Apostolic Church (GCT), currently at 2940 South Anthony Blvd., was started in 1928 by Pastor Thomas Jones, who died constructing the Lincoln Tower downtown. Three pastors later, Suffragan Bishop E.C. Haywood took over and initiated a new era of community involvement in 1987 through his tenure end in 2014.
“The church was singularly focused,” said Bishop E.C. Haywood. “When I came along, the church tried to help more than just spiritually.”
Under Bishop Haywood, in 1988, Genesis Outreach, drug interdiction and housing program at 2812 Gay Street, started out of Greater Christ Temple, spearheaded by its pastor and congregate Linda Golden. In 2004, the church, with a partnership with HUD, created Memorial Park Estates, an independent living facility at 2024 Maumee Avenue.
Bishop Haywood also orchestrated the move to their current Anthony Boulevard location from their facility at 1327 Winter Street in 2010, which was right next to Brooks BBQ; Owner Willie Brooks was GCT’s head deacon.
And in 2012, church member Golden created the Soul Food program, wherein the church opens its doors every Wednesday from 4 P.M. to 5:45 P.M. and provides families hot dinners, serving soul food staples like cabbage, fried and baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, fish, and ham. Community Harvest Food Bank donates ingredients for these community meals.
For families on the run, carryout bags can be provided
Brenda Haywood, aided by church members Tiss Carter and Evangelist Diane Gibson, oversees the food program today; her stepson, District Elder Mark Haywood (senior pastor), who replaced his father in January 2014, leads the church.
“The ultimate goal is to be able to help working moms, reaching out in and around the community,” Brenda Haywood said. “At the end of the day somebody got blessed. That means so much to us.”
The program attendees don’t all come from the church or the neighborhood. As many as 150 people have come through the church on Wednesday evenings; the average sits at around 120 per event.
The church even serves a daycare of about 20 children. Pastor Haywood shares his father’s sense of community involvement and his preaching style. “There’s not a whole lot of differences between the two of us,” Pastor Haywood said. “I’m very much of the same mind of my father.”
Because of their shared sensibilities, the transition from father to son was smooth, according to Pastor Haywood; the church lost some members during the crossover only to see some of them return.
Haywood had been pastoring for nine years before returning to Greater Christ Temple in 2013 as an executive assistant pastor (his father holds this position today). He started his own church in 2005 and merged with his brother’s church in 2011.
Before that, Pastor Haywood was the stereotypical rebellious son of a pastor, who heard all of his life how he would take over from his father one day. As an adult, with his wife Krishana Haywood (now First Lady) at his side, Haywood started listening to his father’s pastoring through an adult filter.
“My father was always a real man of God who lives what he preaches, but I never gave his message a chance in my own life,” Pastor Haywood said.
Bishop Haywood, according his son, takes a lot of joy sending the heavier inquiries for help to Pastor Haywood. The former senior pastor still preaches when his son asks.
Greater Christ Temple Apostolic Church | 2940 South Anthony Blvd. | Fort Wayne, IN 46806 | GreaterCTC.org |
FREE Soul Food Every Wednesday, 4 P.M. to 5:45 P.M.