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Last updated: December 7, 2013
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A brief history of the Pentecostal Gospel Temple

In the beginning...
The Pentecostal Gospel Temple (PGT) as an assembly was founded by Reverend Wilbert Obadiah Stewart in 1963. The first service was a prayer meeting held at his home at 1 Keswick Road, Kingston 2, in April of that year. This was followed by services held two nights weekly in his backyard under a cherry tree, with the sky being the only roof overhead.

It was during this time of fellowship in the “open air cathedral” that property at 111 Windward Road was purchased as the site for a church assembly to the glory of God. The number “1-1-1” was of particular significance, as in addition to indicating God’s special favour, it has been a constant reminder of the truth that there is “ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM.” A structure was erected for worship with the intention for it to be used as a Church hall at a later date. It was in the truest sense “built by members” with much sacrifice of money, time and skills. The “Shed”, as Pastor Wilbert Stewart called it, was dedicated to the service of God on November 6, 1963.

The church experienced much growth, but the founder became ill and on the 13th of November 1966 he made his transition. The Pastoral mantle was passed on to his widow and co-founder, Evangelist Carmen Stewart, who then became the spiritual leader and under-shepherd for PGT.

After five years of ministry in the “Church Hall”, and with the growth experienced, there was need for a larger building. Additionally, a preschool for children in the age group of 3-6 years, was established. Adjoining premises at 109 Windward Road was acquired and the Wilbert Stewart Memorial Basic School was started in his honour. Over time it has gained tremendous recognition and growth and is presently the leading Basic school in the eastern Kingston zone. The school now occupies 1-3 Homestead Road.

The new church building was started and the next three years were spent in building while worshipping in the incomplete structure. Finally, the Sanctuary was completed and was dedicated on the 22nd of May 1972. In honour of the Founder’s dream and efforts to establish a church on the premises, the late Evangelist Lucille Miller, at the dedication, unveiled a plaque. It still is proudly mounted on the wall at the entrance from the lobby in the present sanctuary.

On the 29th of April 1979, the church building was damaged by floodwaters from the nearby waterway which eroded the foundation of the seven year old structure. Building and documents were lost, but not the determination and the spirit of the saints who remained. Temporary accommodation was provided for worship under a wooden structure situated on the property at 109 Windward Road, affectionately called “The Shed.” While our membership significantly declined during this time of hardship, worship and service continued, and the church grew. Some of those who had previously left, returned after a while. Many weddings, funerals, conventions and other activities were held during these years as the Lord Jesus reminded us that we were still blessed in spite of the physical conditions.

Our transient accommodation continued for approximately six years. The rebuilding process began and continued over several years with extraordinary sacrifice again from the saints. This latter edifice, which spans 109-111 Windward Road, was dedicated to the glory of God on the 11th of August 1986.  

The church has been a beacon in the immediate and surrounding communities. Its mission has included a conscious effort to develop the youth and other members of these communities so that they will be empowered educationally, socially, materially, as well as spiritually. It has also moved to focus on evangelism, which is vital to Kingdom building.

With this new thrust in mind, the church embarked on several other projects. These have benefited the members of the assembly and wider community. A Golden Age Home was established in 1998 in honour of two senior members. The home caters for approximately 12 residents and at times provides hot meals for non-resident golden agers within the community. A HEART Skills Training Programme was established in 1999, from which hundreds of students have graduated.

Premises at 3 Homestead Road were purchased to facilitate the erection of a Multi-Purpose Educational Complex (currently under construction) and an expansion to the Basic School. Additionally, the church has been involved with the development and growth of its members through seminars, campaigns, conventions and other developmental sessions. New strides have been made in the areas of counselling, welfare, finance, student outreach, training and evangelism. Our radio programme “Morning Dew” is aired on LOVE FM and the feedback highlights a good public reception and a blessing to many souls.

Our church continually seeks to remain relevant to its members and the community. We now have a total of nine churches comprising the Pentecostal Gospel Temple Family: PGT 111 remains Headquarters, with three located overseas - Pentecostal Gospel Temple Ministries in Margate, Florida; Peniel Pentecostal Gospel Temple in New York; and Apostolic Gospel Temple in Tampa, Florida. The local churches are at Elletson Flats, Australia Road and Hagley Park Road in the Kingston and St. Andrew area, John’s Town in St. Thomas, Border in St. Mary and Stanbury Grove and Gregory Park in St. Catherine. The Lord continues to be faithful in all of these churches.
Pastor Carmen Stewart, as overseer of the work, was installed as Presiding Bishop of the PGT Family of churches in 2001. Having served the Church for 44 years, Bishop Stewart retired from pastoral duties in 2010, and the mantle was passed to Elder Robert A. Stewart.

To accomplish the many and varied objectives of the church, the organizational structure has been revised from time to time. The present structure is supported by the Pervasive Ministries, Social and Administrative and the Christian Growth and Development areas - these areas are supervised by the Pastor and four (4) Pastoral Assistants.

The Pentecostal Gospel Temple, recognizing the need for a facility that could provide access to the World Wide Web in the community, partnered with the Social Development Commission, the Universal Access Fund and the National Commercial Bank to establish a Cyber and Homework Centre. The project commenced in August 2010 and was completed on March 7, 2011.

Continuing our efforts to serve our community, the Pentecostal Gospel Temple, in 2012, established the Excellent Citizens Loving Communities (ECLC) Foundation to assist charitable and community causes in Jamaica, and specifically in Eastern Kingston.  In May 2012, the first project was launched - NVIRO Missions 111 - to raise environmental awareness of the PGT congregants and the members of the surrounding communities.

Other accomplishments include:
·The construction of a Recording Studio
·The development of our website, pentecostalgospeltemple.org, which reaches over 100 countries.
·The development of Pentecostal Gospel Temple 111 Constitution.
·Girls’ and Boys’ Brigade championing several competitions and receiving awards
·Acquisition of property at #5 Homestead Road for expansion.

From the humble beginnings in 1963, PGT has transitioned through several physical structures but has been true to its mandate to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. PGT has come a long way under God's leading as we celebrate 50 years on November 6, 2013.