The Lord Jesus Christ has blessed the Temple Family with two amazing Pastors who serve as shepherds of our souls. We thank the Lord for Apostle Dr. Gentle L. Groover Sr. and Bishop Kenneth Groover.
The Man with the Caleb Spirit
Lord has given Bishop Groover the vision to lead the people of God to new levels in Christ. He has a “gentle” spirit and a special gift of speech that allows him to transfer his positive sense of direction to both young and old. He uses his magnetic personality and mild demeanor to reach young people and serves as a drawing agent to Jesus Christ.
Our humble shepherd was born to the late Mr. Richard & Mrs. Hattie Groover. He is the youngest of his siblings. Gentle Groover’s Christian journey began as a faithful steward in the Methodist Church. He was convicted by the sanctified lifestyle of his sister, Mother Evelyn Hadley, and others. He ascertained that if he would ever make it to Heaven, he had to experience what they had. In 1961, he was filled with the precious gift of the Holy Ghost and was baptized in water in Jesus Name.
He accepted the Lord’s call on his life and began his spiritual journey. In 1962, he was called into the Ministry and began his Divinity Studies at the University of Alabama. In 1963, Minister Groover was sent to establish a church in Jacksonville, FL (approximately 120 miles away) which stemmed from the relentless efforts of his sister, Mother Catherine McNair, a praying woman of God who opened her home for prayer. Bishop Henry Ross, the State Bishop of Florida, ordained Minister Groover an Elder in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ in 1965. In 1967, Elder Groover was appointed as the District Elder of the Northern District of Florida.
In October 1976, District Elder Groover and the Church Congregation suffered a great loss when the Lord called his dear wife and Church Mother, Vivian Lucille Groover, from labor to reward. Although he was in great pain, he remained faithful to the Kingdom Work. Pastor Groover would later marry his present wife, Shelly Rose McGee Groover and gain three additional sons.
In 1983 he was consecrated Bishop and appointed to serve as Diocesan Bishop for the North Florida Mississippi Diocese.
During the 1984 International Convocation, Bishop Groover was elected as an Apostle, the governing body of the International Organization working closely with Chief Apostle, Bishop William L. Bonner.
Apostle Groover served along with Apostle Wilbur Jones as Co-Presider of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ from August 1994 to August 1995. During the 1995 General Convocation of the Church Body, Apostle Groover was elected as the new Presider of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ with responsibility over 600 churches across the United States in in 22 foreign countries. After serving the maximum 2 consecutive terms, Chief Apostle William L. Bonner appointed Apostle Groover as his Executive Assistant.
Dr. Groover’s Apostolic history began many years before his elevation to lead the international organization. He has pastored the Greater Refuge Temple in Jacksonville, Florida since its inception in the early 60s. The church has served as a beacon to thousands who have passed through its portals. Since the passing of his friend and mentor, Apostle Henry Ross in 1998, He also pastors the Greater Refuge Temple in Lakeland, Florida. Both are thriving congregations with state of the art facilities.
He has worked diligently with his friend, Apostle Dr. Matthew Norwood in the Foreign Field to help support churches and schools in Monrovia, Liberia; Ghana, West Africa; Hyderabad, India and other countries around the world. He has also sponsored Missionary trips to supply aid to many parts of the globe.
Apostle Groover has crossed denominational lines to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has also shared the Gospel Message by way of radio and television. Since 2000, his television ministry has blessed countless numbers. As a result, many local pastors refer to him as “the Preacher’s Preacher.” We are certain the number of souls touched by his “Message of Hope and Deliverance” will not be known until we get to glory.
His ministry of “helps” and “compassion” is apparent in his countless visits to the hospitals to offer prayer for parishioners their families, and thousands who were in need of ministerial care. He has opened his home to those who were less fortunate providing shelter for entire families for extended periods. He is a strong proponent of pre-nuptial counseling as well as couples counseling after marriage and is credited with keeping many homes intact.
In the community, Apostle Groover has served on various governing boards to help facilitate safer environments and better living conditions. Many lives have been changed and influenced by his dynamic preaching, teaching, wise counsel, exemplary lifestyle and integral character.
Bishop Groover was recognized by Who’s Who in the Community and is listed in the directory. He is also celebrated as Pastor of the Month in numerous magazines and in 2021, was honored as an Apostolic Father at the Apostolics United Conference.
In 2018 he penned, “The Journey To All Things”, a book aimed at helping every reader reach their spiritual acme and receive all that God has for them.
Apostle Groover’s love for the Lord is expressed in his love for people and for God’s Church. The central tenet of his ministry revolves around his commitment to prayer.
A man of humility and integrity Dr. Groover has spent over 58 years in ministry and lives his life to contribute to the betterment of others. Earlier this year his generosity funded the Gentle & Vivian Endowment for Children’s Health which aided in the establishment of the Ribault High School Medical Clinic which provides much needed medical care to a community in which only 4% of children have health insurance. His numerous years of experience, contributions, and philanthropy garnered him an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from St. Thomas College.