In the mid 1920’s, the late Elder James Roosevelt Carter and his wife, Catherine Carter, obeyed God’s call and migrated from Chester, Pennsylvania to Baltimore, Maryland. Arriving in the city in 1926 with little money and no friends, Elder and Sister Carter did not know how nor where to start their ministry. Therefore, they began to have services on the street corners of Baltimore City. During this period, they suffered many hardships. On many occasions, the late Bishop Cornelius Range would send them money to buy food and pay for a place to rest. At times they felt that God had forsaken them, but they never gave up.
In the late 1930's, Elder Carter tried to establish a church on West Fayette Street and at many other locations in the city, but each time he failed. In 1940, the Lord blessed him with a little building at 1006 W. Lexington Street, which he named “Church Of God In Christ # 7.” A devoted little group under the leading and guidance of God and Pastor Carter, met there regularly for prayer and praise services. As a result of these meetings the church began to grow.
”In 1944 the church became incorporated, and in 1955 was renamed “Garden Of Prayer Church Of God In Christ. The church was blessed with a weekly radio broadcast and many members were added to the church and healed through Pastor Carter’s radio outreach and healing ministry.
Pastor Carter, having been a man of prayer with ambition and great faith, began searching for a larger place of worship for his congregation. In late 1955, the Spirit of the Lord led him to a building at 745 West Fayette Street, and per God’s instructions, Elder Carter placed his right hand on the building and prayed. With less than $500 in the treasury, the Trustees of the church wrote the Beechfield Methodist Church Trustee Board indicating an interest in purchasing the building. The proposal indicated the congregation’s willingness to pay $100 a week for a period of time, and thereafter $335 per month. The proposal was accepted, and on January 29, 1956, the congregation marched from 1006 West Lexington Street to the new location at 745 West Fayette Street, at which time, the name of the church was changed to “Carter’s Temple Church Of God In Christ.” The church soon became known by many as the Holy Ghost headquarters for healing of the body and soul.
In May 1972, the church mortgage was burned. And after many years of labor, on September 21, 1973, God summoned Dr. Carter from labor to reward.
Shortly thereafter, Elder James Norris, a son of the church, was designated pastor of Carter’s Temple Church. His tenure as spiritual leader was brief, and in late 1976, announced to the congregation that he was leaving Carter’s Temple to establish another church. During his pastorate, and the months following his departure, Mother Catherine Carter acted as church administrator.
Prior to the end of 1976, the membership had fallen to seven faithful members. These persons continued to believe God and kept offering up sincere prayers for direction.
In November 1976, the late Bishop Theodore R. Young, Jurisdictional Prelate of Maryland, appointed Elder Frank James Ellis as pastor of the church, and on January 2, 1977, Elder Ellis came to Carter’s Temple Church as its third pastor. Under his dynamic leadership, and in less than six months, things began to happen for the betterment of the ministry. In February 1977, the name was (again) changed to “Carter Memorial Church Of God In Christ,” in honor and memory of its founder.
Elder Frank Ellis, after assuming the pastorate of the church, began major renovations and improvements to the church building that was in need of major repair. With only a few faithful members and limited resources, the congregation, within a few weeks, was able to move from the downstairs chapel to the main sanctuary upstairs.
Under Pastor Ellis’ leadership, the membership began to grow and some of the members who had left during the pastoral transition period began to return.
During his tenure as pastor of Carter Memorial Church, Elder Frank Ellis was elevated to the office of Prelate of the West Virginia Jurisdiction and Chairman of the General Assembly of the Church Of God In Christ. Inc. These elevations rendered national exposure to the local church.
In 1989, Elder Carl Anthony Pierce Sr., a native Texan, relocated to Baltimore and joined the membership of Carter. He served diligently alongside Bishop Ellis and his commitment and loyalty to both his pastor and the ministry was evident. In 1994, Elder Pierce was appointed to the office of assistant pastor and was prophetically pronounced the next pastor of the church by Bishop Ellis.
In subsequent years as Bishop Ellis’ health began to decline, Elder Pierce was thrust to the forefront of the ministry. During this season, the ministry continued to grow and the stability of the ministry remained sound and strong.
On June 27, 2000, Bishop Ellis transitioned from labor to reward, and Elder Pierce, with unanimous affirmation of the church’s trustee and deacon boards, was formally appointed and installed Pastor of Carter Memorial Church on July 2, 2000 by Bishop David Washington Spann, Sr., Jurisdictional Prelate, Greater Maryland First Jurisdiction, Church Of God In Christ.
Under Elder Pierce’s leadership, the ministry of Carter has experienced exceptional growth. In addition, his charismatic persona, exceptional administrative abilities, and passion for ministry have catapulted the ministry of Carter to that of one of the premier ministries in the Baltimore area.
Having maximized and outgrown its present location on Fayette Street, Pastor Pierce led the ministry into expanded territory of a larger ministry complex that would accommodate the growth and future endeavors of the ministry efforts. Pastor Pierce presented a proposal for relocation to the congregation on May 22, 2011, during a solemn assembly of Carter’s membership. The congregation offered enthusiastic support and voted unanimously for Pastor Pierce to proceed. In subsequent months, negotiations were completed and finalized on the purchase of the St. Peter’s The Apostle Catholic Church complex, formerly known as the Mother Church of West Baltimore.
The expansive campus, which required major renovations, became Carter’s ministry headquarters. It includes the worship center, administrative offices, a Power Center for youth ministry and activities; the Life Center for multipurpose use, and the Bishop Frank J. Ellis Complex, which will house the Carter Memorial Church Outreach Center, a 501c3 organization for the betterment of youth and their families.
With the completion of the first phase of renovation, the saints of Carter marched into its new edifice on Dec. 29, 2013.
As Carter fulfills her purpose in the earth, may the beauty and functionality of the ministry complex, along with the various ministries offered, stand as a beacon light and ray of hope for Baltimore and the surrounding areas.