Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Greater St. Stephens Destroyed By Fire
After recovering from the brutal and disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the popular New Orleans church - once pastored by the renowned teleevangelist Bishop Paul S. Morton - experienced yet another tumultuous downfall with the Monday predawn three-alarm fire leaving the 2,000-seat church in ruins.
Greater St. Stephens Full Gospel Baptist Church was still trying to bounce back from the major blow of Hurricane Katrina three years ago; which swallowed up their mega-church 20,000-membership status to 5,000 members. With the Eastern church location still being closed due to the water damage, Senior Pastor Debra Morton, who now pastors the church, continued to walk the church through their next phase of rebuilding and restoration. Bishop Paul S. Morton, the church's former pastor, handed the New Orleans church to his wife so that he could focus more on the satellite church he established in Atlanta.
According to Bishop Paul S. Morton, he has stated that investigators suspected the fire starting in the choir loft behind the church's pulpit. Both pastors believe that the church will bounce back and better than ever.
Temporary Sunday morning services will be held at Congregation Temple Sinai, located next to Loyola University at 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.
In a press statement released on July 20, Rabbi Edward Cohn said, “In the wake of the devastating fire which destroyed the sanctuary of one of New Orleans’ religious landmarks, an opportunity for interfaith love and cooperation was presented to our historic congregation. Bruce Nolan, religion reporter from the Times Picayune put us in touch with Greater St. Stephen leadership and we offered a setting for their Sunday services for at least a month. Temple Sinai is a house of prayer for all people and all who enter our doors in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood are always welcome and that includes the members of Greater St. Stephen Ministries.”
Bishop Paul S. Morton is a renowned gospel artist, a five-time Stellar Award winner and national bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. Known for big hits including "Let It Rain, "Bow Down And Worship Him," and "Your Tears," Morton has recorded for a number of gospel labels including GospoCentric, Blackberry and currently records on the Light Records label.