The year was 1987. Hundreds of new Malayalee immigrant families had settled down in the various towns in Rockland. Most of them were christians from the different mainstream denominations, and among them were a few Pentecostals. No group in the county had a regular worship service or a permanent place for worship. Most believers in the area worshipped in congregations in New York City.

 Rev. Rajan Philip who was a teacher of Theology in India had migrated to the US in 1978. He was a member of the Ebenezer Full Gospel Assembly in Yonkers while pursuing his secular education. The yearning to be in the Lord's ministry was strong in him, and on his knees, was seeking guidance, to show him the right place to pioneer a ministry and plant a church. In 1985, he had moved to Rockland and realized that there was no Malayalee Pentecostal gathering in the area. This could be the place for him. Waiting on the lord, he eventually received the confirmation he needed, that Rockland was the land for him to till. Once he had the assurance, Rev. Philip never looked back.

The Grace Assembly of God was born on 30 October, 1987. The name was prayerfully and carefully chosen, and it was the reflection of the deep faith in the abiding grace of God. It started as a prayer meeting at the residence of Rev. Philip with just his family, John Philip and Blessy Chacko attending the first meeting. In the following weeks Kuriakose Kurien, his wife Sosamma Kurien and their two children, Sobhana Philip, and her husband Mathew Philip who had just arrived from India, joined them.  Soon after, the small congregation moved to a rented facility, the basement of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Spring Valley. The place was scrubbed and painted, and a few white folding chairs were purchased, the first assets of the church. The membership then was 12. 

Grace Assembly of God was officially inaugurated at 2 pm on the afternoon of Sunday, June 5, 1988. 32 people attended that Sunday service which was held at Faith Assembly of God in Chestnut Ridge, NY. Rev. Kenneth Tinch, Rev. Pappy Kunjukunju, Bro. P. Silaskutty and a handful of believers from other local churches participated in that service. 

The 'set in order meeting' of the church was on February 4, 1990 with Rev. William J. Behr, Asst. Superintendent of AG New York District in attendance. The congregation accepted the constitution and bylaws of the church, and selected E.J. Chacko and Mathew Philip as the first Secretary and Treasurer of Grace Assembly of God.

There was a steady increase in membership and God strengthened the worship. People were being saved and baptized, and by 1992 there was 56 active voting members.

It was soon obvious that the basement was insufficient to accommodate the growing church. Prayerfully, the church started looking for a new facility, and the Lord led them to the present site of the church in Spring Valley. It was a recreation club on sale. They took a bold leap of faith, the contract was signed, and the deal closed on June 29, 1992. The tremendous support of the members and the New York District of the AG in this regard deserves special mention.

The facility required some renovations and modifications to transform it to a place of worship. With the hearty cooperation of the members, the renovation was completed within a short span of time, and the Sunday service was shifted to the new facility. 

The dedication of the new church building was on 21 November, 1992. Rev Clayton Glickert was the guest of honor. Other ministers of the gospel such as Rev. V.S. George, Rev. K.P. Titus, Rev. M.S. Mathai, Rev. Wilson Jose, Rev. T.P. Varghese, Rev T.C. Mathew, and Rev. Abraham Samuel, and serval believers attended the service.

Regular and systematic home visits and prayers by Rev. Philip and the believers attracted many to the portals of Grace Assembly. Convention meetings and special Bible classes by spirt-filled servants of God opened their hearts to the Truth of the Word, and the church became a fountain of blessing to those looking for spiritual sustenance. Rev. Philip baptized manny of them, and by the end of the 20th century, the membership increased to about 85 adults and several children.

The members of the Grace AG formed a loving and caring extended family. Burdens of individuals and families became the burden of the church, and the brothers and sisters bonded together to support those in need - both in prayers and in extending a helping hand when required. Member took it upon themselves to fast and pray until the needs of their brethren were met - a truly caring and sharing community.

Being a Malayalee congregation, Malayalam was used in Sunday worship service from the beginning. However, considering the needs of the growing youth population, worship in English was given due importance, and this has contributed to the active interest and participation of youth in church ministry.

Into the 21st century

The first decade of the 21st century was a period of multi-faceted activities and vigorous growth for Grace AG. 


The youth group in the church was maturing into responsible men and women with a burden for souls and new ideas for evangelization. They had begun a Vacation Bible School in 1998, and by 2000 it had become an annual summer event that the children of the locality looked forward to.

A Catchy and meaningful name was found for the youth group and its activities - Kids to Kingdom, abbreviated into k2K. The activity-and-fin-filled VBS organized by k2K captured national attention, and the k2K group was invited to lead the children's programs in the PCNAK, AGIFNA and Church of God conferences. This was indeed a great honor and recognition for the hard work of the youth group. In addition, they undertook mission trips to Delhi, Mexico, and Honduras and supported activities of orphanages that were identified in those places. The services of Bennett Varghese and team in organizing and developing k2K into a group with a divine purpose need special mention.  


Mission Fields

From its early days, the church was committed to supporting mission work in different places. It started with support for mission stations in Malabar area. By the turn of the century, the church was sponsoring about 55 ministries in different parts of the world, including India, Tanzania, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Guatemala. Several members of the church went on mission trips to places such as . Mexico, Argentina, Honduras India, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia, and preached the Word of God. The trips were life-changing experiences for them. Many souls were saved and added to the Kingdom of God. The Lord also enabled the church to help construct about 10 church buildings in different parts of the world. k2K took up the challenge of raising finds to construct a mission station in Tanzania, and complete constriction work of a facility in Delhi. The effort continues.


Looking Ahead

As the church celebrates God's grace and faithfulness in the past 25 years, it is committing itself to more ardent labor in the areas of mission support and reaching the local community. Decision has been made to adopt a revenue district in the backward areas of Utharanchal in North India and establish/support pioneer mission fields there. Also on the drawing board are plans to reach out to the lcoal community and find ways to minister to them in more meaningful ways. 

With fervent prayers and renewed faith in the all-sufficient grace of Lord Jesus Christ, Grace Assembly of God continues its march forward!  The best days are still ahead. May his spirit continue to inspire the church and guide its missions as it enters another phase of its existence!