On Sunday, February 14, 1993 the Church of Christ in Hollis was established. This new congregation met in the home of Brother & Sister Alphonso Keith with twelve adults and six children. This was a unique experience for all of us. On the Lord’s Day, we worshipped in the basement and shared a meal after morning service. Each member would sit a dish on the kitchen counter. Bro. Keith’s first sermon was entitled “Pen Knife Religion…It’s Not the Way God Intended” (Jeremiah 36:23). During the time we worshipped in the Keith’s home, we had two baptisms, Eslyn Benjamin & Charles Harris.
As we worked to establish the congregation in Northeast Queens, there were times we laughed and times we cried. Above all, we were encouraged as we studied the book of Nehemiah. We found it was not going to be easy but if we trusted God we would prevail. So after our hard work and stress, Sister Washington suggested a Friend’s Day as a way to thank everyone who loved and supported us. Bro. Keith gave this idea his blessing and our first Friend’s Day took place on December 14, 1993. The minister of the Third Street Church of Christ gave a wonderful and encouraging message on the theme “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. It was a day to relax, laugh, eat & celebrate the good things God had done for us.
After one year we decided to look for a suitable place in the Hollis area. We searched by car and van for our church home. We looked at many sites and some of them were just that…sights! But we would not be discouraged. God had a work for us to do and we had a mind to work. Finally we chose the edifice that we have. We had faith and faith alone because this building had bare floors, one bathroom, no partitions, and no real identification or entrance. The basement had stairs leading only to the street outside. Every man was put to the task. We had no shields or weapons except God’s Word and a mind to work. We nailed, glued, painted and under the direction of our Nehemiah-like leader, we created a house to hold God’s people. We were able to enter the building on July 31, 1994, one year and four months after being established. In February 1995, we had our first formal anniversary celebration. Our theme was “Go on Rejoicing” (Philippians 4:4).
Now that the edifice was ready for service, Bro. Keith prayed that the Lord would send God fearing men to help build the work. And the church as a whole prayed for spiritual growth & peace. In came droves of families with children and young men, and after being taught the Gospel many were baptized. Brother Keith immediately started a Men’s Training Class to teach these new brothers the fundamentals of service within the Lord’s kingdom.
The preaching of one man, Jonah, caused the whole city of Nineveh to repent. One man, Samson, wrecked havoc on the Philistines, the enemies of God’s people. Twelve men changed the minds and hearts of men everywhere, the effect of their message is being felt even now. This proves the one irrefutable fact that with a few God can do great things. So it is with the church of Christ in Hollis.
Our aim was to take the seed of the Gospel to new soil, to grow a knowledgeable congregation and ultimately, looking to Heaven, maintain our purity as the bride of Christ.
May the Lord in Heaven continue to bless this congregation with the zeal, knowledge, wisdom and limitless courage. May He always be glorified, not only within these walls, but in the lives of those who serve Him. May the work of the Kingdom in this area, continue until His return, for the people have a mind to work.