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Church History

Church History

Early Days
    The church destined to become the Presbyterian Church of Saint Albans, grew out of cottage prayer meetings. In 1898, the year before the town of Saint Albans was officially named, a group of  Christians  started holding Wednesday evening meetings in their houses. They were determined to worship even though there was no church in their rural community.
    The need for a place to worship God was great because the farmers in those days had to drive their horses and buggies either to Springfield or Jamaica, in order to attend services. In 1903 the Community Hall was built to house the growing congregation. It still stands today as First Church of God in Christ. The Sunday School was organized in 1904 with Mr. Hendrick Hendrickson as superintendent, and Mrs. Adelia Place as pianist.
    It was not until January 3, 1901 that the church was organized by the Presbytery of Nassau with 3 charter members. Mr. John M. Bayliss and B.A. Everitt were among the first elders. The plot where the present edifice stands was donated by Mr. James Nevis, a Brooklyn realtor, and the cornerstone was laid in 1907.

Pastors
    The first supply pastor was the Rev. William Hendrickson. He served for more than two years until a regular installed pastor, the Rev. Frank Lee, was called in 1909. Rev. Lee was succeeded by the Rev. Hilton R. Campbell in 1913; in 1913 by Rev. John Erickson by Rev. John A. Harrer in 1920; by Rev. James Mayne in 1924; by Rev. Arthur Ash in 1928 Dr. William A. Atkinson served as stated supply from 1934-36. On October 16, 1936, the Rev. Francis D. Wallace was installed as the seventh pastor. The Addisleigh United Presbyterian Church united with the Saint Albans Church in 1937. Rev. Wallace served the church for twenty years, leaving to become General Presbyter of the Brooklyn-Nassau Presbytery in 1956. Several students, including David Nakagawa and John Cato, filled the pulpit until the Rev. Ambrosio M. Patacsil was called in 1957. He was succeeded by the Rev. Cornelius O. Berry in 1961. Rev. Berry served for 18 months. During Rev. Berry's tenure, the United Presbyterian Women reorganized into "circles."
    Rev. L. Charles Gray, who succeeded Rev. Berry, was installed in 1962. He resigned in 1969 to become director of the Manhattan Division of the National Council of Churches. He returned to the pulpit in 1971 and became Pastor Emeritus in 1983. During the interim period, 1969 to 1971,the Session engaged a student minister, Mrs. Pat Mitchell, as a Youth Program Director. The Youth Outreach Program was organized in 1976. Rev. Dr. Davis was also engaged by the Session as Youth Program Director in 1971.
    The 20 years during which the Rev. L. Charles Gray was pastor proved to be a period when the Saint Albans Presbyterian Church moved from a church of the Saint Albans community alone to a church of renown in the southeast Queens area and beyond. Among the many outstanding events that occurred during this period are:

1974 - Organization of the St. Albans/Springfield Gardens Senior Citizens Center.

1976 - St. Albans Youth Outreach Center organized.

1977 - Host Church to Christian Peace Conference

     Rev. Lloyd Eversley and Candidate Michael Pope filled the pulpit until Rev. Howard Bryant was designated Supply minister during 1983-1985.
    Rev. Dr. Edward Davis was installed as the eleventh pastor on February 11, 1985 by Sharon Davidson, Moderator of the Presbytery. Pastor Davis took as the church motto: "Ministering Beyond the Walls."

Many Ministries
   The Drama Ministry, Theatre of the Living Word, was organized by Millicent Jones. The "Group" a fellowship organization of young singles and married couples was organized in 1985. The Summer Vacation Bible Camp reorganized with 30 youth, Miss Mauree Smith directed the camp.
    In 1987, the Session voted for the church to become members of the Queens Citizens Organization. In 1988 Rev. Dr. Davis was one of the lead pastors from the QCO who approached Pathmark Corp. to develop a Pathmark Supermarket in Southeastern Queens. Mr. Harry Turner and Ms. Enola Phillips were instrumental in this community effort. This development would provide 300 jobs. Groundbreaking eventually happened in the Summer of 1999.
    The Bible Study Group was organized their centering scripture comes from Colossians 3:16 "Let the Word of Christ dwell within you richly". The Prayer Group was called together through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and has been a powerful spiritual arm of the church and its' outreach and internal ministries.
    The Hymn Choir which sings during the 8:30 AM. Worship service was formed in by Mrs. Helen Rutledge.
    The Deacon Board under the guidance of Mrs. J. Malcolm and Mrs. L. Toodles organized the St. Albans SHARE Program, a food co-operative. Elders Judson Dinkins and Moley C. Wilson created the Prison Ministry and coordinated our involvement in the Angel Tree Project, a prison ministry which primarily works with children whose parents are incarcerated in local and state prisons.
    Under the skillful guidance of Mr. James Casey, the conference room was handsomely renovated.
    At the annual congregational meeting in January of 1990, the congregation voted to move forward with the architectural drawings and plans of Mr. Harry Simmons to expand the sanctuary, theatre, the Alberta Alston Fellowship Hall, school complex, and multi-purpose community center, adding an additional 10,000 square feet to the existing edifice.
    At a Congregational Meeting on May 6, 1990, the congregation voted unanimously to go forward with the expansion. On Fathers' Day, the fundraising effort to raise $ 1.5 million dollars was launched with a great deal of excitement and great expectations. After much work and sacrifice, renovations were finalized in the Winter of 1999. The renovated edifice remains a point of pride, and a beacon of Hope, in the community of Saint Albans.
    St. Albans Presbyterian Multipurpose Community Center was organized as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit entity. It developed the Julius Erving Center which served over 300 youth as an after school mentoring and sports program. Later, the quarter acre plot on Farmers Blvd. was purchased as the future home of its outreaches. Our long-range plan is  to establish a new Senior Citizen's Advocacy Center and an Educational Day Care Center at that location, with an emphasis on education, arts & culture.

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