Church History

THE 60’S – A HUMBLE START

On February 18, 1968 Rev. Achoy O.

Mathews, Bros. M.S. Samuel, A.C. John, John C. Daniel, Abraham Samuel, Late Mathew George and Thomas Pushpamangalam gathered together in a small apartment at 600 West 113th Street, Manhattan in the residence of late Bro. Mathew George. The purpose of their meeting was to plan an organized gathering of Malayalee Pentecostals in the New York area to worship God. This initiate became the first organized Malayalee Church in North America. They named it INDIA CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLY (ICA). Rev. Achoy O. Mathews was nominated as the first pastor of the church. Shortly after origination, the members decided to have a central location for services and that was at All People’s Church, 424 West 44th Street, Manhattan. In April 1968, the late Rev. K. E. Abraham, founder of the Indian Pentecostal Church of God, and the late Rev. George Varghese visited ICA from India. These men of God became the inaugural guest speakers in our first convention, which was held from April 11-14, 1968. Their visit encouraged and strengthened the believers and ICA established a close affiliation with the Indian Pentecostal Church of God, Kerala, India. In 1969, ICA moved its location to a spacious meeting hall at the Hungarian Baptist Church, 225 East 80th Street, Manhattan. Pastors, M.S. Samuel and A.C. John took leadership in ministry at that point and for a time being.

THE 70’S – CHURCH EXPANSION

The late Rev. Oommen Abraham of Kumbanad, India became the Pastor of ICA in September 1971.Under his leadership, the church grew steadily. In this period, the church again had to relocate for a number of reasons and services were being held on sunday afternoons in a rented hall on Lorimer Street, Brooklyn. God enabled a further move to the United Nations Church Center, 777 U.N. Plaza, Manhattan in September 1971. This marked a new era for the church as we were able to hold worship services on Sunday mornings for the first time. On March 18, 1974, the church was incorporated under the Religious Corporation Act of the State of New York. When Rev. Oommen Abraham moved to Chicago, Bro. John C. Daniel conducted church meetings for four months to fill leadership gap. Then Rev. M.S. Samuel was elected as pastor who served until October 1974. Rev. K.E. Kurian from Kottayam, Kerala became pastor of ICA in November 1974 and he served in that capacity until February 1988. The church found new dimensions under his able ministry and church membership rapidly expanded. As a result of the growth, ICA moved again in 1976 – this time to the United Nations International School on East River Drive, Manhattan where we worshipped until May 1981. The church started its Sunday School ministry with three students in October 1974 and Bible Class Ministry was commenced in 1976 with it usually being held on Wednesday evenings.

THE 80’S – OUR OWN PLACE

God planted a seed in the hearts of our believers to secure a place of our own for worship. Members earnestly prayer for it and God enabled and answered our prayers. On February 21, 1981, God helped us to purchase the facility at 88-40 192nd Street, Hollis, New York. On June 7, 1981 we moved services to the new location. Pastor P.M. Philip, Kottayam, Kerala dedicated the sanctuary on October 10, 1981. A new Constitution and By-Laws for our church was drafted and adopted by the general body on April 14, 1982. As well, an effort for a dedicated Youth ministry was launched under the banner of Pentecostal Young Peoples Movement on October 12, 1980. In this period, the Women’s Fellowship meetings were first organized in order to foster unity and a framework for spiritual growth and expanded ministry for the sisters. As our church membership rolls increased, there was corresponding increase to church activities as well as greater level of spiritual ministry needs. To address this development, Bros Anthony V. Rocky, late Pampoor Varghese and George P. Chacko were elected as Deacons to assist the pastor – the Deacon designation as an officer of the church was maintained until 1998. We started a Radio Ministry in1981 named ‘Jeeva Vachanam” which was broadcasted every Saturday from 6:15 to 6:30 pm on WHBI radio FM 105.9. In 1981, we started the first Malayalam Television ministry on Channel 44. After Pastor Kurian’s tenure, Rev. John Daniel from Kerala was appointed as Pastor and he took charge in July 1988. The church found a spiritual revival under his leadership. Many new members were added to the church and many received water baptism each year.

THE 90’S NEW FRONTIERS

ICA ministry venues continued to grow through the late 80’s and into the 90’s. Through all, the church maintained its focus on the spiritual grown and development of its believers and the advancement of the mission field work in India. The ICA Library was launched on June 29, 1981 and formally dedicated by Rev. K.C. John. During this decade, we started a Youth Church in a separate part of the building – the initiate was taken partly because of the space restriction was encountered with the full assembly congregating in the main hall. In June, 1994 Rev. John Daniel moved to Houston, Texas to take leadership of IPC Houston after completing his term at ICA. The church appointed Rev. Thomas V. Koshy from Houston, Texas as the new Pastor. India Christian Assembly is renowned for mission support and charitable giving. For decades, we have been supporting hundreds of churches, individuals and outreach stations in India. This is enabled by the vision of our members to spread the gospel in all parts of our native land. from a charity standpoint, we continually provided financial support to needy students, build homes for the displaced, and deliver financial support for several constant and emerging needs.

00’S – ONWARD TILL HE RETURNS

This decade has observed the continued growth and expansion of the various ministry platforms of the church. ICA has seen the coming of age of many of the young people who were born or at least brought up in the church. They have been instrumental in taking the assembly to the new level of ministry and are active contributors to the planning and progress of the church in every way. ICA has flexibly expanded to open ministry channels based on developing needs and these include the Children’s Ministry and Couples Ministry. After the close of Rev. Thomas V. Koshy’s term, Rev. P.B. Thomas was appointed to lead the assembly in 2003 and he served until March 2008. Rev. Anthony V. Rocky took charge as Pastor in March 2008 who served until August 2009. Rev. Samuel John took charge as pastor in August 2009. ICA is more robust and more engaged in various ministry platforms now than ever before. The zeal of the believers is the fuel that has enabled ICA to operate at this level for years and decades. Fruitful ministry and service, both here and abroad, is a calling to which ICA will remain committed. Committed to the cause of Christ, we will remain focused on the mission, alert to the times, and dedicated to the purposes for which He has called us until His appearance when we shall be caught up to be with Him forevermore.

Come Quickly, Lord Jesus.