History of the Church
From as early as the year 1907, a period in New York City marked by spiritual unrest, the introduction of the movie theatre, garden parties and much frivolity, there was a remnant of people who sought to both experience and live the life-style of holiness. Being influenced largely by a spiritual movement in Brooklyn, they began to meet independently, with various preachers coming in to minister the Word of God. Growth was slow for this group as there was no defined mission or goal. They simply stated that they were impressed by the Holy Spirit to preserve, live and spread holiness in Queens and Long Island.
The Group found a place on New York Avenue (now Guy R. Brewer) and purchased it as a permanent place of worship. They called themselves The Methodist Protestant Movement. Their services were simple, enthusiastic, and biblically sound. An outstanding leader and Superintendent of these meetings was the Rev. Isaac Remsen, from Jamaica, with the Rev. George Scheveare as his able assistant. Many others came along to help this small body of believers. Rev. Maylow, Rev. Gordon, Rev. Bolton, Rev. Tuttle and Rev. Brower all served as pastors of the Methodist Protestant Movement.
Between the years 1914 and 1918, Sister Sarah E. Mount became the pastor of the Methodist Protestant Movement and began to engage Christian workers from the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene in Brooklyn, There was great support from this Brooklyn church and the fellowship which developed influenced this church in Queens to consider becoming a part of the: Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. In March, 1918, the Rev. Paul Hill, District Superintendent of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene in New York, organized the Springfield Gardens Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene with fourteen charter members. The congregation voted to have the Rev. George Howard Rowe as their first pastor. They also voted to pay him a salary of $20.00 per week. The first official board consisted of the following persons: Mrs. Sarah Mount, Mrs. Nostrand, Mrs. Remsen, Mrs. H. Gray, Bro. Nostrand, Bro. Tiller (the treasurer “ who remained treasurer until 1936), and Sis. Randolph, the secretary. The church was officially incorporated in November, 1919. The foreign and Missions board was organized on May 6, 1919.
For a while the building on New York Avenue remained the property of the Methodist Protestant Movement because the members wanted to carry out much needed repairs and install electricity in it before turning the deed over to the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene.
The influence of worldly standards, especially emphasized in the loosening of standards in dress and personal behavior, forced the church to be strict in their method of taking in members. This resulted in very slow growth.
From its earliest inception, the church's main thrust was Evangelism. Each year the church engaged herself in four weeks of Summer Tent Crusades and two weeks of Revival services. The winter Revival would be held in February to end with an all-day service on Washington's Birthday. These were glorious meetings punctuated with free demonstrations in the Holy Ghost. But as was said before, these did not result in many joining the church.
By the year 1926, the church had already had three more pastors: Rev. Harry M. Moore, Rev. T. G. Gray and Rev. William J. Bennett. Rev. Hervey Brown was now the pastor. The church was undergoing financial struggles. Such struggles forced them to decide to sell the existing church and order to clear their debts. It was entered in the minutes of the church board on November 29, 1929 that the church sells the sanctuary for $7,000.00 and the parsonage for $6,000.00. Selling these properties proved more difficult than they expected, but, finally, in November, 1930, both buildings on New York Avenue were sold for approximately $10,000.00 and new property was quickly acquired on Farmers Avenue (now Farmers Boulevard). At this time, the new pastor was Rev. William Stringham, who served the church for fifteen years. His outstanding achievement and a memorial to his ministry is this present building in which we now worship. This new building was completed in 1933 and dedicated in 1934. From here on, the church reflected slow but steady growth.
From the early 1950's until this very present time, the general area known as Springfield Gardens and also its surrounding environs began to experience significant demographic changes. Springfield Gardens was known to be a predominantly white area, but from the time mentioned, more African-Americans and West Indians began to settle in this very peaceful and quiet neighborhood. Being greatly influenced by the generated business of Kennedy International Airport, shopping malls and other small businesses coming into the area, this became a very attractive place to live. New schools and places of worship soon began to fill the area.
This had a very adverse influence on the Springfield Gardens Church of the Nazarene. The all-white congregation dwindled down to a very low attendance. Only one white brother remained. He determined not to move with the others, but rather he would stay and help to keep the doors of this church open, no matter what the cost. A few African Americans also joined the church around this time. It is recorded in the minutes that the church had an out-station ministry to the blacks of the community, but not much has been recorded about this ministry and not much has been mentioned about the blacks being incorporated into the fellowship of the church.
By the year 1960, the New York District (now called Metro New York District) felt that it would be advantageous to sell the existing property and to pay off all existing debts. Those who remained as members would be incorporated within the fellowship of neighboring Nazarene congregations. Among this small congregation were: Bro. Raymond Deitel, Sis. Sarah Gerst and Sis. Lucille Thompson, who withstood such actions. They pledged to keep the ministry here going at all cost, and even sometimes without a pastor. They kept the church open, paid the bills and moved things along.
By the 1970's, the ministry began to flourish again. Pastors worked hard and kept holiness witness alive. All departments functioned. Young people went on to pursue their higher education at Eastern Nazarene College, a few have become pastors, others have found gainful employment in prominent places. Yes, the church has seen much fruit from her labors.
During all these years, other pastors who have followed in the service of the Church were: Rev. S. Reynolds Mayberry, Rev. Charles K. Heisel, Rev. Alfred Mason, Rev. Fred Hughes, Rev. Louis Gardenhire, Rev. Claude Edun, Rev. Samuel A. Wilson, who served the church for fourteen years, during which time the church was brought to its best financial standing, with all departments functioning and all bills paid. Rev. Rudyard Morgan served as Assistant Pastor to Rev. Wilson for six years and Rev. Paul E. Williams served the church for eight years until his death on February 26, 2006. It was during this time that the attendance grew so much that it was decided to switch to two morning services, the need for which is still present at this time.
Shortly after 1983, when Rev. Samuel Wilson began his ministry here, he became burdened for the vast population of Haitians living in the area who were unchurched. There were a few who had become members of the church, but who would prefer to worship with their own people in their own language. With the help of some Haitian brethren from Brooklyn, he started an outstation mission that would meet in the church on Sunday afternoons to worship and have Sunday School. The numbers grew, and soon it became necessary to assign workers for this fast growing group of people. They grew so fast, that at times the afternoon attendance of this new Haitian congregation was as large as the sponsoring church congregation.
On September 27, 1989, the Springfield Gardens Holiness (Haitian) Church of the Nazarene was organized with the Rev. Rolin J. Solage as the pastor. They remained in the church at Springfield Gardens for eleven years. Now they have moved their striving congregation to Elmont, Long Island.
After the death of Pastor Paul E. Williams in February 2006, and in October of the same year, Rev. Lenroy C. S. Pascall was installed as the new pastor.
Rev. Pascall's vision for the ministry brought about significant changes in the physical appearance of the church as well as development of the spiritual growth of its members. The church's desire to impact the overall Jamaica Queens Community, coupled with the church's expanding congregation has been a factor in Springfield Garden's current mission of locating a larger building.
God is taking us to new heights with expanded ministries in prayer, Bible study, worship, evangelism, youth outreach, marriage enrichment, praise dance, communications and technology. We thank God for the significant growth in membership and a new zeal to reach the lost.
Armed with our Vision Statement to strive under God to become Evangelists to His world, Worshippers of His grace, Members of His kingdom, Developers in His faith and Servants in His service, we forge ahead determined to do His will.
To God be the glory! Great things He has done.
Leviticus 23:20 (NKJ)
'The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits I as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
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