HISTORY OF VICTORY TABERNACLE
Victory Tabernacle Seventh-Day Christian Church was established in 1934, in the depression era, when the economic challenges of living required commitment to God’s standards. Blessed with men and women of vision who believed in observing the seventh-day Sabbath as given by God in the Ten Commandments, and in following the plain word of God, the group worshipped in various facilities for eight years. Finally, on January 1, 1942, Victory Tabernacle held its dedicatory service in 252 West 138th Street, New York City, our present site.
During our seventy years, the Lord blessed us with several ministers. Our first pastor was Elder Raynes Soaries, who served form 1934 – 1937. Then Elder Philip J. Bailey gave twenty-seven years of sacrifice, unforgettable devotion, and commitment to the cause of God (1937 – 1964). His expert Bible teaching will long be remembered. A series of pastors provided leadership for various periods of time: Elder Henry Grant (1964 - 1972), Local Elder James Clarke as Acting Pastor, Elder Dingwall C. Fleary (1972 – 1978), Pastor Garfield Hawthorne (1978 – 1982) and Pastor DeForest (Buster) Soaries (1982 – 1985). Each pastor that we had played a unique role in the life of the church and was confronted with the challenge of presenting the gospel in a changing society. We thank God for their contributions and the sacrifices made by their families.
There have also been great lay leaders who pioneered the efforts which resulted in this ministry and who upheld the hands of the ministers. For six years Victory Tabernacle had no pastor. The role of lay persons was crucial in keeping the church functioning. Every department of the church operated successfully. Guest speakers filled the pulpit weekly.
After years of earnest prayer, Victory Tabernacle was blessed with the selection of Pastor Charles Ffrench for the pastorate of Victory Tabernacle and Elder Neil Matthew as assistant pastor in 1991. From that time they have been an effective team in ministering to the saints and reaching out to others with the gospel message.
Over the years Victory Tabernacle has been involved in a number of community outreach programs. Community as well as church children attended the Vacation Bible School, staffed with members of the church. Youth Retreats at a number of sites in upstate New York and New Jersey enriched the lives of members and their friends. Free tutorial programs for the educational benefit of children in the 4th to 6th grades in the community were held in the church building from 1985 – 1987. Then from 2001 – 2003 we were again involved in a tutorial program. Neighborhood schools were contacted about these opportunities. An ongoing Project SHARE (Self-Help and Resources Exchange), a program which distributes $40 worth of wholesome and nutritious food in exchange for $14 cash and two hours of community service, is a well-appreciated part of our yearly agenda. The church has co-sponsored two computer training seminars which were open to the community. In 1995 and 1996 the church invited a representative from the New York City Department of Health to discuss AIDS Education and the importance of the involvement of the Black community. It also hosted a workshop on domestic violence in 1998. Two asthma workshops were conducted at the church, in 2002 by an Asthma Action Team of the New York City Childhood Asthma Initiative (New York City Department of Health) and the second brought to us by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in February 2004.
We look forward to expanded service to the community through a number of ministries, including a revised tutorial program and a senior citizen program.