Our Church History
Rescue Temple # 1 C.O.G.I.C. (c) 2020 601 Franklin Blvd, Greensboro, NC 27401 | (336) 273-7615
The History of Rescue Temple #1 Church of God in Christ
With a profound calling upon Ornell and Mabel Smith in 1959 while yet residing in Buffalo, New York, they relocated home to Greensboro, North Carolina. The Smiths worshipped with Bishop Wyoming Wells and the congregation at Wells Memorial Church of God in Christ on Asheboro Street (now Martin Luther King Boulevard). God would not allow Ornell and Mabel Smith to become content with the place of worship because He has a purpose for their journey southward. This mission was to continue the declaration of His Word being preached-"Holiness or Hell" by Evangelist Mabel Smith.
Thus, Rescue Temple #1 C.O.G.I.C., Inc. was birthed from a revival in a tent in Goshen, a small suburban community in South Greensboro in 1959 conducted by Evangelist Mabel Smith. Souls were delivered, healed, and saved from sin. Some received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and were truly set free! Although the official church charter was presented in 1960, the birth of the church bore labor pains as souls were added from the various locations during its early existence-from a house (Lee Street) to a warehouse (Martin Street), from a store-front (East Market Street) to a tent service (Winston Street), and from a warehouse (McConnell Road) to church dwellings (Warren Street, Winston Street, Dunbar Street, East Florida Street, Tuscaloosa Street, English Street, Pear Street, Bessemer Avenue, Franklin Boulevard). Don't allow the moves to speak derogatorily of the great ministry of Rescue Temple#1 Church of God in Christ. The numerous locations allowed God's plan to evolve. You were Saved!
Many ministries were appointed to serve in a temporary capacity until appointment of a permanent pastor to lead the Saints to a higher level of edification, understanding, and spiritual awareness. Such great leaders to be a part of the history of the church were the late Elder Sanford Branch, the late Elder Broadnax, the late Elder Washington, the late Elder Curtis Cole, and the late Elder James Turner. Rescue Temple #1 C.O.G.I.C., Inc. was under the leadership of the late Superintendent Ernest McCants and the late Mother Johnnie Mae McCants of the High Point District. The late Bishop Joseph Howard Sherman (who served as Chairman of the Board of Bishops for the International Churches of God in Christ) was pastor for a period of time.
Under his leadership, Superintendent Ornell Smith was called into the ministry. The newly founded mission was officially chartered under the late Bishop J. Howard Sherman who ordained Elder Ornell Smith as pastor in 1966. Members were added to the church continuously. A structure was built at 2525 Pear Street in 1968 with funds provided primarily by Elder Ornell Smith and his wife, Evangelist Mabel Smith. The membership continued to grow from a handful members to over fifty members during that time. With a membership of more than one hundred thirty members, the purchase of a historical church located at 3008 East Bessemer Avenue commenced in 1974. The mortgage for that edifice was burned on February 15, 1982. Superintendent Ornell and Evangelist Mabel Smith believed in starting churches. Every time they saw an empty building, they would say, "That is a great place for a church." Under this ministry, ten churches were established to later be united into one-the Sanford District of the Greater North Carolina Jurisdiction. The late Bishop Leo B. Davenport granted the charter for the Sanford District. Before the demise of Superintendent Ornell Smith on October 8, 1987, he stipulated in writ the appointment of the next person in leadership of the church in the event Evangelist Mabel Smith chose not to pastor. Elder Charles W. McMurry was named to pastor the flock at Rescue Temple #1 Church of God in Christ, Inc. and to become Superintendent of the Sanford District.
Under the leadership of Superintendent Charles W. McMurry, the church moved to 601 Franklin Boulevard in October 1994. There are many wonderful works being done by the membership under his leadership. Superintendent McMurry established a Boy's Club, instituted the Outreach Ministry, re-established the work of the Women's Department under the presidency of First Lady Evelyn McMurry to organize and grow to leaps and bounds. He teaches the unadulterated Word of God and allows the Word to find you where you are. If you are willing to change your life, you can do so after receiving the Word of God. He often tells us that he is giving us a "sandwich" but we reply back with, "What would we do with an entire meal!" He really is a mighty man of God. Superintendent McMurry has supported the many churches that were birthed under the auspices of Rescue Temple #1 C.O.G.I.C. and remains close to the leaderships of those churches today. Dr. Charles McMurry loves to allow the young people to reach their magnitude by allowing them to partner with other church leaders and learn to perform with excellence through youth leadership roles. We thank God that this church has the type of leadership demanded in the Word of God. We are truly blessed with a leader who is personification of Jesus Christ and the quintessence of love. May God continue to bless this church and our leader-Superintendent Dr. Charles W. McMurry, as we move into the next decade.