The fervent need to pray God, the ardent desire to worship Him corporately, and the joint determination to participate in the Great Commission encouraged the Reverend Joseph Etienne and other Christian brothers to found Eglise Baptiste de la Nouvelle Jerusalem (New Jerusalem Baptist Church) on March 17, 1979 in New Jersey. This church was officially recognized by the state of New Jersey in September 1980.
This great assembly which currently stands at 800 members began with quite a lot of necessities. But the most urgent of them was to have a suitable place to worship God. Looking forward to this place, the members experienced bitter disappointments which, paradoxically, strengthened their faith in God and incited them to contribute financially with an incredible generosity. The wait was not too long! Six years after the founding of the church, a building was finally purchased in 1985. By faith the members vowed not to remain in the same renting locations in East Orange, New Jersey (2 years in Munn Avenue and three years in the YMCA in North Arlington). In late December of 1984, due to various acts of persecution at the hands of the landlords, the church members packed their belongings, determined to reconvene in a new building. The Lord answered their prayers and consequently, the first worship service of the New Year was celebrated in their newly owned property on the premises of 18th Avenue in Newark, New Jersey on January 6, 1985. The congregation stayed in Newark for 11 years before settling down in its current location in Irvington, New Jersey in November 1996. Under the leadership of the founding pastor: Joseph Etienne; the founding members: Arnold Pierre, St. Jean Fombrun, Alexandre Hippolyte, and Pierre Phalaise; the committee’s presidents: Arnold Pierre, St. Jean Fombrun, late Juléus P. Jules, Servidieu Ojentis and late Lesly Georges, Jerome Morency, Franckline Casimir-Benoit, current president. God has blessed Eglise Baptiste de la Nouvelle Jerusalem immensely during the last 35 years!
Concerning spiritual growth, several ministries have helped: Christian education, the Youth, and other various groups. In 1981, Elvéus Sylvain, the current Senior Pastor, was appointed superintendent of Christian education. He spent approximately 17 years in this post. In 1998, Arthur Guiard replaced him. Two years later, Evangelist Voltaire Pierre was called to succeed him as superintendent. During this period the church grew spiritually, intellectually, and economically.
The youth and young adult ministry has contributed actively to the church’s success. It began in 1981 with Reverend Elvéus Sylvain. Some years later, Elie Jean-Pierre was elected president. He was succeeded by Voltaire Pierre, Luckner Jean Marie, Lesly Georges, Louis Charles Jean Baptist, and Nelson Thermitus, Rajai Jean-Baptiste, Nerline Paul, Valdo Pierre, its current president. Upon his return from Dallas Theological Seminary, Kenslio Ojentis was ordained as Pastor of the youth and young adult ministry. He envisions the youth and young adult ministry to be an edifying, exalting and evangelizing community. In cooperation with the youth committee, he believes that each youth member must know God through Christ, glorify Him and make Him known. He is currently Senior Associate Pastor. Rev. Nelson Thermitus is currently Associate Pastor.
In regards to missions, “Operation from Church to Church” was established in 2002 in order to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide. Jorel Dort, as its appointed director, and a group of missionaries/church members have dedicated their lives to bringing much needed assistance to various areas in Haiti and simultaneously sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. This ministry is composed of an evangelism team, a medical team, a children’s summer camp team, and a counseling team.
Under the direction of the committee, another building was purchased recently to meet the needs of the growing congregation and its various ministries. The renovation would cost approximately six million dollars. This figure frightens many in the congregation but with the Lord’s help, it is indeed achievable. This project is going to allow l’Eglise Baptiste de la Nouvelle Jerusalem to continue to expand its impact within the community of Irvington and to the ends of the earth for the cause of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.