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CENTENNIAL HISTORY

Good Tidings Gospel Hall 1940 
(Old Globe Theater Façade) 
7-9 Sumpter Street, Brooklyn, NY

Good Tidings Gospel Hall (Old Globe Theater Facade) 7-9 Sumpter St., Bklyn, NY


1919

They gathered first; on the first Sunday of each month, then the second and third Sundays, then each Sunday, moving from house to house, until April 1919 when their numbers increased, making it necessary to acquire a larger place.

Happenings

  • They rented a small store front at 160 Third Avenue, and on Sunday, April 20, 1919 @ 4:00pm, the first Sunday School was started with six (6) children by Bro. Donald Robinson, who was also the Superintendent.
  • In their readiness to establish their own formal Breaking of Bread Service, these Brethren met with their former 13th Street Assembly, and Grace Gospel Chapel on May 2, 1919, at the 13th Street Assembly location, to seek their endorsement in establishing their own ‘Lord’s Table’. After prayer, the right hand of fellowship was given, in addition to substantial financial help.
  • The Lord’s Table was convened on May 11, 1919 @10:30 am. Ten (10) of the fourteen (14) members broke bread.
  • The Tuesday Night Ministry was established.
  • The Annual Gospel Crusade was started.
  • The Assembly was called ‘Gospel Hall’
  • November 24, 1919 – they relocated to a larger Hall at 169 Third Avenue.
  • 1919 – Enquirer’s Class was instituted.

Trying Times 1920-1924. Souls were being saved and backsliders restored, however, some were leaving the sorrow in that some left due to unresolved doctrinal differences.


1929

The Great Depression 1929-1939 (began with the crash of the American Stock Market, October 24, 1929 and lasted until 1939). Bro. Hunte stated in his Journal that conditions in 1931 were very trying owing to the scarcity of jobs, and the general Depression reaching famine proportions in some places. God, however, was merciful, because financially the Assembly was about the same as in prosperous times. By 1932, however, unemployment was rife, all classes of people were affected.

Despite that, the following occurred:

  • December 2, 1930 – Bro. Charles & Sis. Winifred Lowe, after a Farewell Service on November 26, 1930, set sail for Barbados, W.I., as missionaries.
  • 1931 – the monthly Sister’s Meeting was established by Sis. Alberta Weekes, and the Annual Sister’s Conference in 1932.
  • June 21, 1936 – Good Tidings Gospel Chapel along with Grace Gospel Chapel started preaching in Corona, Queens.
  • 1938 – the Adult Bible Class, formerly the Young People’s Class, was established by Bro. John Byron Hunte.

Our stated aim and chief desire for meeting was to be equipped with the Word of God to preach in our communities.

J.B. Hunte

Assembly. Forty-eight (48) were added by the end of 1920, but seventeen (17) defected. By the end of 1922 there were seventy-nine (79) in fellowship. This pattern persisted through 1924. On Saturday, April 21, 1923 at 4:00pm, a fire consumed the Gospel Hall but, the furniture was salvageable. The Brethren met during that time at Bro. Ellis’ home until June of that year. Bro. Hunte recorded that those were trying times; there was great joy, and great sorrow. Joy, that the Lord had saved a good many who were baptized and admitted to the fellowship, and Bro. Hunte stated that ‘By His Grace’ they did not lose the vision of the harvest field, which continued to flourish. That they were thankful for the faithfulness of the early saints, their dedication, and hard work during those early years. By God’s grace they were established.


Middle Years

1940

Becoming Incorporated

Middle Years (1940-1977)

Relocation became necessary again because of membership growth, not only by way of conversions but from continued immigration of believers from the Caribbean. The Brethren prayed for a new Hall and the Lord answered their prayer. On January 1939, they discovered that the old Globe Theatre at 7-9 Sumpter Street in Brooklyn was for sale. The asking price of $9,000.00, was unacceptable so they waited on the Lord. On February 27, 1940 Mr. John Wilson (their benefactor) informed them that he had obtained the property for $4,100.00, less than half the asking price.

Incorporated. As a result of the acquisition, plans were made for its maintenance. At an Assembly meeting on March 8, 1940, the names of nine (9) brethren suggested for this purpose were: Brothers: John B. Hunte (President), Thomas Ellis (Treasurer), Joseph Griffith (Secretary), Donald Robinson, William Cox, Theodore Edgehill, Milton Harris, William Layne, and George Berry. On March 22, 1940, at a second Assembly meeting, the nine were approved. At this meeting, it was decided that the Assembly should be incorporated and should have a new name. The name ‘Good Tidings Gospel Hall’ suggested by Bro. Ellis was approved. materials needed for the renovation, and carpenters in our Assembly: Bro. Milton Harris, Bro. Joseph Welch, Bro. Walcott, and other brethren did the actual work.

Happenings

  • Tuesday, September 10, 1940 – Good Tidings Gospel Hall occupied the new building.
  • Friday September 13, 1940 – first Prayer Meeting.
  • Sunday September 15, 1940 – Breaking of Bread.
  • Sunday, October 6, 1940 – opening ceremony with over 400 in attendance.
  • 1945 – the young people started attending the annual ‘Brethren’ Pine Bush Summer Camp.
  • January 8, 1946 – the interior renovation of the Assembly was completed and the Dedication Service held January 20, 1946.
  • February 28, 1951 – the adjacent property to our Assembly, 11 Sumpter Street, was acquired. It was used mainly for gardening; flowers and especially vegetables by Sis. Marjorie Marshall and others.
  • 1951 – the Annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) was established by Dr. T. Michael Flowers and Bro. Alexander Weekes.
  • 1950s – the Van Ministry, formerly Car Ministry, was started by Sis. Augustine Charles (in the early 1950s) to ferry children to and from Sunday School.
  • 1950s – the annual Sunday School Picnic was started by Sis. Miriam Scott.
  • December 1953 – Bro. Alexander and Sis. Albertha Weekes left on their missionary journey to Barbados, W.I.

We received the ‘Certificate of Incorporation’ Pursuant to Article 10 of the Religious Corporation Law, April 2, 1940.

Deed Signed and Building Renovated – On May 10, 1940 the deed was signed for the 7-9 Sumpter Street building. The Assembly gave generously towards the mortgage, including a substantial donation of Two Thousand Five Hundred dollars ($2,500.00) from a benefactress, Ms. Edna M. Beale as first mortgage payment. Mr. John Wilson gave nearly all the growing Sunday School, and to serve as the Fellowship Hall for social events, such as; VBS, Young People’s activities, and wedding receptions. During that time, the members worshipped in a small room at 11 Sumpter St. According to Bro. Theophilus Cato, Elder Emeritus, the condition of the floor prohibited them from their usual kneeling for prayer, so they had to stand. When they moved back to the Hall, they continued this practice. Their first meeting in the finished basement, was March 30, 1956, for Prayer Meeting. The façade renovation that started on November 11, 1958, was completed February 1959.

Happenings

Bro. Lubric Johnson implemented in:

  • 1967 – the Youth Ministry, formerly the Youth Fellowship
  • 1960s – the Annual Retreat
  • 1968 – the Annual Banquet
  • 1970s – The LIFE Program
  • 1970 – the NOW magazine, a quarterly publication with a strong evangelistic emphasis, was launched by Sis. Merle Smith.
  • March 30, 1971 – Bro. Cyril Murray and Sis. Mildred Murray were commended to missionary work in Barbados W. I.
  • 1972 – the Assembly received Tax-Exempt status.
  • 1975 – Good Tidings Hour, a weekly Gospel broadcast heard in the United States of America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and the Far East was implemented by Bro. Daril Neverson.
  • February 3, 1955 – Bro. J. B. Hunte and Bro. Joseph Duguid left on their missionary journey to parts of the United States of America, and the West Indies.
  • 1956 – The First Memorial Day Conference.

Excavation of Basement
On September of 1955, with the help of Mr. Wilson, the Assembly secured funds to excavate the basement in order to; provide an auditorium for the A New Edifice. On November 20, 1978, the Assembly was given the deed to the property at 345 Malcolm X Boulevard (then 345 Reid Avenue), by the owner of the White Meat Packing Company. This was an answer to prayer. ‘Cogun Industry Builders’ of Ohio was selected to construct the new church building. Ground Breaking Ceremony was held on November 6, 1983 and the building was completed July 25, 1985. The new building consisted of a 400-person capacity sanctuary, and an adjoining Fellowship Hall, approximately the same size. Dedication Service was held on Saturday, September 28, 1985 @ 3pm.

Southern Migration. In the 1980s, a lot of our families migrated to the South, primarily to Atlanta. Approximately 40 families left. Through their migration, new Assemblies were established in their new community.


1980

Happenings

  • 1985 – we joined AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) club, thanks to Sis. Carmela Fox who brought the club for ages two to eighteen (2-18), to Good Tidings Gospel Chapel.
  • 1988 – Men’s Meeting was established. It now coincides with the Sister’s monthly meeting.
  • 1990 – The Remedial Reading Program was started by Sis. Marjorie Marshall for students in the community with reading impediment.
  • 1990s – The Food Pantry was authorized. Bro. William Benson was an integral part of it.

After much negotiation with the Fulton Park Urban Renewal Association, the Assembly was granted permission to remain at 7-9 Sumpter Street.

Urban Renewal – In the 1960s, the Assembly received notification from the Fulton Park Urban Renewal Plan and Zoning Resolution of the City that their neighborhood was slated for Urban Renewal. The city planned to build six-story buildings in the area.  They waited on the Lord, while they continued to raise funds toward a new building.

  • 1992 – the first officially appointed Secretary for Good Tidings Gospel Chapel was Sis. Pearl Abrams. Sis. Cynthia DeGannes succeeded Sis. Abrams in 2003, followed by our current Secretary Sis. Cynthia Gresham.
  • 1995 – The Annual Community Day was started by Sis.  Edna Bonett, for the community.  
  • 1995 – the Young Adult Bible Class was established by Bro. Victor (Archie) Bonett.
  • 1995 – the Big Sisters’ Mentoring Ministry was implemented by Sis. Clari Gilbert.

The name, Good Tidings Gospel Hall was changed to Good Tidings Gospel Chapel, February 20, 2000, after authorization from the Assembly on August 17, 1999.


2000-2018

Recent Years

  • Christmas cheer which include, baskets of fruits and other foods or personal gifts, are distributed to the sick and shut-ins at Christmas time.
  • 2009 – International Day, a day to celebrate our ethnicity was implemented by Sis. Edna Bonett.
  • 2012 – The Young Men’s Ministry was established by Bro. Richard Greenidge I, to mentor young men, ages 12 and up.
  • 2016 – a Senior Program proposed by Sis. Gloria Duncan, and implemented by Elder Samuel Uter, M.D.
  • 2017 – Our Welcome Ministry was expanded in June of 2017 to include Brochures in the various languages of foreigners visiting us.
  • 2017 – The Digital Ministry was updated to include live streaming by Bro. Javir James.

On Sunday mornings, after Breaking of Bread, there
is a combined Ministry and Community Hour Service. Here music, musical
selections, Praise Team, and Testimonies are included. Our week night meetings
have increased in attendance. To God be the Glory.

CONCLUSION

Our Founders aim and chief desire was to be equipped with the Word of God, to preach in our communities. Those early years (1919 to 1939), found them determined to do just that. As a result, we have established a new Assembly, survived; hardships, wars, and the Depression, with Missionaries going to foreign lands. In the middle years (1940–1977), we acquired a new Hall, became incorporated, and improved the physicality of the building to accommodate the burgeoning Assembly. During our recent years, 1978-2018, we continue to serve the Lord despite challenges. The Lord enabled us to acquire a new Chapel and created many Ministries. Now, with a proposed annex as an additional way to reach our community, we are moving forward. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2a). We give Him all the praise. Untill He comes, we will continue to proclaim Him and to evangelize our neighborhood, just like our Founders. To God be the glory. Amen.

Future Years

“We’ve come this
far by faith, leaning on the Lord.” We continue in our Founders’
footsteps reaching into our community, and now, moving forward by faith to a
new venture, a new way to reach the community.

Our mission is to erect a facility to minister to the community through various activities that simultaneously benefit the members of our Assembly. Our vision is to provide sufficient space to meet these needs over time.

By: Sis. Hyacinth Abrahams, MS: CH.
By: Sis. Hyacinth Abrahams, MS: CH.

REFERENCES:

  • Good Tidings Gospel Hall,
    ‘A Work of Grace’, J.B. Hunte, 1970.
  • Good Tidings Gospel Hall
    Dedication Service Program, 9/28/1985.
  • The Sisters of GTGC.
    Testimonial Souvenir Journal 1933-1983
  • Good Tidings Archival
    Documents: 1940, 1960, 1984, 2000.
  • Good Tidings Gospel
    Chapel Brochure, ‘A Brief History’, H. Abrahams, 5/2016.
  • Personal Journal, Bro.
    J.B. Hunte, Journaled from 1918-1961.
  • Obituary of Sis. Blanche
    Herbert Hornsby, 1900-2002
  • Poem by; Sis. Merle E.
    Smith in the Good Tidings Gospel Hall 75th Anniversary Journal.