Gethsemane Garden Baptist Church (G.G.B.C.) began in March of 1973 when eight members were led by the inspiration of God, to create what was then known as, “The Prayer Circle”
The Prayer Circle, began at 749 FDR Drive, in New York City at the home of the late beloved Mother Fannie Love. God allowed every member’s home to be blessed with services continuing throughout Jacob Riis Houses, creating the name “The Prayer Circle.” God directed these eight members, to raise monies for the purpose of opening a house of worship. The members were the late Ruth Williams, The late Fannie Love, Sister Carlene Fowler, The late Deacon Alberta Todd, Deacon Theresa Pratt, the late Alberta Collins (G.G.B.C. First Mother), the late LeRoy Collins, and Deacon Jacob Hill.
The Prayer Circle emerged as a little storefront church, located on 327 East 3rd Street, in Manhattan, with only the founding eight members. Although they were small in number and size, GOD blessed them with a host of speakers for 9 months. God was always at work in The Prayer Circle’s congregation. To show Himself faithful, He sent the late Sister Catherine Brown; as the first Directress of music. On December 30th, 1973, God sent Rev. Bishop E. Wright as Pastor Elect of the church. God laid it upon the late Mother Collins heart to ask Rev. Wright, the meaning of the word, Gethsemane. Rev. Wright replied, “It means a solemn, sacred place.” It was at this time, The Prayer Circle, received the name it holds today, Gethsemane Garden Baptist Church (G.G.B.C.)
G.G.B.C. was dedicated by the Goodwill Association on April 25th, 1974, being recognized as a denominational church. On May 26th, 1974,
Rev. Jethro Wright, a member of the Goodwill Association, and Uncle to Rev. Bishop E. Wright, officially installed his nephew, as Pastor of Gethsemane Garden Baptist Church. While under Pastor Wright's leadership, G.G.B.C. began to grow and was blessed with many milestone memories.
August 3rd 1974, the first G.G.B.C Baptism were held at New Covenant Baptist Church, now recognized as LaGree Baptist Church, Harlem, NY. Candidates were, Sisters Naomi Ferguson, Theresa Pratt, and Alberta Todd.
The historical time-line, of Gethsemane's leadership shows Gods continued blessings, each adding a seasonal ingredient, for the ministry. The order, of overseers, to present: Reverend Bishop E. Wright, the late Pastor Strain, the late Pastor Gregory L. Pristell, Evangelist Earlean Oliver (acted as Pastor for two years), the late Reverend Lamon C. Perry, and on December 5th, 1998 the installation service was held for our own Pastor Earlean Oliver, “The Great Woman Of God” who was installed by the late Reverend Charles Mixon.
Pastor Oliver licensed four Evangelist: The late Eloise Wright, Mary Barnes, Jean Moore, Patricia McWilliams and Annette Esquilin. Pastor Oliver also, ordained two Deacons: The late Alberta Todd (the first female Deacon), and Clyde Stewart. Adding to the Ministerial Staff, Pastor Oliver ordained the late Jessica Thomas, and Elizabeth Keels, as Reverends of the Church. Rev. Keels was later installed as the Assistant Pastor.
On April 2nd, 2011 two more Deacons were ordained, Brother Gregory Small, and First Man, Jacob Oliver. In doing so, it also made way for the newest Deaconess; Sister Donalda Smalls.
On May 30th of 2015 three more Deacons were ordained, Deacon Isiah Hall, Deacon Robert Ross, and Deacon Keith Herring. This made way for a new Deaconess Missionary Gina Moore-Herring. And in March 2018 Pastor installed another Deacon, Deacon Andrew Ford, and this also made way for a new Deaconess Sister Chanda Ford.
G.G.B.C. greatly missed our Beloved Mother Fanny Love, who was called home by God, February 16, 2010. Today G.G.B.C. is blessed to have three additional Mothers: Mother Rev. Napier, Mother Sarah Hill, Mother Evangelist Jean Moore, Mother Lucina Prince, Mother Eugenia Sanders, and Mother Folk.
On March 7th, 2020, Reverend Elizabeth Keels (Assistant Pastor), was elevated by God, and installed as the New Pastor of Gethsemane Garden Baptist Church. On that same day, her mother, Pastor Earlean Oliver, was elevated by God, and installed as Overseer of Gethsemane Garden Baptist Church. One week later the COVID Pandemic hit and G.G.B.C. closed its doors and began online Zoom services. For over one year, despite being in quarantine, Pastor Keels has not allowed it to stop her ministry. God has blessed Gethsemane with a new Zoom ministry that is allowing our church, and our message of love, to broaden our reach to get to more people than ever before with the use of technology. The blessing continue to come forth as members are continuing to grow spiritually, thanking God for the new things he is doing in our ministry.
What began as a “The Prayer Circle” consisting of eight members, has manifested into a multitude, through the grace of God. Today, G.G.B. C. has three choirs: The Senior Choir, Men In Black, and The Earlean Oliver Ensemble. We've been blessed with three Ministers of Music: Sister Rudenia Spencer who is Organist & Director of Senior Choir & Men In Black. For 10 years, Brother Leon McCamery was Organist & Director of The Earlean Oliver Ensemble, with Evangelist John Pena as drummer.
We have a Meal Ministry, free food is distributed and clothes are given away. The Church doors are open to all seeking salvation, prayer, and guidance, as well as knowledge of the Word of GOD.
As God heard the prayer and petition request of His children to enlarge their territory, God delivered. Today, it is with great pleasure that we can say, G.G.B.C. has been located at 223 East 7th Street, New York, N.Y. 10009 since September 7, 2002. We've come a long way by faith, leaning on the Lord and trusting in His Holy Word.
TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!!!
NOTE: In September 2004, we opened
The Community Bible Institute of Manhattan.
This school operated for 8 years until we were
hit by “Hurricane Sandy” in October of 2012.
But once again, God restored, and we were
able to regain access to our beautiful sanctuary.