In 1930, the late Bishop Walter L. Morris and his wife, Ava, came to Racine to start a church. At the time of their coming, there were only two other black churches in Racine, Wayman AME and St. Paul Baptist. At the time of their coming, no one wanted the “sanctified” church here, but one thing those in opposition did not understand, Elder Morris had stepped out on faith, with one goal in mind… to labor for the Lord. They were unable to find a building in which to start the church until a believer by the name of Mrs. Rosetta Vault opened up her home for worship.
Later, they were able to rent a house on Racine Street where they worshipped until 1933 when a two-story house went up for sale at 1321 -12th Street. The small congregation was able to buy the property. The lower part of the building was converted into a church and the upper part was used as the parsonage.
Elder Morris preached and prayed for God to save. Anointed, spirit-filled evangelists conducted revivals. People were saved and joined the church. Others of the faith moved to Racine and also joined. The church and the ministry continued to grow.
In 1954, Elder Morris was consecrated to the Bishopric. In 1959, his health failed him when he was stricken with double pneumonia. Seeing his determination to carry on, the mothers, ministers and members sustained him. Bishop Morris actively pastored Twelfth Street. until his sight began to fail him in 1960. By this time, other Elders had joined or had been ordained. Elders Louis Kemp, Nesbie Allen, Thomas Elmore and Jettie Cornett were his assistants in the ministry at the “House on the Hill. ”
Eventually the “House” became too small to hold the entire congregation. In 1965, they began negotiations to purchased a Lutheran church at 522 N Memorial Dr. It was not without conflict that the congregation was able to purchase this building, however, those in opposition did not know that Bishop Morris’ motto was “Have Faith in God.” In August of that year, thecongregation, led by Bishop Morris, marched into their new building.
The church was renamed Grace Temple. First for the unconstrained and undeserving favor that God had bestowed upon His people; and second for a Mother of the church who had relentlessly labored, fasted and prayed for the church, and the body as a whole, the late Mother Grace Alexander.
In 1970, the Lord called Bishop Morris home. The late Bishop Louis H Ford, the Jurisdictional Leader, appointed Elder Jettie L. Cornett, Pastor of Grace Temple, in 1971.
The church continued to grow and prosper under the leadership of Elder Cornett. By the mid-eighties, we found that once again, we had outgrown the “new” building. On August 13, 1988, service for the ground breaking of new building, which would house a new sanctuary,fellowship hall, much needed classrooms and offices, was held. In April of 1990, the congregation began worshiping in their new edifice. It was their desire to make a greater impact on the community, therefore the name was changed to “Greater Grace Temple.”
The congregation and Pastor Cornett acknowledge that it is by the grace of God that we have come this far. We’ll never forget those who labored, fasted and prayed to help us to get to where we are today. We acknowledge that we are here on the corner of North Memorial Drive and Oak Street for a purpose. Our community is in a crisis. We are losing our children to gangs and drugs. Men and women walk the streets with little or no hope. There is hope! Our prayer is that we never forget our mission: