The Spirit of the Lord is here, I can feel it in the atmosphere, “Great is your faithfulness”, “To God be the glory”, were illustrative hymns sung by congregants, as they joined Reverend Dr. Clive E. Neil, born in Jamaica. on October 30, to commemorate the 170th anniversary of Bedford Central Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn.
Reverend Neil, who has pastored the house of worship, located on the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Dean Street for the past 34 years, welcomed and blessed the momentous occasion, which was attended by nationals of 30 different countries. Bedford Central, which was born under an apple tree in a field at Vanderbilt and Atlantic Avenue, in 1852, was the centerpiece of praise and glory, beginning with an invocation and song by Minister Sadie Walters. Jackie Woodbine’s poem “Why I Love Bedford Central,” followed by choreography of worship dancers, set the tone for a day of spiritual excellence.
Guest speaker, Reverend Dr. Kirkpatrick Cohall, in his distinguished sermon titled “The Power to Reshape Our Future,” read Jeremiah’s book. “So I went down to the potter and behold, I saw him working at the wheel, but the pot he was fashioning from clay was messed up in his hands, so the potter turned it into another pot shaping it as he saw fit,” said the preacher, who praised Reverend Neil for his strong leadership.
Reverend Cohall, leader of Lennox Road Baptist Church, noted that Bedford Central has been a beacon in Brooklyn, a stable institution, a place of refuge and hope for God’s people.
“Bedford Central is known beyond the borders of this city, and only time will tell how many people have been influenced and had their lives changed by this ministry. Any institution, religious or secular that has lasted 170 years must be doing something right.
The clergy, in their illustrious message, said the disciples were called and had a specific mission to change the world they live in, from darkness to light, hope for the hopeless, help and healing broken lives.
“The world has changed dramatically over the past three years. I don’t think there is a church that has stayed the same since the pandemic. Many pastors have left the ministry, America is experiencing violence against politicians, gun violence is escalating,” he said.
He stressed the importance for the church to transform people’s lives. Continue to be relevant. Always speak positively. I am your path maker. Even in times of loss, don’t be afraid to grow. Let the world know that Bedford Central is alive and well. Raise up your pastor’s hand. Give him strength as he enters his 171st year. It is extremely difficult to be a pastor, he shared.
“Exceed your expectations, reflect on the past for your future. Imagine a harvest that God expands your limits, giving you the strength to go beyond your limits. Set ambitious goals for your future,” he told the congregation, of the dozens of people who danced and sang happily during the celebratory hours.
Member of Parliament Yvette D. Clarke, who was welcomed, called Bedford Central a beacon in the community. “It’s wonderful to be back here celebrating 170 years of Brooklyn Central continuity, under the leadership of Pastor Neil, ie Par Excellence, adding, ‘we are truly blessed to have him , may God give him the strength to continue his ministry.
The politician then used the platform to encourage voters to vote. “We are in election time to choose your leadership in a democracy that is only protected by your participation,” she said, joining her colleagues Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblyman Brian Cunningham. , to present the resolutions passed in the Senate and the Assembly, honoring the 170 -year of existence.
Politicians have praised Reverend Neil for his commitment to the future of Bedford Central as he celebrates decades of community service.
“Thank you for your leadership. Keep us in your prayers and continue to bless the church and the community,” Assemblyman Cunningham said.
Senator Myrie joined his colleagues in asking voters to vote. “People are actively trying to suppress your vote. Exercise your constitutional right to vote, he urged.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries joined the celebration virtually and extended congratulatory greetings saying, “When two or three are gathered in his name, the Lord is among us. I would certainly like to thank you for the presence of the lord at this time as we deal with trials and tribulations.
“As we celebrate this wonderful occasion, there is so much to be grateful for. We are grateful for this great church family. I am grateful for 170 years of Bedford Central Presbyterian Church that you have been a refuge in times of storm, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, and because I know we serve such a good God, I am convinced that the best is yet to come. God bless you,” said Rep. Jeffries.
At the end of the day of commemoration, the faithful were invited to taste the islands in the annex of the church, accompanied by steelpan music.