The Church History

The History
of
Greater Open Door Church of God In Christ

June 15, 1980 Elder Garon Harden, Sr. and Sis. Betty Harden founded Open Door Church of God In Christ, but later added ‘Greater’, with approximately 30 members on June 15, 1980 at 2053 Orange Avenue, Long Beach, CA., 90806.  The annual income at that time was approximately $33, 000.00.  Even though many of our members have moved on since June 1980, our membership has experienced an average growth of 10% each month and a doubling of our annual income.From the beginning, many of our members assumed multiple roles in the functioning of the church, but as our membership grew we were blessed to receive many talented individuals who heeded the call to add their skills to the operations of the church.  Our membership was mainly comprised of 18 to 40 year olds, with about 3% in the 40 to 50 age group and 5% in 50 to 65 age group.  Many youths were delivered from drugs, alcohol, etc. and became permanent and productive members of the church and this city.In 1984, Greater Open Door executed a fundraiser to the extent of $25,000.00 to completely remodel the Sanctuary as well as the rear building.  The appointment of our first assistant pastor, Minister Henry Edom.  By 1985, we had 6 ministers, 14 missionaries, 13 deacons, a nurses unit, usher board, youth choir, Men’s, Women’s and Youth Day Programs.  Bro. Jimmie Neville was appointed Comptroller of the church, and we had 4 people on staff, 2 corresponding secretaries, Sis. Kathy Carmichael and Sis. April Neville; 2 financial secretaries, Missy. Annie Carmichael and Sis. Betty Tramble.  Blessings continued to be showered upon Greater Open Door.  During 1985, Greater Open Door drew up plans to expand the church.  The City Planning Board denied these plans due to lack of adequate parking.  Deacon George McGinest, at no cost to the church, financed the remodeling of the interior of the upstairs portion of the rear building and the interior of the church as well as replacing the old roof.  Bro. Charles Hall assisted in these repairs along with licensed contractors. Many noted Revivalists and Evangelist, including National Evangelist, Madame Emily Bram Bibby, also graced Greater Open Door.

January 12, 1986, our Christian Education Center, located in the upstairs portion of the rear building was officially opened.  75 children were moved out of the Sanctuary into the Christian Education Center and miraculously, for every seat thusly vacated, an adult was immediately seated there.  After spending $1500.00 on new plans, the City Planning Board once again denied our petition, again citing a lack of parking.  We did not lose sight of the vision.

In June 1987, we were blessed to sponsor from our membership and other well wisher a $500.00 a plate banquet.  We grossed $51,000.00 with expenses of $7,000.00, thus netting $44,000.00.  Pastor Harden would always tell us, “if you don’t come early to church you wont get a seat.”  We were busting at the seams and God gave Pastor Harden the vision to move to a larger edifice.

August 28, 1988

God truly worked a miracle for Pastor Garon Harden and Sis. Betty Harden and the Greater Open Door Church Family.  Our member, Sis. Lucille Hall heard about a church being available for sale.  Pastor Harden and trustee board investigated and found the church was available and began negotiations.  The sale of the church at 21st and Orange was successful and God blessed us to caravan on August 28, 1988 with Pastor and Wife and their children (Garon Jr., Sharon. Jacquelyn and Fred), complete membership along with Elder Joe Ealy,.who’s now our Jurisdictional Bishop Prelate.  The neighborhood knew somebody new was moving in. 

We did not hold back.  The horns on each car were blasting like they used to do when someone got married. Oh! What a glorious day that was to see the whole church membership marching down the sidewalk singing, “We Come This Far By Faith. …” Just before we entered the sanctuary, Pastor Harden cut the ribbon and we all marched into our new, bigger and beautiful edifice at 132 East Artesia Blvd., located in the North Long Beach area.  

In 1989, GOD membership grew to the capacity where the current edifice is no longer able to contain the weekly and especially on Sunday services.  With growth in members, new appointments were needed and God lead Pastor Harden to appoint Sis. Mary (Bone) Brown Head Financial Secretary and Missy. Annie Carmichael as Assistant, Sis. Kathy Magee as Pastor’s Secretary, Missy. Victoria Moore as Church Purchaser and counselor. 

In 2000, Sis. Kimberly Harden began in Greater Open Door ministry as the church custodian.  She later was appointed Coordinator for New Members Services as well as appointed Church Administrator and Pastor Harden’s personal secretary.  A young woman who truly loves the Lord, Greater Open Door members and people in general.  Now, Evangelist Kimberly Harden has been appointed over the Aspiring Missionaries, to her credit, approximately 7-Aspiring Missionary’s received their Evangelist Missionary License as she received direction from God and also Y.W.C.C. President.  Her husband, Patrick Harden, a very faithful worker to the church and armor bearer to his father and mother, Pastor and First Lady Harden.  GOD lead Pastor to appoint him over the Youth Department which he’s yet working with our young people because he’s a kid at heart and our children really listen to him.  He’s a great role model.

March 4, 2001

Pastor Harden implemented new services at 8:00 am, 9:45 am (Sunday School), 11:00 am, and 6:30 pm every Sunday.  All services are full to the building capacity.  Dr. Garon and Dr. Betty Harden both have made it their commitment to educate themselves in order to better lead us the flock. We the members were encouraged to take Evangelism and Discipleship classes, preparing us for outreach ministry. We are soul winners for Christ.  What God honors most is our round the clock prayer at our church from Assistant Pastor Elder Charles Williams, Pastor and Sis. Harden, Ministers, Missionary’s, deacons and lay members.

God has blessed Greater Open Door with God fearing, unselfish, loving, giving, longsuffering, prayer warriors, Bible believing woman and man of God.  For this reason, God continues to elevate them to higher heights and deeper depths in him.  We the members are very proud of all their accomplishments and deserving accolades:  Dr.Garon Harden appointment as the Superintendent of the Greater Open Door District; to his participation on the State level, to his newest appointment to the office of Regional Superintendent of the Greater West Los Angeles Region, bestowed on him Sunday, July 18, 2010 at the Gospel Light COGIC in Santa Ana, CA. and our First Lady Betty Harden who works closely with our State Mother Barbara McCoo Lewis is holding her own as Chairperson of District Superintendent’s Wives and over GOD’s Women Department as President.  A strong woman in the Lord and is an anointed speaker. Lady Harden remains always beside and working closely with her husband, Dr. Garon Harden.

On August 29, 2010, Dr. Garon, Dr. Betty Harden and the entire Greater Open Door COGIC Family celebrated our 30 Year Church Anniversary.  Theme: “Celebrating The Past, Embracing The Present, Anticipating A Glorious Future.”

2011 – 2012 For the  U.S. economy was a year of slow growth and double-dip in recession.  Although we the church depend on God our maker, we must acknowledge our church’s dilemma of the storm’s we faced with 
relentless attacks that resulted in us having to move from our facility.  Nevertheless, with God’s help, we prevailed and we are victorious.

March 17, 2013

Greater Open Door Church of God in Christ has taken a new direction and a new beginning.  We have moved into 

a  new edifice at 135 W. Victoria Street, Long Beach, CA. 90805, yet in the North Long Beach area.

We are Greater Open Door COGIC Worldwide Ministry.  Our first service began Sunday, March 17, 2013 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

March 31, 2013, we had Good Friday Service and God met us with His out pouring Spirit.  Dr. Harden preached until the power of the Lord came down.

In this new millennium you never need to feel alone, unloved or unwanted.  For those who are convalescent, unable to attend their own churches, GOD is worldwide internet streaming live during Thursday night Bible Study and Sunday (8:00 am, 11:30 am and 6:30 pm) services, in Los Angeles Time Zone; Radio Broadcast on KTYM 1460 weekly 8:45 am to 9:00 am (PST) Los Angeles Time Zone.

June 15, 2014

Marks our 34th Church Anniversary which is also Father’s Day.

REFLECTION of Minister’s and Elders Birth in this Ministry:

Minister Anthony Aiken, Dr. Stephon Brown, Minister Oscar Cade, Minister Clark, Minister Cane, Minister Franklin Dean, Minister Cedric Dockery, Elder Henry Edom, Minister Eton, Minister Ervin James Fletcher, Elder William Griffin, Minister Ukmit Hakim, Minister Barry Hankins, Minister Frederick Harden, Elder Patrick Harden, Minister Walker Irving, Minister William Joiner, Minister Johnson King, Minister Lester, Sr., Minister Lester, Jr., Minister Reginald Lewis, Minister Joseph Mack, Elder William Martinez, Minister Timothy Peoples, Elder Raymond Porter, Elder Herbert Rice, Minister Rick Sims, Elder Jonathan Thompson, Minister Maurice Turner, Minister Edwin Van, Minister Eric Vallin, Minister Robert Warren, Minister Brian West, Minister Calvin Williams, Minister Harvey Williams, Minister Larry Williams, Minister Harold Witherspoon.(37)

REFLECTION of Evangelist Missionary’s Birth in this Ministry:

Sherrie Berkley, Fay Bennett,  Deborah Blackmon, Mary Brown, Annie Carmichael, Faye Dalton, Dorothy Davis, Gloria Harper-Edom, Joyce George, Lillie Gillard, Martha Hakim, Betty J. Harden, Kimberly Harden, Hattie Hollins, Janice Hollins, Johnnie Howard, Jacqueline Hubbard, Demetria Jones, Monica Malone, Chavella Martin, Freddie McGinest, Victoria Moore, Stephanie Nutall, Anthaneria Peoples, Sandra Phillips, Betty Robbins, Elaine Williams, Ruth Williams, Doris Wright. (29)

2015 Year REFLECTIONS:

We are celebrating 35 Years of Ministry, June 21, 2015 which is also Father’s Day.  We are praising God for every Open Door member as well as those who have been here from beginning to now.  We are also praising God for our Pastor Garon and First Lady Harden for holding on to God’s unchanging hand and never letting go. Theme: “Reflecting on the Past, Pressing Forward with Great Anticipation.”

God has continued to pour out his spirit upon us.  We declare and decree our time at this location, Pastor Harden has prophesied that we will be at this location no longer than 4 years where we will be in our very own facility.  We are preparing for our Exodus.  

May God continue to bless Greater Open Door COGIC Worldwide Ministry for another thirty (30+) years.