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NYCC Anniversary Story

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Isaiah’s Room, The Covenant Justice Conference, Main Street Restoration – these are three of New York Covenant Church’s (NYCC) nearly 20 ministries. However, when Pastor David Holder founded NYCC 18 years ago, preaching the Gospel was the sole focus, and there were just four members.

On that July 19, 1998 Sunday, Pastor Holder and his college friend Christopher Salley, and their respective wives, Tarshia and Kimberly, held the first NYCC service in the sanctuary of the Covenant Church of New Rochelle (CCNR), a small red brick building at the corner of Mayflower and Pershing Avenues. Pastor Holder also served as the Pastor of CCNR, a congregation that has existed for more than 100 years.

Pastor Salley was on the keyboard, and Sisters Tarshia and Kim were in the wooden pews. Pastor Holder delivered the Word. Times have changed. NYCC now has close to 300 members working in its ministries, seven associate ministers and nine deacons. “We didn't set out to build a big church,” Pastor Holder said. “We set out to build a great church. And I can truly say God has been faithful. I love His church.”

We asked some NYCC members about their personal NYCC history. Here’s what they said:

Anselm James

Member since 2011

Men’s Ministry member

Like many new members, Anselm James learned about the church through a mailer, but it took awhile before he decided to visit.

“The first time I saw the mailer I saw the pastor and his wife,” said Anselm. “The second time, it was the pastor, his wife and a baby. The third time was the pastor, his wife, a little girl and a young baby.”

It took a few years, but Anselm, a Mount Vernon resident, eventually visited and was immediately drawn to the congregation because of the strength of the Men’s Ministry and the camaraderie among the men.

“You don’t find too many men in church,” said Anselm. “To see a group of men who believe in Christ coming together to discuss Christ, that got to me.”

Tamara Berthaud

Member since 2000

Perpetual Praise Ministry member

Tamara Berthaud’s was planning to visit NYCC, but was deterred by a heavy rainstorm. But after she read a story about the church in The Journal News, she was convinced to visit.

The attraction was immediate, Tamara said. “I was comfortable after the first time. I wanted to get closer to God, and I felt that it was a good place to do it.”

Anthony Robinson

Member since 2009

Isaiah’s Room Ministry member

Anthony Robinson and his wife were living in the neighborhood when they saw church letting out one Sunday. They decided to visit the following week.

Anthony said he found Pastor Holder to be warm, inviting, personable and relatable.

“In one of his first sermons I heard, he used a hip-hop term,” Anthony said. “He was part of my generation.”

“This is it,” Anthony said. “I found my home.”

Like Anselm, Anthony also was enthusiastic about the Men’s Ministry.

“I liked the fact that we are real brothers and real men, and that there is no pretense,” he said. “We can come to each other and trust each other. I love that.”

Alana Millings

Member since 2007

Praise and Worship Team; CARE Ministry

Alana Millings and her husband, Minister Gregory Millings, are true millennials. Upon receiving the NYCC mailer, they went to the website to investigate. Not finding enough information on the first-generation site, they did not immediately visit.

A subsequent mailing, and a visit to a revised website changed their minds. Alana recalls a top-10 list of reasons to attend NYCC, with the last one being “the preaching is all that and a bag of chips.”

“Somebody has to be really cool there,” she recalls saying to Minister Greg.

The couple’s first visit was Palm Sunday 2007. “We were decked out for our first time there,” Alana said. “We were dressed to the elevens.”

However, the morning greeter informed them that dressing up was an option, not a requirement. More importantly, the Word they heard that day really was all that.

“During that first sermon, Greg and I looked at each other and said ‘This is it.’ He’s (Pastor Holder) the real deal.”

Posted by Terry Williams with 2 Comments

Focus On Faith

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Health challenges can often test one’s faith. In the case of New York Covenant Church member Paulette Evans, two bouts with breast cancer served only to strengthen her solid Christian upbringing and strong faith as an adult. Paulette’s story is a true depiction of Matthew 19:26: “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Paulette, who joined the New York Covenant family about a decade ago, was first diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in October 2009, after finding a lump in her breast. Since her mother and great aunt also had breast cancer, swift and serious treatment was recommended. A lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation, and much prayer and support from her family and friends pushed that cancer into remission. Five years later, the cancer resurfaced, and Paulette underwent surgery and treatment to fight back. Today, praise be to God, she is cancer-free.

“I am grateful that I knew God even before my diagnosis,” Paulette said recently.
“It’s good that we have medicines and machines, but my faith in God as the one and only true healer allowed me to deal with my discomfort.”

Her treatment was not easy: Paulette suffered bad reactions to the drugs used to treat the cancer, and the physician who treated her during her first bout with cancer wasn’t the most caring or attentive to her situation. But she was able overcome those setbacks, thanks to the love of her family and her dedication to God. She also kept a journal of her thoughts and prayers, which helped her cope.

“I have been in bed in pain, late at night, and something comes upon me, and then the pain is not as bad,” Paulette said. “I know that ‘something’ is far greater than man.”

Her husband of 33 years, Joe, has been her rock through these times and throughout their marriage. Paulette’s spirits were also lifted by her two daughters, three grandchildren and a great-grandson, who continued to love her unconditionally. Several members of her NYCC family also prayed with Paulette and comforted her during her illness, offering another source of “constant comfort,” she said.

“Joe is and continues to be a source of strength,” Paulette said of her beloved husband. “He took care of me and did everything possible to make me comfortable. He and my daughter took me to treatments and just loved me.”

While having cancer twice has been difficult, it has been an opportunity for Paulette to experience the power of the Lord, up close and personal. And for that, she is most grateful.

“I feel that all the testing, the illnesses that I have had, is all to show what an awesome God we serve,” Paulette said. “The fact is that God is REAL. Even if we don’t see how He works, I see God as being active and real through this. He’s not just ‘up in the sky’.”

Each month, “Focus on Faith” will feature a member who wishes to share their testimony

Posted by Gayle Williams with 3 Comments