After accepting holiness at McDonoghville COGIC on the 3rd Sunday in November 1945 and soon after receiving the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, Minister J. A. Thompson followed the leading of the Lord and embarked on the evangelist field. His faithful and supportive wife, Sister Carrie Brown Thompson accompanied her husband singing and playing the piano for his revivals.
While in Crowley, Louisiana in preparation to conduct revivals in Texas, Minister Thompson was called to report to the 1950 State Convocation in Oakdale, Louisiana, presided by Bishop S. Lazard. After being examined by the Elders, Minister Thompson was ordained an Elder. Following his ordination, Elder and Sis. Thompson went to Dallas, Texas to conduct revivals in preparation to become a worldwide evangelist team.
While in Texas, God spoke to Elder Thompson in a vision to return to Gretna and locate the area where a specific shot-gun house and barbershop were located. Without hesitation, Elder and Sister Thompson returned to Gretna with just enough gas to drive into their driveway. After securing employment at a local chemical plant, it took Elder and Sister Thompson two days of crisscrossing the neighborhoods of Gretna before finding the exact spot God showed him in the vision. The Lord favored Elder and Sister Thompson and worked on their behalf to change the heart of the property owner to allow a tent on their property. The brothers from McDonoghville COGIC helped erect the tent with Mrs. Gamble working alongside Elder Thompson to install wood flooring. Weyer Street COGIC was planted.
Anointed to sing and play the piano, many were drawn to the tent by the voice of Sister Thompson. With his fiery preaching and the gift of healing, the tent congregation grew. When a building became available, Elder and Sister Thompson purchased it. On the day the building was purchased, the tent was accidently set on fire and destroyed including the piano Sister Thompson took from their home. This building was renovated and the small congregation of Weyer Street Church of God in Christ grew.
God showered His blessing on Weyer Street COGIC. The congregation continued to grow requiring the Church edifice to be enlarged. It was during this tenure that Elder J. A. Thompson gave Missionary Thompson the privilege to organize the different auxiliaries in the church. Her work speaks for itself in that the auxiliaries are still viable.
When the church property could not accommodate the growing congregation, Elder Thompson began exploring alternatives for a new church. The Lord used Mother Gladys Woods to bring a church property on Cook Street in Gretna to the attention of Elder Thompson. All the members, especially Sister Ethel Henderson, Sister Corrine Griffin and Sister Laura Mitchell, worked and saved the finances for the new church. Mother Annie Thompson, who was still a member of McDonoghville COGIC greatly assisted this fund drive.
The Cook Street property was purchased and after a few years, it too became too small for the growing congregation. It was during this time that the Lord drew Brother Keith Thornton to holiness. After the members purchased additional property to expand the church…God had another plan.
Through another vision while attending the Holy Convocation in Memphis, TN God directed Supt. J. A. Thompson to the Wrangler Ranch in Gretna because they would soon be out of business. With unwavering faith in God, Supt. Thompson kept the congregation motivated to not give up concerning the dream to move Thompson Temple COGIC to Whitney Avenue. On Sunday, August 31, 1986 Thompson Temple COGIC located at 1515 Whitney Avenue in Gretna was dedicated. Bishop Thompson was a visionary, and purchased “The Eatery” for our expansion. It was his dream that we would purchase the Shape Spa next to our church. However, God in His infinite wisdom called Bishop Thompson home Monday, January 3, 2005.
It was during this time that Elder Keith Thornton was raised up to become the Pastor of Thompson Temple. Elder Thornton, as the shepherd of this flock, led the renovation of the church after the damage from Hurricane Katrina. Under Elder Thornton and with the assistance and support of the congregation, the J.A. Thompson Multi-Purpose Center, formally known as the Eatery, was paid in full and beautifully remodeled, fully functional and has much success. Pastor Thornton and the congregation also purchased The Shape Spa which is right next door to the church and it is currently being renovated as a community center. The church has since grown and has received a facelift inside and out. The church is continuing to go higher in the Lord! Take any given Sunday and stop by Thompson Temple, and you are sure to be blessed through the Sunday School, the music ministry, and most importantly the Word of God which is preached by an anointed man after God’s own heart!
Following the untimely demise of Bishop Thompson, General Board Member and Bishop Roy L.H. Winbush took charge as Interim Pastor of Thompson Temple. Under his leadership, Elder Thornton, one of Bishop Thompson’s sons, was chosen to be Elder-in-charge. During this time Hurricane Katrina plagued the gulf coast region and many of the saints were displaced due to the disaster. As a result of his work, Elder Thornton had to stay in the city. While in the city, Thornton continuously checked on the church building to assess the damage that had been done. He also called many of the members, whose phone numbers he had, to check on them. As the saints began to return to the city, the Thompson Temple edifice was deemed unusable due to the damage. Thornton called the saints together, however, to have church at Power & Deliverance COGIC until the church was ready. Within 3 months of returning to the city, Elder Thornton along with the deacons and brothers had the church edifice in mint condition and ready for use.
The next month on February 3, 2006, Elder Thornton was elevated to the office of Pastor of Thompson Temple COGIC by the late Bishop George H. Albert with recommendation from Bishop Roy L. H. Winbush. With a strong conviction to holiness and sanctification, Elder Thornton served in many capacities including YPWW President, Sunday School Teacher, Master of Service in both local and district positions. He now serves as the Jurisdictional Missions President, Chairman of the J.A. Thompson Memorial District, and Pastor of Thompson Temple Church of God in Christ. Elder Thornton
is a humble servant of God, and the Lord has exalted him for this purpose, to pick up the mantel and continue to lead God’s people. Elder Thornton is a visionary; he has completed Bishop Thompson’s vision of the multipurpose center
and now through his overseeing, he, along with the saints, purchased the building next to the church. When completed, the building will be the Thompson Temple Community Center to serve and help the surrounding communities.