Our Story

Our Founder
Bishop Joseph D. Clemmons, Sr., DMin.
Lady Fran Collier-Clemmons

Miracle Temple Church of God in Christ (COGIC) was established and incorporated on June 25, 1973, by Bishop Joseph D. Clemmons, Sr., along with sixty charter members. Bishop Clemmons arrived in the Norwalk area in 1960 at the direction of the late Bishop Charles H. Brewer, Sr. Bishop Brewer appointed the then Rev. Clemmons to serve as the pastor of the Holy Temple COGIC in Norwalk and a later court battle compelled Bishop Clemmons to establish Miracle Temple.

Born out of the congregation’s vision to make disciples of all people, reach the Norwalk community, and minister to the needs of the whole person, the South Norwalk Social Service Center (SNSSC) was established. SNSSC’s vision was to provide a full range of services, including but not limited to daycare, on-call crisis aid counseling, multicultural programs, senior citizen programs, post-prison support, and youth enrichment programs.

In those early days of the church’s existence, Miracle Temple held its services at the Rowayton United Church of Christ, whose pastor at the time was Rev. Donald Emig, South Norwalk Congregational Church, and the First Congregational Church on the Green. In 1973, Trinity Episcopal Church invited Bishop Clemmons and Miracle Temple to hold services in its Parish Hall. As Bishop Clemmons was completing his Doctor of Ministry degree at Colgate Rochester College, a devastating fire destroyed Trinity Episcopal Church on Sunday, July 2, 1974. 

The late Rev. Henry Yordon, who was the pastor of the First Congregational Church on the Green, a mentor to Bishop Clemmons, and a local civil rights advocate, encouraged Rev. Clemmons to refrain from discontinuing his doctoral studies and hold his services at the Church on the Green until he was able to secure a permanent location. On May 13, 1975, Miracle Temple purchased the former Trinity Episcopal Church, its current house of worship at 2 Trinity Place.

On May 17, 1976, Miracle Temple became affiliated with the United Church of Christ, making it dually affiliated. The United Church of Christ assisted the congregation in financing the mortgage and rebuilding the facility. The building was refurbished in December 1978, thus allowing the congregation to occupy the facilities’ lower level. In 1979, Miracle Temple completed renovations and reconstruction in the main sanctuary. 

After forty years of pastoring, Bishop Clemmons retired. On September 7, 2013, Dr. Jacob Kelly was selected and appointed to serve as the second pastor of Miracle Temple by Bishop Hester Bordeaux, the Prelate of Connecticut Second Jurisdiction COGIC, until his pastoral reassignment to Kelly Temple COGIC in Harlem, NY, in 2020. After an extended search process and earnest prayer, Dr. Devale Hodge of Buffalo, New York, was selected in February 2021 to serve as Miracle Temple’s third Pastor. Dr. Hodge was officially installed as the pastor on Saturday, May 22, 2021, by Bishop James Pullings, the prelate of Eastern New York First Jurisdiction COGIC.

Under the visionary leadership of Dr. Hodge, Miracle Temple continues to be a growing and vibrant congregation with a vision to expand its ministries and advance God’s kingdom agenda. Among several pastoral and administrative improvements, on June 2, 2023, Trinity Place was honorarily named Bishop Joseph D. Clemmons, Sr. Place, recognizing our founder’s incredible contribution to the Norwalk community. The story of Miracle Temple continues to unfold as God reminds the church of its mission to love God, love people, and make disciples. The best is yet to come!