Our Church History
Bethlehem Temple of Kenosha was founded by the late Honorary Bishop Jerry Baldwin Sr. Bishop Baldwin was baptized in Jesus Name and received the gift of the Holy Ghost in 1951 in Detroit Michigan under the leadership of Bishop S.N Hancock; at the Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church. One year later he began his ministerial training and received credentials from the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith Inc. (PCAF). He served faithfully in many capacities under the leadership of Bishop Hancock and Bishop David Collins.
Bishop Jerry Baldwin Sr was born on August 30, 1923 in Birmingham, AL as the 5th child of McKinley and Anner (Williams) Baldwin. His family moved to Harlan, KY when he was a young child where he received his elementary education. At 19 years old he joined the Army Air Corp after the Pearl Harbor attack of WWII.
He was inducted into the Army on March 26th, 1943 at Fort Thomas, KY. He received culinary training and served as Mess Sergeant for the 437th Aviation Squadron. He served in the Battle of Okinawa and received the American Theater ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theater ribbon, Philippine Liberation ribbon, WWII Victory Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and one Bronze Star. In 1964, he was honorably discharged from the military and moved to Detroit, MI. In Detroit he was employed by the Ford Motor Company for 18 years.
On November 10th, 1962, then Elder Baldwin Sr. was united in Holy Matrimony with the Sister Clarice Law. To this union was eventually born (8) children. About 1966 while traveling back to Detroit from Milwaukee, Wi, Elder Baldwin felt the Lord direct his attention to the City of Kenosha. He had never been to Kenosha and did not know anything about the area. But he felt the strong urging of the Lord to start a church in Kenosha.
He prayed on how to tell his wife the leading of the Lord to move to Kenosha. This was especially difficult because he had just purchased a new home for his small family. However, the Lord heard his prayers! A few days after he returned to Detroit, his wife mentioned to him a scripture that she had been pondering. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” Elder Baldwin rejoiced because he understood that the Lord was paving the way with his wife for the move to Kenosha. When he shared the vision of God for their lives, Sister Clarice Baldwin was accepting.
In 1967 Elder Baldwin moved his wife and three young sons to the City of Kenosha – a place where he knew no one. After one year to settle and find work to support his family, Elder Baldwin was able to secure as storefront building at 1213-63rd Street, Kenosha, WI. There was founded the Bethlehem Temple Church with one saint (wife) and three sinners (sons: Jerry, Mark and Darryl). Thru much prayer and perseverance the congregation grew to nine tithe paying members. Through it all, Mother Clarice Baldwin was right with her pastor and husband to win souls for Christ.
1972 was a momentous year for the Bethlehem Temple Church. Elder Baldwin was ordained in 1972 at the PCAF National Convention in Chicago, IL. Also faith and effort had allowed the nine tithe paying congregation to purchase the current location; 2528 Roosevelt Rd. Elder Baldwin worked arduously as a construction laborer in addition to preaching and teaching to support his family as well as the church.
Elder Baldwin was elevated to the office of District Elder in the PCAF over the State of Wisconsin in 1985. In 1990, District Elder Baldwin Sr. was instrumental in the formation of the Wisconsin State Council – 12th Episcopal District (PCAF). After many years of service, District Elder Baldwin was elevated as Honorary Bishop at the 2000 PCAF National Convention.
Under Hon. Bishop Baldwin’s leadership, the growing congregation purchased additional land for expansion and paid off the existing mortgage. It was his desire to have a place where men and women could worship God in spirit and truth. He often remarked “These are God’s folks – we must treat them right”. His consistent message was “If you don’t live right…..To hell you will go!!!! He preached on street corners and pulpits across the United States, the bush of Africa and on the River Jordan. His 35 years of labor yielded a vibrant and anointed congregation.
Sadly, the toil of his labors took a toll on his body. On January 7th, 2001 Bishop Baldwin Sr. rested from his earthly work to wait for the trump of God.