CAPITAL CAMPAIGN - RESTORING THE FUTURE
The Father’s Heart Ministry Center has been a resource for the community from the time it was built in 1867. It was originally named the 11th Street Methodist Episcopal Chapel and it was built to reach out to the new immigrants flooding the area.
By the early 1900’s it had been renamed the People’s Home Church and Settlement and it offered the community a kindergarten, day nursery, fresh air program, gymnasium, baths, industrial classes, vocal and instrumental music instruction, a reading room, penny provident society and numerous clubs in addition to church services, Bible study and Sunday School.
Subsequent years introduced separate interdenominational services with Russian-language and Italian-language Presbyterians. Then in 1941 the church was purchased by the Russian Ukrainian Polish Pentecostal Church, eventually evolving to the Evangelical Christian Church and now The Father’s Heart Church. Once again, it is a center for community services as well as a church, providing for both practical and spiritual needs.
During the years when the Lower East Side (LES) and specifically, Alphabet City, was a haven for substance abusers and dealers, the middle-class congregation fled to the outer boroughs and New Jersey. With just the very needy in attendance, there were no resources to make the necessary repairs much less renovations and updating. The small denomination the church was affiliated with concentrated on supporting foreign missions and that left the church without any outside support for decades.
It is by the grace of God that it has remained open to once again host much-needed community resources and to continue to provide spiritual encouragement. However, it is time to “pay the bill” of decades of unintended neglect. We’ve known for some time that the northern extension of the church needed repairs especially when we saw a tree branch growing inside! Architects and engineers not only confirmed the dire condition of it but deemed it an emergency which meant demolition and rebuild. We are grateful to the engineers for coming up with a plan that prevented the demolition and is enabling us to repair it extensively.
It has been a lot of time, work and money but the northern extension or baptistry has been completely restored. The sagging northwestern and northeastern corners of the sanctuary have been repaired/restored. The platform was completely rebuilt due to rotting beams. The uncertain roof of our adjacent building, dubbed Faith Annex, has been removed. New, metal steps to the food pantry have been fabricated and installed. Foundational repairs have been completed on the baptistry, parsonage and church roofs. We are awaiting installation of the final coat.
The annex roof needs to be replaced and other work so that it can become our new food pantry with four times the space of our current one! An expanded food pantry will allow us to stock more food and provide space for another walk-in refrigerator or freezer, enabling us to reach and feed more people!