Written By Lady Karen Blye
The church in Ft. Wayne, IN began with Pastor Nancy Ann Harden. She lived in Westfield on Bright St. with her husband, who did not believe as she did. In 1960, the growing clan of the Lewis family moved next door to them. Mother Harden quickly showed herself friendly and helped Mary Lewis with the, then, 6 children. As these women grew closer, Mother Harden began to teach Mrs. Lewis about the Lord, the Holy Ghost, the Sabbath, and eating clean. She began having Sabbath services in her small home. After a few years and 2 more babies, Mother and Mrs. Lewis, who by then were the church secretary and treasurer, began talking about having an actual building to worship God in.
Our first Church was located on East Wayne St., where the high rise apartment building is now, across the St. from the old Head Start building. The building housed a small grocery store on one side, and the Sabbath keeping church on the other side. During our years there, we had wonderful services and even had visitors from out of town come by to worship with us. After a period at this location, I believe the grocers who shared our building, wanted to expand and, since they owned the building, we found another location back in Westfield on Pine St, Mother Harden asked Bishop to send her someone to help out with the duties of the church. Bishop sent Elder Grady Borders. After this, Elder Marvin Travis, from Detroit, MI became our pastor. He would come to Ft Wayne often with his wife and children. We purchased the little church located at 1502 E. Wayne St. Also during that time, Mother Harden became very ill and passed away in 1974. But not before she was able to worship in our new building. She was about 76 years old when she passed.
When Elder Travis could no longer remain our pastor, Bishop Rawlings, sent a series of men to pastor in Ft. Wayne, I only remember Elder Allen and Elder James Wallace. Needless to say, Mother Lewis was so discouraged and very distrusting. Finally, Bishop Rawlings came to visit Mother Lewis at her home and told her he was sending a 21 year old young man to pastor.
When this young man came to Fort Wayne, IN he came to a church building that had been abandoned. Newly appointed Pastor Jerry Carter, cleaned the church up and went looking for Mother Lewis. There must have been something about him, because she began coming to church. She didn't really have to force my teenage sisters and brothers to come, they came without force and loved church and the pastor so much, and they began witnessing to me, urging me to come. When I did finally come back, I was completely blown away by the power in that church, and by my beautiful family embracing God and this new young pastor.
In April, of 1982, it was Passover, and it was snowing. I heard screams and crying and ran outside to see our Church burning, totally engulfed in flames. The building was completely destroyed. But in February of that same year, Prophet Michael Carter, was asked to come and run a revival for us. We experienced a snowstorm and he was stuck in Ft. Wayne. But he prophesied to our church that we would be moving out of 1502 soon. We shouted and danced because we thought, in due time, we'd find a church to buy. But just a few months later, we had no church. We were forced to move. We continued services in Saints homes, and garages, and settled in the apartment building next door to the church rectory. We worshiped there for a few years and during that time, our pastor began talking about building a church, and we were excited and caught the dream. For almost 4 years, we worshiped in that apartment.
Bishop found land and purchased it. Next thing you know, we are building the church. The saints pitched in with whatever talent they had or just helped to move the many large rocks, throwing them in the footer. Bishop Carter remains the pastor of the House of God in Ft. Wayne, IN. The church has grown in membership and Bishop is constantly thinking up new ways to beautify the Temple for Yahweh. There are people there who were born and raised there and some who were grafted in and stayed. These are now grown and married, having children of their own. The circle continues.
Through hardship and loss, this church has endured because of God's grace, mercy and power. It also endures because of the 21 year old young man that God sent to Ft. Wayne and stayed when so many came and went. And because he has dedicated himself to the work of the Lord. I'm so glad to be a part of that history, thru all the struggles, God has remained faithful to us. To HIM be the glory, forever.