New Jersey Church Dedication
A weekend of special meetings was held April 21-23 in Wharton, New Jersey, centering around the dedication of a new Apostolic Faith Church in that location. The schedule included evangelistic services on Friday and Sunday evenings, a morning devotional service and evening concert on Saturday, and the dedication ceremony on Sunday morning.
The Saturday evening concert, led by music director Daniel Tetteh, was well presented with participation from several of our churches in the area. It opened with the orchestra playing a rousing “Star Spangled Banner” and the choir singing “The Heavens Are Telling.” Throughout the evening, several more choirs were heard including a youth choir which sang “Amen,” a men’s choir singing “When We All Get Together with the Lord,” and a women’s choir singing “Jesus Is Coming.” There was also a vocal solo of “Allelujah,” and a mixed quartet sang “Oh, Freedom.” In addition to the choir and orchestra numbers, an instrumental trio played a beautiful “Four Waltzes.” The evening concluded with the adult choir singing the inspirational “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Sunday’s dedication was attended by nearly two hundred, with representation from our churches in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania as well as the headquarters in Portland, Oregon. The sanctuary comfortably holds about seventy-five, so the overflow audience met downstairs to watch the service on screens. The event was also broadcast live online.
The service began with the orchestra playing “Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in this Place.” The pastor, Reverend James Timbilla, welcomed everyone, and the service proceeded with a children’s program and the opening prayer. The congregation was blessed by several music specials throughout, one of which was a flute solo of “He Is Exalted” with “Great Is the Lord.” Reverend Darrel Lee, Superintendent General of the Apostolic Faith organization, and his wife, Debbie, were present for the occasion, and he gave the message. Following this, the dedicatory prayer was offered by Reverend Eugene Segres Jr., District Superintendent of Eastern and Southern United States, and then the choir closed with “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”
To commemorate the event, a program was distributed containing a history of the Wharton work which originated in Teaneck, New Jersey, in 2006. Members of the organization who resided in and around Teaneck and also Yonkers, New York, were worshiping at our Brooklyn and Hempstead, New York, churches. Due to the long commute, which was made more challenging by heavy traffic and hazardous weather conditions in the winter, they decided to meet locally for mid-week prayer meetings. The first was held on Wednesday, June 14, 2006, in the residence of Emmanuel Anim-Mperey, with twelve people in attendance.
The prayer meetings continued for three years with Reverend Godson Tetteh leading, and the group’s number grew to nineteen. The group sought permission to hold regular services, and after discussion between the Portland headquarters, the district superintendent, and the Hempstead pastor, this was granted. Reverend Tetteh had newly relocated to Ghana, so Reverend Timbilla was appointed to lead, and the first Sunday morning service was held on August 20, 2010.
Over the next six years, the group expanded their outreach by making senior home visits in Teaneck and the nearby town of Hackensack, holding annual special meetings, and providing an annual revival music concert. They changed locations several times as more congregants were added to their number, including their first convert. In August of 2015 it became clear that a permanent meeting site was needed.
The Teaneck saints began to earnestly pray and look for an alternate place of worship. When nothing materialized, they expanded the search area and found the building in Wharton. At first, it seemed unattainable and possibly too far away, but after touring the building and seeking the will of God, the decision was made to purchase it.
Keys to the Wharton church were received on August 5, 2016, and the first official service was held there on August 21, 2016. The building is beautiful and has room to grow. The Wharton saints appreciate this new place to worship, and are committed to continuing to spread the Latter Rain Gospel at their location.