OGDEN -- Members of the Finley's Temple Church of God in Christ are inviting the community to celebrate their church's 65th anniversary at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7.
The church, which is affiliated with the Church of God in Christ, is at 119 W. 30th St.
"A church determined to stand in the gap in times like these," inspired by New Testament Scripture Matthew 16:18, will be the theme for the event.
With a congregation of fewer than 30, Pastor Henry McAllister said, "We're a big building, a small church. We've got room for improvement."
McAllister said his church operates with the motto: "A good church, becoming better by the power of the Holy Ghost."
The guest speaker for the celebration will be the Rev. Dr. France A. Davis, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City.
The church had a humble beginning as a mission in a one-room building at Sahara Village in Layton, outside of the south gate of Hill Air Force Base.
According to the church's history, it was begun by Elder Ralph R. Girley and Mother Seretha L. Girley, natives of Kansas City, Mo., who came to Ogden in the early 1940s. Elder Girley was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad as a dining car waiter.
The building did not have running water or heat, and members had to bring coal to build a fire whenever they met.
"This did not discourage them because they had a 'fire' that the snow and rain could not put out, they had the 'Holy Ghost fire' burning within," reads the church's history.
The members moved to the USO building on Hill Air Force Base for a time.
In spring 1949, members were able to move to a building at 2621 Lincoln Ave. in Ogden, when the church paid off the balance of a loan on the building and paid back taxes.
In negotiations in early 1966 with the state leaders of the Church of God in Christ to help the members purchase their current building, a former ward house of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the new building also became the jurisdictional headquarters for the church, with each state church contributing toward the upkeep of the building.
The church was renamed Finley's Temple in 1966 in honor of Bishop Finley for his assistance in helping the members afford the building, according to the history.
The history is filled with stories of the members struggling to pay for the building and its operation, often going without heat, and times when leaders contributed personal money to keep the building afloat.
During the 1996 Holy Convocation, McAllister was appointed as pastor.
He now has served for 17 years.
McAllister is also employed full time at Hill Air Force Base as a financial program analyst while he serves as pastor of the church.
"We have many come and go," McAllister said of his fluctuating congregation.
Because Ogden has many members of the military, McAllister said the church members rotate as families come and stay for a handful of years at a time.
"Those who come enjoy the fellowship that we have here one for another," he said.
Regular services at the church currently are at 11:15 a.m. Sundays.
A Bible study is held at 6 p.m. each Tuesday.
McAllister said the Bible study group just finished a study on the names of God is preparing to begin a sessions on anointing oil and the anointing that goes along with the oil.
"We want our people to become better spiritually, better naturally, better emotionally," he said. "Our goal is to minister to the complete person, body, soul and mind."
The pastor said he wants members of his church to be better people because of the power of the Holy Ghost.
"I'm more concerned with them knowing more about Christ than joining our church," he said.
"I am more concerned about people becoming better Christians than becoming better church members."
McAllister has been married to his wife, Daisy, for 34 years.
They are the parents of two daughters, Camille and Dannielle, and the grandparents of two granddaughters, Naveah and Gabriella.
For more information about the church, call