This great Apostolic church, originally known as Bethlehem Temple, was formed in 1938 on Detroit Street, then in a store front at 212 East Kingsley in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The mixed congregation numbered thirty to forty members, and Mother Sally Tolbert is thought to be the first pastor. She moved to the West Coast, leaving Elder Envious Jackson in charge to pastor the small group.
Elder Envious Jackson then pastored the church until his death. Elder Nelson Turner was named by the members to be acting pastor. Around 1960, Elder Marshall Taylor was elected as pastor, and the church name was changed to Grace Apostolic Church. Elder Taylor served until the summer of 1971. He left the church under the leadership of Evangelist Helen Taylor. At the same time the congregation was forced to vacate the property at 212 E. Kingsley. For a very short while, the congregation was without a church home and prayer was held in the homes of some of the saints. Almost immediately, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church located at 632 N. Fourth Ave. became available. Evangelist Taylor negotiated to rent the church and moved the congregation to that location. She served the congregation faithfully until a permanent pastor was elected.
In June 1972, Elder Avery Dumas Jr., an assistant pastor to District Elder Theodore R. Talley for eighteen years in Ecorse, Michigan, was elected to pastor the church. He immediately entered into negotiations to purchase the church and the adjoining parking lot. The church was renamed New Grace Apostolic Church. Pastor Dumas initiated a building fund drive, which resulted in the mortgage being paid sooner than expected. Elder Nelson Turner Jr. served faithfully as assistant pastor until God called him home in September 1992. Elder Avery Dumas Jr. then appointed his son Elder Alvin Dumas to serve as assistant pastor.
Pastor Dumas labored untiringly on behalf of the congregation, even working as a carpenter to repair and remodel the church building from the early seventies through the eighties. When the house next to the church 628 N. Fourth Ave. became available, it was purchased and made into the Annex for Sunday School classes. Pastor Dumas was a good steward over that which God had committed to his hand, and in the mid-1980s he purchased the land for the present new church location. Elder Avery Dumas Jr. spent a considerable amount of time in praying and planning to build a house to the glory of God. Subsequently, the church, parking lot and annex were sold in 1998; although, we were able to stay at the church and hold services until September 1999. Construction on the new church began in the fall of 1999.
The period between leaving the former church on Fourth Ave until the time we moved into our new edifice has been lovingly coined as “The Wilderness.” We marvel at the wisdom of God when we understand how He used that time to bond us together as a true church family. For little over a year, services were held at the Red Cross Administration Building on Sundays and at the First Church of the Nazarene on Tuesdays and Fridays. We are thankful how God worked in the heart of our neighbors to allow us to rent their facilities to continue in our services.
With much anticipation and enthusiasm, the members of New Grace Apostolic Temple, under the leadership of District Elder Avery Dumas Jr., marched into our new church home on August 6, 2000. The church held it’s Dedication Services October 10-14, 2000.
Within months of moving into our new edifice, the Lord saw fit to end the life of our assistant pastor, Elder Alvin Dumas, in November 2000. Five short months later, On April 1, 2001 the Lord called our beloved pastor, District Elder Avery Dumas Jr. from labor to glory. Understandably, this would be devastating for most congregations. However, we marvel and glorify God as He eased our transition by placing Elder Avery Dumas III as our current pastor on March 31, 2001.
The church continues this day working with the vision that the Lord has given Elder Avery Dumas III. Under his administration and at the request of his father District Elder Avery Dumas Jr. the church was renamed New Grace Apostolic Temple. Elder Avery Dumas III has created many new ministries such as: ApostolicOne student outreach organizations active on both the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University Campuses. Under the leadership of Elder Avery Dumas III 200+ souls have been saved and have become productive members at New Grace. A New Members class taught by our Pastor has created excitement around becoming a new member of New Grace. When the house next to the church 2828 Packard became available, it was purchased and made into a Daycare “Graceful Beginnings” to meet the needs of the community and church members. We are also looking forward to our brand new bookstore that will be opening soon “Growing in Grace”. New Grace is on the move, as our pastor would say “Grace is the Place”. Our desire is to reach the lost, help individuals develop a positive relationship with God, build the body of Christ into becoming mature Christians and prepare individuals to meet their God in peace.