Christ Temple began in 1953 in the city of Tracy in the living room of Mother Voorice’s home with Lewis D. Stallworth, an ordained Elder who felt the call to pastor. The membership include Elder’s wife, Mary Stallworth, Garnola Roberts and Brother and Sister Smith. Worship in Tracy lasted 8 months; worship was in a Quonset Hut, on the property of the City of Tracy.
After other places of worship in Tracy turned out to be unsuccessful, the Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Inc., Bishop Samuel N. Hancock, told Elder Stallworth to make a move. At this time his only Deacon Jesse Walker joined him in the pursuit of God and property for a new location in the city of Stockton, California. In Stockton they found an unfinished church building located at 3368 Volney Street.
On December 24, 1953 Pastor Stallworth with 10 faithful members, including Elder Willie Jackson who later served as the first Assistant Pastor entered their new church home. This unfinished edifice included an outside restroom facility. Within a few months, Elder Clifford Nemard, contractor of San Diego, California assisted with remodeling which included ceiling, the interior, adding a Baptistery, an office, kitchen, and dining room. Elder Nemard also bricked the front exterior. The alter in the sanctuary was built by Robert Hall, who later became the Secretary -Treasurer.
In 1956 Elder Stallworth was elevated to the office of District Elder and later to the office of Bishop in August of 1958 at the Pentecostal Church of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. National Convention by Bishop S.N. Hancock . In 1959 Bishop Lewis D. Stallworth, Sr. expressed his vision and the need for a larger church edifice and better a location. Thereafter, FAITH was the theme of all sermons with admonishment to work.
In 1959 Bishop asked God in his home on Lafayette to give them a place of worship. God gave them the present location at 1616 East Main Street and adjoining properties 1609 and 1623 Market Street. After further investigation, members agreed and authorized the church trustees to negotiate to purchase East Main and East Market properties. The purchase price was $13,200.00 which was secured by the members of the church, shortly after they were advised that an additional amount of $1,600.00 was needed within 3 days to secure the property and to clear a lien on the property. After a prayer meeting Secretary, Artie Walker secured the amount needed to obtain the property. Victor Galbraith, a local architect, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright was chosen to design the building. Bishop, Sister Mary Stallworth, Sister Artie Walker, and Elder Nehemiah Smith advised Mr. Galbraith concerning the 2nd story edifice.
In 1960 a building permit was issued to Pastor Stallworth and the ground breaking ceremony was held. The construction of the church began in 1961 with Burl Hill, Henry Price assisted by Allen Stallworth (the Pastor’s brother) a brick contractor, and Brother Otho Ware. The Pastor and members all assisted with building the church. Bishop Stallworth assisted in all phases of the building; laying brick, reading and interpreting the blue prints, plastering, hammering, sawing, pouring concrete, he also built the Pulpit. Other ministers who worked on the building were Reverend Martin Glaser and Reverend H.F. Dean of Stockton, Reverend Riddle Sperger of Galt and Reverend Clifford Nemard of San Diego, CA.
The most outstanding worker; Brother R.W. Phillip and electrician gave 40 to 50 hours a week installing the wiring of the church. Bishop Stallworth’s family and especially his sons made many sacrifices to hold up the arms of their father and pastor. At the time Lewis, Jr., David, Richard, Cornelius, John worked endless hours, some leaving college, making numerous sacrifices to see the building completed on time. Although they were young, they often scalded the heights and depths of the dangerous scaffolds, working from sun up to sun down helping their father finish the work that God had sat before them. Seeing the handiwork of God, Christ Temple joined their forces together as ONE, that the house of the Lord be built. Prayer meetings were held daily, food was prepared by the women, and men left the first jobs, came to the church and worked into the wee hours of the night. Critics and skeptics said it couldn’t be done, but God heard the mocking and turned it away by supplying every need. Bishop and Sister Stallworth sold their home and loaned their equity to the church, Deacon Jesse Walker and wife Artie, and Sister Dorothy Thompson loaned the church special loans as well.
During the process Christ Temple sold the first building, and held service in the vacant house at 1623 East Market and in the parsonage, 1609 East Market were the pastor and his family moved, outgrowth forced movement. Christ Temple rented the old Second Baptist Church on 1241 East Market Street, worshiping until January 1963, until moving into the basement of the new church on Main Street.
In March of 1963, THE CHURCH BUILDING WAS COMPLETED! On March 30, 1963, Christ Temple celebrated its grand opening with Bishop Stallworth, his wife and 175 courageous members entered into the newly built edifice. This was witnessed by approximately 375 guests, including County and City Officials. On March 31, 1963, Special Services were held. Christ Temple grew and prospered under the leadership of Bishop Lewis D. Stallworth, Sr. The many accomplishments included purchasing of adjoining properties west and east of the church and redeeming the first church building at 3368 Volney Street. The church also purchased 5 church busses used to transport children to Sunday school and Church. Many milestones were celebrated from 1953 to the present. Christ Temple thrived on serving the community through prayer, visitations, counseling, monies, clothing, and including representation of the gospel in word and song had been rendered to the prison community. Christ Temple participated in community projects such as C.O.R.P. for the Hungry, Operation Bread Basket; Feed the Hungry Ministry, Clothes for the Needy, Promoting South Stockton Ministry and the Stockton’s Metro Ministry. Local hospitals near and far were also familiar with our visits and acts of love and kindness. Throughout the years Christ Temple conducted religious services not only in the sanctuary but via radio broadcast, mainly through KSTN FM and AM stations also on the local community television stations. In the early years Christ Temple provided Academic tutorial service each Tuesday and Thursday evenings for members and non-members alike. Counseling and religious services were conducted in the outreach building on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. an extension of the Sunday School Department.
Christ Temple also sponsors Christ Temple Day Care which began in 1980, later named after its Director of 28 years Sister Diane’s Day Care, and the Samuel N. Hancock School serving grades K – 12, which started in 1981, both founded by the honorable Bishop Lewis D. Stallworth, Sr., PhD and wife, Mary. Bishop never failing to consider those who have served over the years wanted to provide a way to take care of the faithful who have served the day care and school for the past 28 years.
On April 10th, 2008 at 11:52 p.m. Bishop fell asleep and went home to be with the Lord. Some of his last words were to those in his room and around his bed, as he raised his hands he said: “God bless everybody.” Although our fearless leader is no longer with us he left Christ Temple with a great legacy of faith, hope, vision, love, joy, peace, temperance, long suffering, kindness, gentleness, and meekness to follow. With his vision and the Spirit God instilled within us, we will forge ahead by faith and build the Greater Christ Temple is now under capable hands of the Bishop T. David Dockery Sr. and wife Dollye Dockery (Daughter of the Late Bishop L.D. Stallworth Sr.) Bishop Dockery carriers an anointing and vision that details the future of the Greater Christ Temple. Bishop envisions a: A Church Sanctuary & Worship Facility that can accommodate seating for 1,200 w/nursery accommodations, café and lounge areas.
A Family life center that would include:
- Physical and Spiritual fitness wing
- Fellowship hall w/stage area (seating approx. 200)
- A Kids Zone arcade, Internet, Computer room, youth and Internet lounge
- Corporate offices and training rooms for daily business operations
- Meeting rooms for training, development and educational services
- Rooms for music and performing arts. (The new ACT 1 Anointed Christian Talent performing Arts)
- A Daycare facility-for daily operation
Greater Christ Temple had doubled in size and attendance and is currently preparing to launch their second location in their new facility that will fulfill the Vision that the Lord has given Bishop Dockery.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
Habakkuk 2:3 (New King James Version)