Genesis 26:22 (b) he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
The Blue Hills New Testament Church of God, Hartford, Connecticut, U. S. A., has over 40 Years of Service in the City of Hartford. Founded by the late Reverend Dr. Peter Constantine Barrett in 1965, it holds the distinction of being the first Church of God in Hartford.
Reverend Barrett emigrated from Jamaica, West Indies, to the United States via England. As visionary, he started house- to-house prayer meetings with his wife Daphne and son Andrew in their Sterling Street apartment. As the gathering grew, a theatre (at the corner of Sterling and Albany Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut) was rented for worship services. The Vine Street School was the next place rented for worship. Since both sites were available only for evening services, the congregation missed having morning worship services and, after a few months, they began renting the Seventh Day Adventist church at 79 Vineland Terrace, Hartford. The first morning service was held at this location, in June 1967, with approximately 25 members in attendance. The generous support of the first trustee board – Stafford Brown, Israel Colbert, Sr., Terrance DeBeatham, Franklin Ellis, Reuben Green, Kenneth McKay, Robert Skinner, George Smith and Prince Webb – who pledged their homes as collateral, made it possible for the membership to purchase its first property in 1968.
As the congregation exceeded the building’s seating capacity, a new facility was needed. While passing the synagogue at 339 Blue Hills Avenue, Pastor Barrett prayed that God would give this building to the church. Pastor Barrett’s community outreach included a weekly radio broadcast. His opening line, “Hello, this is Pastor Barrett”, was heard each Sunday morning. Although all his “faith visions” were not realized in his lifetime, he laid a tremendous groundwork for the momentous mortgage burning celebration, which occurred in 1988. Reverend Barrett missed this significant event because he went home to the Lord on June 30, 1987.
The Reverend Dr. L. Martin Wright succeeded Pastor Barrett in August 1987. Reverend Wright, his wife Sonia, and their four children served the church with distinction. During Pastor Wright’s tenure, the Lord added to the congregation. Pastor Wright had a burden for souls and an effective evangelistic ministry. He implemented the church’s first tent crusade. In February 1992, Reverend Wright was appointed Overseer of Southern New England and became the first black Overseer of a multicultural region. The building expansion project was birthed under his leadership and was later executed by his successor.
In March 1992, the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah McIntyre and his wife, Nysia Rose, succeeded the Wrights. The seasoned ministry of the McIntyres was introduced to the congregation. Like his predecessors, Pastor McIntyre was determined to evangelize Hartford. He was an exceptional teacher and a great communicator of the gospel. There were four worship services held on Sundays, including Sunday School. Overcrowding was still a challenge. Pastor McIntyre temporarily moved the church into the Lewis Fox Middle School for the “wilderness season”. The building expansion began after the groundbreaking service in 1997. Pastor McIntyre became ill and went to be with the Lord on November 17, 1997. During the transition, one of the ministers of the local church, Reverend Michael Mitchell, became the interim pastor. He prayerfully led the congregation until the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Jackson was installed as pastor in April 1998. Reverend Jackson served with his wife Elaine and his two sons. He was a gifted articulator of the gospel and an adept administrator. As the first pastor in the renovated facility, he had the arduous responsibility of bringing the congregation back from the “wilderness experience” and re-settling in the new building. The facility was dedicated on June 13, 1998.
In 1999, the Reverend Dr. Joscelyn A. Williams was elected pastor. Reverend Williams has been leading the church with a servant spirit. Out of his desire to provide individuals with a more intense study and application of the Word of God, he established The Peter C. Barrett Bible Institute, in 2001, with the assistance of June Thomas, a former Christian Education Director.
Beginning with a handful of members, the church has grown to be one of the largest Church of God congregations in Southern New England. Once again it became necessary to find a larger facility. While driving down Blue Hills Avenue, Pastor Williams was drawn to a parcel of land and he knew at that moment that would be the place of our new home. Pastor Williams inquired about the land and the Lord was favorable to the church once again. We broke ground in March 2007. Look what the Lord has done! The Lord has given us a new home and a new name, Rehoboth Church of God, (he called the name of it Rehoboth; F113 and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land). The church believes that, with God’s help, the next forty years will be greater than the last forty.
The Blue Hills Church of God has served the community through its GED classes, Substance Abuse Ministry, Food Pantry, Community Outreach (Church of God Day), support of area shelters, helping the homeless and a myriad of other community enrichment services. The church has made disciples in the community and will continue to evangelize the near and far as Jesus Christ commanded in the Great Commission.
Celebration Events are as follows:
Celebration March on Saturday, October 31, 2009
Starting 10:00 am at 339 Blue Hills Avenue, Hartford
Dedication Service on Saturday, November 14, 2009
Starting at 4:00 pm at 1170 Blue Hills Avenue, Bloomfield
Celebration Morning Worship on Sunday, November 15, 2009
10:45 am at 1170 Blue Hills Avenue, Bloomfield
Celebration Services November 15-18, 2009
7 pm Nightly at 1170 Blue Hills Avenue, Bloomfield
Reprinted with permission of the NorthEnd Agent's.
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