In 1934 a group of born-again ladies, members of the Italian Christian Church at 167th Street and Intervale Avenue, under the spiritual leadership of Pastor Silvio Margadonna, began holding home prayer meetings, seeking God's guidance for the establishment of a church in the Van Nest area. Their outreach began with door-to-door witnessing. Within a short period of time, a Friday night prayer meeting was established and space was rented at 1722 Adams Street, Bronx, New York.
On November 3, 1934, The Italian Christian Church of Van Nest (the former name of Van Nest Assembly of God), held their first evening service led by Reverend Vincent Zizzo and Reverend Francesco DiPucci. Monday and Wednesday evening services were soon added to this growing congregation as Rev. Zizzo took care of the Monday services and Rev. DiPucci took care of the Wednesday evening services. While the church was located at Adams Street, all the services were conducted in Italian.
On May 1, 1943, the church began services in their new building located at 702 Rhinelander Avenue, Bronx, NY. Seven years later, Rev. Vincent Zizzo, the senior pastor, answered God's call to establish a work in Turin Italy. At Rev. Zizzo's request, Rev. Dominick Tuminaro became the new pastor, ministering in English.
At each level of growth the congregation responded to the call as larger facilities were added. On September 24, 1961 the present edifice at 755 Rhinelander Avenue, Bronx, NY was dedicated.
After 40 years of faithful ministry to Van Nest Assembly of God, Rev. Dominick Tuminaro retired. On August 1, 1990 Rev. David H. Hernquist became the Senior Pastor of Van Nest Assembly of God. The church has continued to grow and develop into a multicultural evangelistic church with five services every Sunday and various ministry programs throughout the week.
With this rich history as a solid foundation, it's time to dream again and build for the future...the New Heritage. Proverbs 29:18 clearly states, "Where there is no vision the people perish." Part of this vision is about having a world-class facility that has room for increased levels of ministry. Clearly we are running out of space.
The vision goes far beyond convenience. This New Heritage is about reaching out to a new generation. Our children need more classrooms, our youth need a safe place in which to gather and play, our adult programs need to expand and our entire church family needs a larger sanctuary to hold those yet to be reached.
Through this new facility we can enlarge the scope of our influence in this community. We can offer after-school programs, hold larger events, and create a launching pad for strategic outreach. This is much more than a brick and mortar program - it is a God-given opportunity to build an edifice that will glorify and advance His Kingdom. Together, this vision will become a reality.
As we move toward a "New Heritage", we appreciate those who have given in the past to make it possible for us to worship together in our present building. Now it is our turn to give in order that we might expand our facilities, not only to accommodate our present growing congregation, but also to look to the future believing God for an even greater increase.
Recently, we have learned that those who gave in the Book of Exodus to build the Tabernacle were to do so with a willing heart. We also learned that God gives His people power to create wealth. That power primarily is in the seed sown, namely, in the offering given to expand His Kingdom. Thus our theme for this campaign is "Giving Willingly to Expand God's Kingdom".
I am excited about what God is going to do in our hearts and lives as we step out in this adventure of faith.