In the summer of 1899, three men who had become acquainted as commuters on the D. L. & W., learned in conversing that they had all been members of Disciples Churches in other parts of the country. Later, they found a few more and decided that, if enough could be located who would work and contribute, it would be advantageous to organize a Church in the Ampere section, which was at the time, being built up from open fields into an attractive community of new homes. There was no other Church within reasonable reach.
The first recorded meeting of the group was held on October 31, 1899 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kelland in Newark, NJ. Reverend S. T. Willis from one of our New York Churches had arranged to be present but, illness prevented this so the group adjourned to meet again in two weeks at the YMCA in Newark, NJ. Mr. Willis, at that time, explained the attitude of the Cincinnati Convention regarding the extension work in the Seaboard States, and the possible help that might be expected from the Board of Church Extension.
Other meetings in homes led to the renting of a portion of the plumbing shop of J. A. Thorpe at Park Avenue and 14th Street in East Orange, NJ. The first Service was held there on January 14, 1900, the opening month of the twentieth century.
Our First Minister:
In October 1900, the Home Mission Board of the Brotherhood came to the aid of these enthusiastic Founders and made it possible to engage Robert Shepherd as Pastor.
A Lot Is Purchased:
In November 1900, this time with the help of a loan from the Board of Church Extension, a lot was bought for $3,350 at Park Avenue and 17th Street. The small congregation made great sacrifices to pay this off in a few years.
The Present Building:
The cornerstone for the new structure was laid October 27, 1907 and the Dedication Services were held on November 29, 1908.
Mr. Wells served as Pastor until 1912.
From 1912-1918, the Minister was Walter M. Haushalter
From 1918-1924, Ray E. Hunt served as Pastor
After being without a Minister for about a year, the Church called L Ward McCreary
Succeeding Mr. McCreary on October 1, 1948 was Samuel F. Freeman
As early as 1902, the records show that a Christian Women's Missionary Society and a Ladies Society had been started. These continued until combined as the Christian Women's Fellowship in 1953. A Christian Endeavor Society was formed in the "Chapel" days. This was replaced by the Young People's Forum and in turn, by the present Christian Youth Fellowship groups. In the peak period of the Sunday School, there were many organized classes. The Women's Bible Class kept its identity and activities until a few years ago.
Assisting the Minister
Ministerial students have done field work with the Church on a part-time basis. First of these was I. O. Foss. He acted as a Religious Education Director. L. Vernon Blankenship, Loren R. Fisher and Donald B. Rogers acted as Student Minister's.
In 1956, Reverend Willis was called as Pastor, he served until 1961. From 1961 until 1973 the following Ministers served: Reverend Hillman, Reverend Clayborn, Reverend Peoples. In 1972 Reverend Anthony H. Carter was called and he served until 1978. At this time, Reverend Theodore Friedy was called, he served until 1985. In September 1985, Reverend Raiford S. Wheeler was called as interim Pastor. At the congregational meeting held on Sunday, June 1, 1986, Reverened Wheeler was called as Pastor. Reverend Wheeler was Pastor of PACC for over 27 years. He was instrumental for many Ministers getting their start and for many Ministries being birthed.
About Our Pastor
Pastor Harriet Wallace is a native of Rockingham, North Carolina. She is the 12th child of 13 siblings born to the late Henry James and Sadie Louise Everett, Sr. Reverend Wallace migrated to New Jersey in 1980 where she met her husband of 36 years Gary Wallace, Sr. To this union were born 3 children; Sophia, Gary Jr., and Naomi.
Reverend Wallace returned to school in January of 1998 to complete her Bachelor's of Art degree in Religious Studies and Theology as God began to quicken her Spirit. She attended the College of New Rochelle (CNR) at the New York Theological Seminary campus in Manhattan, New York where she completed her undergraduate studies graduating Cum Laude in May 2000. She also completed her Masters of Divinity at Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey on May 15, 2004, where she was selected by the committee as the recipient of various awards for outstanding academic performance; the William M. Reider scholarship (2000-2001), Fred Herrigel Endowed Scholar Award (2002-2003), and the Alfred Morgan Waller Award (2003-2004). Her goal for the future is to pursue a Doctorate of Ministry.
Reverend Wallace served as one of the Associate Ministers from 1994-2004. After receiving her MDiv degree, she was ordained under the tutelage of Reverend Raiford S. Wheeler and became the Assistant Pastor. In October 2010, she was appointed Executive Pastor due to an unforeseen illness, which Pastor Wheeler endured until God called him home in July 2012.
On July 21, 2013, she was installed as the Senior Pastor/Teacher at the Park Avenue Christian Church (DOC) in East Orange, New Jersey. She serves in many capacities in her Church. She is the Facilitator for the Ministerial Staff, Nurturer Ministry Instructor, (where new Souls coming to Christ can be prepared for effective Kingdom building), Worship Leader, Wednesday evening Lecturer/Teacher, adult Sunday School Assistant Teacher, Prayer Ministry Facilitator, Intercessory Prayer Leader, Advisor, Mentor, Instructor and a Role Model for those she meets.
Since Pastor Wallace's installation, God has moved swiftly in and through her life by having several renovation projects completed in troubled areas in the Church. They are as follows: a complete new roof for the first time in 30 years, handicap & upstairs conference room bathrooms completely gutted and redone, Communion room, upstairs Fellowship Hall kitchen, and the 70 Park Avenue front steps completely redone. Also, several Ministries have been birthed as well and are flourishing through her leadership. Lock-in (where teaching and training take place for the youth to maneuver toward their purpose), Tiny Tots Ministry, Sweep Clean Ministry, Readers are Leaders Ministry, Singles/Married couples/Children Bowling Ministry, and HANSAS (Have A Need Sow A Seed) Ministry.
Pastor Wallace's witness of the Faith journey entails that JESUS is the CHRIST, the SON of the LIVING GOD and she proclaims HIM LORD and SAVIOR of the world. Her favorite Scripture is Romans 8:28 "and we know that all things work together for good to them that Love GOD, to them who are the called according to HIS Purpose". Pastor Wallace's trust lies in God, who has Anointed, Ordained, Consecrated, Set Aside, Chosen, Separated and Appointed her to Teach and Preach with Power, Conviction, and Love so that individuals will hear what the Spirit saith unto the Church for such a time as this. Her Prayer is that she remains Humble and open to the Spirit's voice and to be used as a vessel unto Honor for the Glory of God!