Pastor Andrew W. Ridley
Founder of Greater Ridley Temple COGIC
In early 1946, Andrew W. Ridley and his wife Annie Mae Ridley moved from Miami to Delray Beach in the Atlantic Park Gardens Division.
Andrew Ridley had a divine inspiration to come to Delray Beach and establish a place of worship in the African American Community. His vision was to build a church, a place of refuge for the residence of the community in their time of need.
The principles and philosophies of the Pentecostal Movement during that era of an oppressed segregated south, was to bring not only to a place of worship, but also hope and stability to the community.
Today those founding principles and philosophies still remain along with providing an understanding and developing an appreciation for the African American Pentecostal worship experience.
The name of the organization was chosen in honor of the founders Elder Andrew Ridley and his wife who were respected leaders in the community. The church is located in the heart of the African American community, and is playing a fundamental role in the rebirth and revitalization of the surrounding communities including providing cultural awareness and a better appreciation for the importance of preserving historical structures which are directly linked to the rich heritage.
The area during the 1940’s was of a struggling community and church was being held in a small house next door to where the sanctuary stands today. As the people came Andrew Ridley organized the church and began to have services in that small house.
As the church membership grew Andrew Ridley and the men of the church planned a church house (which it was called in that day) and acquired the necessary permit in 1948 from the City of Delray Beach to get started in building the sanctuary. The men of the church gathered after work in the evening to build the church. The original church was the lower level for about 5 or 6 years.
The members decided to add a second level to the church in which the owner wanted to develop and start a daycare for the community which was well needed at that time. They worked tirelessly at night in order to complete the sanctuary upstairs. The sanctuary was completed in the year of our Lord 1956 and services are still being held upstairs to this day.
In 1989 under the leadership of Elder Thomas Moore the sanctuary was renovated to include new paneling, extension of the pulpit, and Pulpit furniture, new lighting, and carpeting, pews in the choir stand, and stained glass windows that enhanced the church.