Bishop William Rimson

July 24, 1906 - November 17, 1988

Bishop William Rimson was born Willie Rimson, on July 24, 1906 in Holmes County, Lexington, Mississippi to Rumer and Lina Wright-Rimson. He was christened as a baby by the founder of the Church of God in Christ, Bishop Charles H. Mason. His parents were devout Christians and followed the teachings of Bishop Mason. Willie Rimson was born during a period of high poverty, racism and segregation with limited educational opportunities for African-Americans.

He felt the call of God upon his life at the early age of two and preached to anyone that would listen. That included the family chicken, dogs or old mule. In July of 1916, at the age of ten, his mother passed away. When Bishop Rimson was sixteen he went to the altar for prayer and accepted the Lord as his personal savior during the prayers of Elder Fred Winans, I.W. Winans and Willie Anderson. In 1924 Rumer Rimson and his family migrated from Mississippi to Detroit, Michigan where they joined the Clinton Street Church of God in Christ under the pastorate of Elder I.W. Winans.

Bishop Mason laid hands on Elder Rimson as a teenager and consecrated him as a leader. As a teenager he submitted to God’s will and preached “holiness or hell!” Under the mentorship of Elder Winans, he conducted revivals, baptized thousands, and laid hands on the sick throughout Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. He became pastor of a church in Inkster at the age of 23. In subsequent years he served as a pastor in South Bend, Indiana; Maywood, Illinois and Ann Arbor, Michigan while he continued to conduct revivals.

In July of 1937, Elder Rimson was led of God to move his family to Detroit. The Greater Love Tabernacle journey began with a revival in 1937 conducted by Elder William Rimson, where 41 souls were saved. He rented a house on St. Aubin and began holding services with his children and a Polish family of 10 who lived in the back. The house became too small and a tent was set up at Theodore and Rivard. At the end of the 12-week tent meeting, 125 members were added to the church.

The tent was moved to Kirby, between Russell and Rivard, where 65 souls were saved. Then the church moved to a small hall on Ferry. While the Pastor was away, the enemy came in and scattered the flock and only six members were left. From 1940-43, the membership remained at six members. At this point, Elder Rimson was ready to give up and go back south to pastor; but a Baptist minister asked him to preach on a radio broadcast. From the message, 17 souls were saved.

From January 13, 1943 through January 14, 1944, the church occupied a residential address on Napoleon. While riding in a hearse with John McFall of McFall Funeral Homes, Elder Rimson saw the Old Medbury Theater was for rent, and he immediately contacted the owner and made an appointment and carried him the necessary money to rent the facility. The building was brought three years later for $30,000 and remodeled into a church, complete with pews. The Old Medbury Theater location became affectionately known as the Hastings Street location. Whereas, the tent services represented the birth of Love Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, the Hastings Street location depicts the laying of the spiritual foundation as well as the growth years.

Elder Rimson began his own radio broadcast ministry in 1944. God wrought many miracles at the 5848 Hastings Street Church. So many people were healed of cancer, tumors, heart trouble, high blood pressure and strokes. Crutches and walking sticks lined the walls of the church.

Highlights of the Hastings Street years are as follows:

  • First Deacon Board formed.
  • First Ever-Ready Sisters formed.
  • First Mother’s Board formed.
  • First Usher Board formed.
  • First Superintendent of Sunday School appointed.
  • First Sick Committee formed.
  • First Radio Broadcast started in 1944 on WJBK.
  • The first choir for any of the Churches of God in Christ in the state of Michigan was founded by 1st Lady Violee Rimson in 1945.
  • First Women’s Day for any of the Churches of God in Christ in the state of Michigan was founded by 1st Lady Violee Rimson in 1948.

In November 1953, the church moved to 3500 Elmwood and Preston, the State Temple of the Churches of God in Christ. The building was in very poor condition. Pastor Rimson and some of the brethren remodeled the building and the congregation worshipped there for almost a year.

In 1955, the congregation moved to 7635 Grand River at Allendale. In 1958, the church moved to 4101 Riopelle and Alexandrine, and the church name was changed from Love Tabernacle to Greater Love Tabernacle Church of God in Christ. In late 1958, the church moved to Mt. Elliott and Charlevoix.

In 1959, the church moved to 8225 Grand River and Vicksburg, a movie theater. In 1968, the congregation moved to 9780 Quincy and Boston. Because Greater Love had moved so often, other people referred to the church as the “portable church.” At every location, Pastor Rimson and the brethren remodeled and restored the building to become a beautiful place of worship.

The present move to 17617 Plymouth Road was made on Monday, October 2, 1972. This property was purchased for over $275,000 and the mortgage was paid in full on June 18, 1979.

Love Tabernacle/Greater Love Tabernacle was built on faith, hard work and stumbling blocks that were laid on every road trod.

Bishop William Rimson made his transition from labor to reward on November 17, 1988.