Elder Samuel I. Rumph and Evangelist Priscilla M. Rumph were humble servants of God. They purposefully lived with their endeavor to go to Heaven in the forefront of their minds. Elder Rumph took the charge that God gave him soberly and traveled throughout the country preaching the gospel. Running revivals and being away from his family weeks and months at a time. In 1960, the late Bishop Samuel N. Hancock, his pastor, assigned him the pastorate of a church in Dayton Ohio. Fulfilling the role of pastor for four years, in 1964 he was then called to be assistant pastor of a church in Rochester NY. After serving in the office of assistant pastor for five years; in 1969 he heard the voice of the Lord to start a work. Being obedient to the voice of the Lord, on May 7th 1969, Elder Samuel and Lady Priscilla along with their children began, The Greater Bethlehem Temple Pentecostal Church in their home at 372 Columbia Ave. Services were held in the living room. The congregation rapidly increased and they were forced to seek a larger worship space. While aggressively searching, he settled on a storefront property located at 210 Pennsylvania Ave.
Elder Rumph and The Greater Bethlehem Temple Pentecostal Church conducted services for a weekly live radio broadcast emanating from the WDKX studio. These services gave the listener a taste of the anointed singing and dynamic preaching that was taking place under this ministry. The listeners flocked to the corner of 4th and Pennsylvania Ave and found that it was too crowded and had to sit in their cars with the windows rolled down. The membership exceed the allowed occupancy of the building. Elder Rumph, his family and the church needed another building.
In November of 1975 the congregation marched from Pennsylvania Ave to their new edifice located at 1171 Culver Road. This building housed real stained glass windows and Sunday school classrooms, a total upgrade from the previous locations; but adequate parking space eluded them. This caused a problem for the rapidly growing church. Soon after being in the new space, new property was sought with the primary goal of adequate parking. To ease the problem of the parishioners receiving parking tickets, due to the alternate parking regulations in the residential area .They remained there for four years, and was home to their First Annual Church Convention in June of 1976. Delegates came from all over the country and Canada, to fellowship in their electrifying services. During their time at Culver Road they experienced a rich flow of the Word of God. Their worship services were so anointed that you could oftentimes see a cloud hovering in the sanctuary. Many were baptized in Jesus’ Name and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. This church was on the move.
In his quest for a better building with adequate parking, Elder Rumph came across the parcel of land located at 40-42 Favor St. To the natural eye it looked like a bombed out shell of a building in a war zone. But to Elder Rumph being the visionary that he was, he could see the potential of what it could become.
This was a land rich with the history of the city of Rochester. The Old AME Zion Church that they saw, was the third building erected on the site. The original building’s basement was the processing place for Frederick Douglass’ newspaper, The North Star, and a stop on the Underground Railroad connection through Rochester, NY. In Harriet Tubman’s many freedom expeditions she brought and housed many fugitive slaves in the first building on the property. Even women’s rights advocate, Susan B. Anthony set foot on this historic ground when she gave one of her last public speeches in the first church building.
In 1979, having been vacant for some years, Elder Rumph had a vision that this was the place to accommodate the Greater Bethlehem Temple Pentecostal Church congregation. They began an 18 month restoration project. Parking lots were paved, trees were planted, a fence was erected and stained glass windows were finely crafted with Biblical inspiration. The window with the eye represents the Father, the window with the P.X.A. represents the Son, the window with the Dove represents the Holy Spirit, the window with the Bible represents Faith, the window with the Anchor represents Hope, The window with the red, black, white and yellow roses represents All Nations and Charity and the window in the pulpit represents John the Baptist, baptizing Jesus.
Upon completion, this historic landmark was no longer in ruins and was the new home for the Greater Bethlehem Temple Pentecostal Church congregation.
For many years the congregation served God under the Pastorate of Elder Samuel I. Rumph and Elect Lady Priscilla Rumph. Elect Lady Priscilla Rumph was an Evangelist and Master Teacher of the Word of God. She pastored for a few years, Greater Bethlehem Temple Pentecostal Church Number 2 in Sodus, NY.
In the early 80’s, Elder Rumph was elevated to the office of Bishop by the late Bishop Charles E. Poole, at Bethlehem Healing Temple in Chicago, IL. Bishop Rumph led the people and admonished them to go forward.
Elect Lady Priscilla M. Rumph made her transition on January 17th 2002. Bishop Rumph continued to pastor up until his transition on March 22nd 2013.
Since his death, we are still going forward and expanding the ministries.
Today, under the prelacy of Pastor Beverly J. Renford, we are making strides to win souls for Christ in the 21st century. The church that has been known as “The church in the heart of the city, with the people of the city in its heart; is now actively pursuing the hearts of the people through the love of God. With a renewed vigor, to ensure that “Life Becomes Greater at Favor Street” through glorifying God in obedience to the Great Commission, all are welcome to come and have a personal encounter with God. Pastor Beverly is determined to equip the Body of Christ within the Greater Bethlehem Temple Pentecostal Church, Inc., with the knowledge of biblical principles and application skills, and proficiency in ministry outreach locally, nationally and globally; to be a beacon light for the lost and a refuge for the hopeless in their quest to find God. To realize our mission and vision, we pursue knowledge, understanding, and apply the tenets of the Living Word of God, until He raptures us away.