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HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

 

Evergreen Baptist Church is located at 455 Evergreen Avenue at the corner of Woodbine Street and Evergreen Avenue in the Bushwick area of the borough of Brooklyn. The congregation is multi¬cultural, multi-ethnic, predominantly bilingual (English and Spanish) with members from all over the Caribbean such as the island of Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago; Central America including the countries of Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama; South America including Colombia, Guyana and Peru; the Philippines from the far east and of course North America.

How did Evergreen begin? It began in the home of Basil and May Hewitt, immigrants from Panama who like others from the West Indies brought with them, deep religious faith that began in the home. Family devotions were an integral part of the religious culture of the West Indian islands where following breakfast; devotions were a time of scripture reading, recitation of bible verses and prayer around the dining table. In Basil’s home, failing to observe this practice was unthinkable.

Shortly after his arrival in Brooklyn, Basil and friends he had known at the Bethany Baptist Church on the Canal Zone, Panama began gathering on Sunday afternoons to observe family devotions together. Although some families attended houses of worship in Brooklyn, none of these came even close to providing the kind of fellowship and nurture they were accustomed to back home. The afternoon devotions offered the spiritual refreshment and intimacy they longed for and missed.

Soon they outgrew Basil’s home and moved to Crown Street in Brooklyn, the home of David U. Morgan. The group had now initiated Sunday morning worship services and felt the desire and the need to explore the possibility of becoming affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Through contacts with the Home Mission Board in the spring of 1960, a meeting was arranged with Dr. Paul James, pastor of the Manhattan Baptist Church which was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. With the sponsorship of these entities, Rev. David A. Morgan, (the father of David U. Morgan) was reassigned from the Canal Zone, Panama to assume the responsibility of the fellowship called Brooklyn Chapel in Brooklyn, New York. From the home of Basil Hewitt to the home of David U. Morgan, the group ended up at the YMCA on Bedford Avenue and in January, 1961, Rev. David A. Morgan became its first pastor of the Brooklyn Chapel, which later became First Baptist Church.

Rev. Morgan was born in Nicaragua of Jamaican parents. He accepted the call to ministry at the age of nineteen and entered the Calabar Theological Seminary in Jamaica, West Indies in 1924. He was ordained on April 9, 1929 and served in Nicaragua, Jamaica and Panama before coming to the United States in 1961. It was relatively easy for Rev. Morgan to work harmoniously with his congregation because of his under¬standing qualities, his charming personality and wit, and his knowledge of dealing with all kinds of indi¬viduals and situations.

On March 18, 1962, the church was legally constituted as First Baptist Church in the city of New York. The main objective of the church was to minister and provide the moral and spiritual needs of all people, regardless of race, nationality or cultural background. The membership of the church began to grow, so that the time had arrived to find a suitable place to accommodate the increasing membership. After visiting many church buildings, and with much prayer, the site located at 455 Evergreen Avenue in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, was selected. The church building was owned and occupied by German Baptist wor¬shippers. The building was purchased and renovated and on December 30, 1 962, the church membership moved into its newly acquired home.

It was evident that God had a plan for His people in this area of Brooklyn. It was in His wisdom that the church has continued to exist for over fifty years. Rev. Morgan served as pastor from 1961 until 1968 when his health began to fail and he was forced to retire in 1 969. Rev Noel Scott then served as pastor from 1969 until his resignation in 1972. From 1974 until 2006, Rev J. Arnaldo Campbell served as the longest pastor of Evergreen for 32 years. When he began his pastorate, the church was experiencing great turmoil.

Under his guidance, the spiritual as well as the financial aspects of the church showed great improvement. He remained a faithful preacher of the Word at Evergreen until his retirement.

Rev. Gary Frost was called to the pastorate of Evergreen in December of 2007 after serving as the interim pastor for over one year. During that period of time, both Rev. Frost and the membership were able to assess each other. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and much prayer and consideration of the needs of the church and community, there was a unanimous vote of approval to call him to the pastorate. Rev. Frost took up the baton to serve and continue the planting of churches in the footsteps of many churches coming from Evergreen such as Evangelical Baptist, the French Baptist, the Spanish Calvary Baptist, Patmos, Bronx Baptist, many of them having gone on to plant many other churches in His kingdom.

In May, 2013, Rev. Frost was called to serve as Vice President of the North American Mission Board after six memorable years at Evergreen. He and his family relocated to the Midwest region of the country to live in their home state of Ohio. Since then, Rev. Andre Palmer, one of Evergreen’s own stepped up to become the interim pastor in June of 2013. After much prayer and observation, the membership based on a majority vote on March 2, 2014, decided to call him to the pastorate. Reverend Andre Palmer was installed as the Senior Pastor of the Evergreen Baptist Church on October 26, 2014..

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