The diversity within the pews of the House of Grace church, is representative of the East New York Community it serves, with programs that uplift, and spiritually nourish congregants while filling them with hope, at in-person and online Sunday services, from its 231 Rockaway Ave. sanctuary in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
The church conducts monthly services on the first Saturday — At the Altar of God Prayer Only service from 6 am — 7 am. Additionally, a Sunday service from 10 am- 12 pm is held in-person, and live streamed via Facebook.
A Bible Lesson is held from 7:00 – 7:40 pm every Wednesday & Friday, via a Live Stream Facebook link Houseofgrace231, while an 8:00 – 8:30 pm Thursday Pray with Me conference call via telephone could be accessed, by Dial-in #1-302-202-1108 – Access Code: 516605.
The food pantry that serves more than 200 residents every Saturday, is one of the most important missions of the church, that partners with food banks to ensure everyone who joins the line leave with a hamper of nutritious food.
Pastor Gabriel Adewale Adebayo, a senior Nigerian-born clergy, stated, “if you come to Grace, you can’t turn back,” during a recent lengthy interview with Caribbean Life in the church’s auditorium, where he recalled his journey as a young Muslim sweeping the floors of a mosque he attended with his mother.
The House of God, which opened its doors 14 years ago, and ministers to approximately 90 parishioners of African, Caribbean and Hispanic heritage, was the beginning of the pastor’s transition into the Christian faith, after being discouraged by the teachings and customs of the Muslim religion.
“I was born and raised a Muslim and one day my mother, a very dedicated woman, taught me what God needs from us,” said the pastor who believes that everyone should be treated equally, and not be dictated to, as an example of women must be fully covered from head to toe to enter the sanctuary.
Pastor Adebayo praised the work of women parishioners, naming Pastor Eintou Rogers, as a dedicated leader, and Elder Joeanne Cruickshank, who after leaving her place of work every Wednesday stops to clean the church. He also thanked volunteers, Elder Janice Fisher and Deaconess LaShawn Stevenson, and others, for their service in the food pantry.
Women’s Heritage Month was especially inspiring, in the church, that offered programs to help those who have experienced domestic violence. House of Grace also joined the fight for the 500 million women and girls who cannot afford to purchase menstruation products, as part of its “End Period Poverty” campaign.
A leadership program, trains and teaches people every Sunday from 12:00 to 12:30. “There’s no question that there is too much for us to do for everyone,” said the cleric.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the pews became empty, since the church followed all protocols, and continues to maintain a safe space, going as far to have a command COVID-19 center for testing on the premises.
For this, he is grateful that no one from his congregation died from the virus. Mask requirement stays in place to keep the now small gathering healthy, and thanked his wife, a nurse, for her professional contribution.
The church is in the process of expanding its space to include the basement, in order to accommodate youth programs, that currently host prom dress and scholarship indicatives, supported by members and the community.
“I think every church should be able to build a foundation,” said Pastor Adebayo, who has plans to expand the facilities. He is quite contented to teach the word of God in the small building, and said everyone was welcomed.
“We host a prayer breakfast every June, and we have gospel of the sea, where we sail around New York, and we dance Soca and have a good time,” said the pastor.
“We enjoy ourselves. We celebrate God. We have what is called a dinner with Christ every December. We preach the word of God, and we exchange gifts with other people, and present awards to those who have been very helpful in the neighborhood. We do that even in our church also.”
From the Desk — a weekly feature, Pastor Gabriel Adewale Adebayo explained, “My culture My identity, by saying, ‘Culture is a defining feature of a person’s identity, contributing to how they see themselves and the groups with which they identify.'”
“A person’s understanding of their own and other persons identity develop from birth and is shaped by the values and attitudes prevalent at home and in the surrounding community. Culture plays a significant role in determining what people believe and claim to know.”
“How we see ourselves shapes our lives and is shaped by our cultural context. Self-perceptions influence, among other things, how we think about the world, our social relationships, health and lifestyle choices, community engagement, political actions, and ultimately our own and other people’s well-being,” he noted.
The church’s small, but expansive outreach gives believers an opportunity to listen to Pastor Adebola on Grace Deliverance Radio Station.
The program Hour of Grace on Air – via its website – www.gdradio.org – on its Facebook platform is broadcast – Monday – Saturday from 5:30 pm – 6 pm, and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 6 pm – 6:30 pm.
To learn more, or connect with any of the House of Grace, programs, click – https://www.facebook.com/HouseofGrace231/