On July 28, 1958 and on the corner of 108th Avenue and New York Boulevard (now Guy R. Brewer Boulevard) the first members of what would become the Springfield Gardens SDA Church were baptized into the SDA faith. Through the evangelistic efforts of Elder George Earle, his wife, and Bible worker, Elizabeth Small, thirteen souls were baptized on September 15, 1958 and became the initial members of Springfield Gardens SDA.
In the beginning, this small body of believers was organized into a company by Elder Frank Jones, former Northeastern Conference secretary, on February 21, 1959. On February 27, 1960, the company, now approximately fifty members strong, was organized into a church. Sis. Earle named the church the New York Boulevard Seventh-day Adventist Church. A building fund was started. Brother Jesse Rowe gave the first $1,000.00. The Conference promised to match every dollar that the members gave and quite a sum of money was raised by this method.
Elder E. A. Lockette replaced Elder Earle as pastor in 1960 and started an every-member canvass plan. Elder William Alleyne succeeded Elder Lockette and continued the every-member canvass plan. In this way, through much prayer and sacrifice, the membership acquired the money to purchase their own building. On December 22, 1962, Pastor William Alleyne and his congregation moved into their new church. The name was changed to The Springfield Gardens Seventh-day Adventist Church, since it was located in Springfield Gardens.
Under the leadership of Pastor Alleyne, the sanctuary was redecorated. The lower auditorium was also redecorated. A lot of hard work was done by the pastor and the members to get things in order. They purchased pews and pulpit furniture as well as an organ and piano. The Deaconate paid the first $300.00 down payment on the pews.
Under the leadership of Pastor North, the parking lot was fenced in. The church was carpeted by Brother and Sister Peterson and Sister Ruth Spaulding and family.
In 1967, the conference sent Pastor John Grayson. Pastor Grayson held a “Pavilion of Peace Crusade” in the Church’s Parking Lot. Many souls were added to the church under his leadership. A church sign was purchased, and a Community Free Breakfast Program was started. He also started a savings account which was very successful.
In 1971, Elder Dennis Ross was sent to the church by the Conference. Elder Ross and his wife, held a tent effort. Many Souls were baptized and the membership increased. Elder Ross started a plan to pay off the mortgage. He stayed with the Springfield Gardens Seventh-day Adventist Church for only two years. On July 16, 1973, the Conference sent Elder H. Nembhard to pastor the Springfield Gardens Church. He continued the plan that Elder Ross had started, to pay off the mortgage.
The mortgage was burned on September 14, 1974, under the leadership of Pastor Nembhard. Elder Nembhard left in 1974.
From 1958 to the present time, the following pastors ministered to the congregants at what is now Community Worship Center of Seventh-day Adventists (CWC):
Elder G. Earle: 1958-1960
Pastor Clement Murray: 1980-1982
Elder E.A. Lockett: 1960-1961
Pastor Carlyle Longhorn: 1982-1983
Elder William Alleyne: 1962-1965
Pastor Desmond Francis: 1983-1988
Pastor North: 1965-1967
Pastor Eldeen King: 1988-1992
Pastor John T. Grayson: 1967-1971
Pastor Stephen Williams: 1992-1997
Elder Dennis Ross: 1971-1973
Pastor Richard Bryant: 1997-2004
Elder H. Nembhard: 1973-1974
Pastor Clifford Manie: 2005-Dec. 2014
Pastor Jonathan Thompson: 1974-1977
Pastor Abraham Jules: 2015-
Elder G. Earle: 1958-1960
On January 15, 2005, Pastor Clifford Manie was introduced as the new pastor for Springfield Gardens SDA Church. He recalls being told by the conference administrators who assigned him there that he was being sent to complete the church. After visiting the church and seeing the condition of the structure–the rusty steel; the rotting boards; the mold, moss, and lichen covered walls; and the large squatter population of racoons, he realized he was facing a renovation project of massive proportions. Further, faced with incomplete building plans and irate neighbors who were angry that the incomplete church building had devalued their property, the task seemed insurmountable. Pastor Manie remembers looking beyond the hills to heaven from whence his help comes.
With his hand in God’s hand and taking instruction from the master builder of all time, he stepped out in faith into untested waters. God gave him a vision that the house of God must be ‘exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries’ as is outlined in 1 Chronicles 22:5.
Upon his arrival at Springfield Gardens, construction on the building project had been halted for approximately fifteen (15) years. Under his tenure, construction commenced again in November 2006 and barreled ahead full speed. Within six months and on May 15, 2007, the congregation was able to move from the old church sanctuary into the renovated fellowship hall, now called the Crystal Ballroom. As often happens in the work of God, Satan slithered in and brought trials and obstacles from inside and outside the church which hindered the work and halted the construction in 2008.
In spite of that discouragement, Pastor Manie drew strength, throughout the rocky building process, from Nehemiah’s story and like him focused on the task before him while keeping vigilant watch for the evil ones. He also followed God’s admonition in Joshua 1:7 to be ‘strong and very courageous’; he adhered precisely to the instruction therein to not turn to the right or left from God’s law; and he encouraged the true disciples of this house of worship to do the same.
In the midst of adversity creativity blossomed, spirituality thrived, and determination exploded. In January 2011 as a body of believers and under the leadership of Pastor Manie, the church developed a vision and a mission, moving it from maintenance based ministry to a purpose driven one. Determined to make the church a center of inclusion for all people to hear God’s word and experience transformation in every aspect of their lives, the membership voted to change the name from Springfield Gardens SDA Church to Community Worship Center (CWC), a name much more reflective of the inclusive nature of our vision and mission. As a result of this goal oriented ministry and name change, we have consistently received feedback from visitors about the spiritual and warm worship experience at CWC. Consequently, between 2011 and 2013 we have had approximately sixty-two (62) new believers added to our church either by way of baptism, profession of faith, or by transfer of membership from other congregations. We have been privileged to have people with varying professional skill sets either join our congregation or become consistent worshippers with us while contributing to the ministry here. Our name and our vision and mission, they all say, have motivated them to become a part of the CWC worship experience.
As our church went through an internal transformation in 2011, God brought about an external one and enabled construction to commence again in August 2011 and to continue up to our Grand Opening that we are now celebrating. Today, the former Springfield Gardens SDA Church has become Community Worship Center of SDA. By following God’s directives in Joshua 1:7, we have experienced the ‘good success’ that God promised in verse eight. As a body of believers, we are ever mindful here at CWC that the ‘good success’ has ONLY been made possible by the Lord our God who has been with us in all things. With God as our guide, we are committed to crafting a Community Worship Center that reaches beyond these walls, goes beyond this physical community, and one which reaches out to souls in cyberspace. Our purpose clear, we are currently establishing an interactive web presence where we will minister to men, women, and children from around the world, and thus our house of worship will be a global community worship center of souls for God’s Kingdom.
On January 17, 2015, Dr. Abraham J. Jules was introduced and installed as the new pastor for Community Worship Center SDA Church by Dr. Daniel Honore, the President of North Eastern Conference.