History of Greater Mitchell Temple COGIC
3659 Mitchell Street COGIC was a church located on the corner of St Joseph/Mitchell and is the place where on January 25, 1982, Bishop John Seth Bailey appointed then, Elder John H. Sheard, Pastor. The property was still owned by an elderly blind woman and there was a $192.00 deficit in the treasury for the one room converted house. There were old wooden benches with a furnace that inconveniently sat in the center of the room. The entire “church” sat maybe 40-50 people, but there were only 6 active members.
After only six months of fundraising, Elder Sheard’s active vision began to draw people from all walks of life. The church membership had outgrown the current building, which prompted a search for a newer, more accommodating facility.
The new home was discovered at 15105 Meyers @ Fenkell, on Detroit’s Westside, and the church was rededicated Greater Mitchell Church of God In Christ.
Elder Sheard’s dedication to the ministry, and totally depending on God’s Word, made this church a place where many souls were saved, many bodies were healed, and several others were delivered. God continued to send people because of Elder John H. Sheard’s faithfulness. Greater Mitchell became the place to be. Many musicals and revivals ensued, sometimes to “standing room only” crowds. Church sponsored Family & Friends days, Women’s Days, Men’s Days, Youth Days, and Sunday Nite Live programs, all contributed to this thriving ministry.
It soon became evident that the church again needed a larger facility, and on a cold, February 21, 1993, the congregation relocated again to 13737 Curtis @ Schaefer, its present facility and is now known as the Greater Mitchell Temple Church of God In Christ, a large multi-million dollar facility, with several levels of classrooms, meeting rooms and conference areas. The “Temple”, seats 750 congregants on plush custom pews, with a state-of-the-art audio system. The Premier Social Hall offers seating for 300 with a full stage and lighting. The lower level houses many other ministries including Headstart, AngelFood, HOPE, and THAW. It has become a ray of sun to the surrounding community offering many programs to benefit God’s people.
Our pastor is now known as Bishop John H. Sheard, Presiding Prelate of the Michigan Southwest First Jurisdiction Church of God in Christ as so consecrated by the General Board and the National Church, a jurisdiction that contains some 90 churches throughout Michigan, and He was also, overwhelmingly elected Chairman of the Board of Bishops, for the Church of God in Christ, Worldwide.
Bishop John H. Sheard, A.A, B.S., M.A
Pastor, Greater Mitchell Temple COGIC
Presiding Prelate, Michigan Southwest First Jurisdiction COGIC
Chairman, Board of Bishops – International COGIC
Bishop John Henry Sheard is a unique individual. His charisma has attracted people of all ages and persuasions. He takes time to recognize people as individuals, from the Mother’s Board to the Cradle Roll. His profound teaching ability has instilled in his members, a fervent desire to tell others in need to “come and see” Greater Mitchell Temple’s God-given leader. God’s anointing has been manifested throughout our leader’s life. When John Henry Sheard was born to the late Rev. O.S. Sheard and Mother Kizziah Sheard in Boliva County, Mississippi, he had already been chosen by God to do a great work. This calling began to be manifested when he received Christ as his Savior and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost at an early age.
He exhibited a strong personal drive, which caused him to leave Mississippi at the age of 17, and move to Detroit, Michigan, where he joined Bailey Temple COGIC under the ministry of Bishop John Seth Bailey. It was there he continued his work in the church, doing “whatever his hands found to do”. In 1956, he married the “Apple of his Eye”, Miss Willie Mae Gordon, daughter of the late Deacon Marshall and Mother Eunice Gordon.
“Brother John,” as Bishop Bailey called him, walked up the stairs of an inspired and successful church life, moving from Junior Deacon to Senior Deacon, to Co-Chairman of the Youth Department, and finally to Chairman of Bailey Temple. Brother John Sheard moved into a larger ministry when he was appointed District President of the Youth Dept. of District #9.
God’s working in his life became even more pronounced when he acknowledged his call to the ministry in 1973. Not long thereafter, he was ordained an Elder by Bishop Bailey. He used his strength to support his pastor, in all his endeavors, and because of his devotion, Bishop Bailey then appointed him Associate Pastor of Seth Temple COGIC. He faithfully served Seth Temple for 2 years when Bishop Bailey was led to appoint him as Pastor of Mitchell Street COGIC in January,1982. Within 6 months, Elder Sheard’s dynamic ministry had drawn people, old and young, causing the church to need larger quarters.
This blossoming church moved to its new quarters at 15105 Meyers, and the church was rechristened “Greater Mitchell Church of God In Christ”.
By March, 1985, Elder Sheard experienced promotion again to the position of District Superintendent of District #18 and later to District # 6.
In September, 1985, now Superintendent Sheard was favored as a Member of the Executive Board and State President of the Youth Department under the then Prelate, Bishop Willie L. Harris.
Following a brief illness, Bishop Harris was called home to be with the Lord on September 30, 1992, and on October 8, 1992, the General Board of the Church of God In Christ, allowed the Pastors of the 1st Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Michigan Southwest, to recommend their choice for the next Bishop. Superintendent Sheard was favored and received the most recommendations from the Pastors. The General Board concurred and he was consecrated Bishop of the First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Michigan Southwest.
Greater Mitchell continued to expand, and became the place to be on a “any” Sunday night. So the church again needed a larger facility. Subsequently, Bishop Sheard’s vision brought them to 13737 Curtis Avenue, on a cold day in February, 1993, and dubbed this church Greater Mitchell “Temple” Church of God In Christ.
One key to Bishop Sheard’s perseverance and success in the ministry is the love, support and prayers of his wife, Mother Willie Mae Sheard, and the encouragement and loyalty of his sons, Bishop J. Drew Sheard and Elder Ethan B. Sheard.
The honors have not stopped.
Doctor of Humane Letters – Lewis College of Business, ’94
Police Commissioner – City of Detroit, ’94
Board of Directors – Detroit Urban League, ’96
Vice-Chairman of the Board of Bishops
City of Detroit Human Rights Committee
Associates Degree – Wayne County Community College
Bachelor of Science Degree in Education – Wayne State University
Masters Degree in Education – Wayne State University
Chairman, Board of Bishops COGIC – ’04, ’08, ’12 (currently serving)
Mother Willie Mae Sheard
Accurately described as an accomplished Evangelist and Missionary, Mother Willie Mae Sheard serves at the Local, District, Jurisdictional and National levels of the Church of God In Christ.
Local Level: Greater Mitchell Temple COGIC
President – Women’s Department
Chairperson – Annual Women’s Day
Teacher – New Member’s Class
Prayer Leader – Noonday Prayer
Jurisdictional Level: Michigan Southwest First Jurisdiction COGIC
President – Charles Harrison Mason Foundation (provides awards and scholarships to deserving young people)
Marshall – Women of the Jurisdiction
President – Pastors & Ministers’ Wives’ Circle
Serving the women as counselor, advisor, and friend, Mother Sheard’s love, support, dedication and prayers have produced ‘good seed’ in her husband’s ministry, the lives of the saints of God, and in the Church of God In Christ.
As the wife of Bishop John H. Sheard for 55 years, Mother Sheard is the First Lady of both the Greater Mitchell Temple Church of God In Christ and of the Michigan Southwest First Jurisdiction COGIC. God has also blessed her to encourage her husband as he serves as Chairman – Board of Bishops, for the Church of God In Christ, Inc.
She is the mother of two sons: Bishop J. Drew Sheard, Prelate – Michigan North Central Jurisdiction COGIC and Pastor of Greater Emmanuel Institutional COGIC and Elder Ethan B. Sheard, Assistant Pastor – Greater Mitchell Temple COGIC and Youth President – Michigan Southwest First Jurisdiction COGIC. Mother Sheard is also the proud grandmother of Kierra “Ki-Ki”, J Drew, II and Madison Sheard.