DISTRICT: New York City
LOCATION: 344 Brook Ave, Bronx, New York 10454
DATE OF FOUNDING: 1987
AVERAGE SUNDAY WORSHIP ATTENDANCE: 100
SERVICE TIMES: Sundays, 2:45 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 p.m.
PASTORS: Celso and Zulma Jaime
God gave EMM the vision to establish a Garifuna church in the Bronx in 1986. Pastors Migdolio Miranda and Matias Arana in Santa Fe, Honduras recommended that EMM search for Celso Jaime, who had immigrated to the USA and lived in the Bronx. Pastor Esteban Garcia, who led a Garifuna church in Brooklyn, found Celso and his family in February 1987 at the Beulah Pentecostal Church. After careful discernment, the family began a new ministry in their apartment at 909 Kelly St. with the help of pastor Garcia.
As the congregation grew, it shared space at a church located at Freeman St. and Southern Blvd. Then in 1987 with the help of Bishop Monroe Yoder, the congregation moved to 344 Brook Ave., the prior location of Glad Tidings Mennonite Church. The membership is mainly Garifuna, but members from México and the Dominican Republic also worship in the church. The congregation welcomes people from all nations. Their services use two languages, Garifuna and Spanish and, when necessary, translate to English. Worship songs are mostly in Garifuna, but God has blessed the Church with composers who write music in Garifuna.
On May 5-6, 2017, the Evangelical Garifuna Church in Bronx celebrated its 30th anniversary of ministry. Leaders of Garifuna churches from all around the United States and from Honduras traveled to New York to celebrate together. Leaders held meetings, food was shared, the Word of God was preached, and honor given to Pastor Celso Jaime and his wife Zulma.
As a congregation, we preach the gospel to our local community and among the Garifuna community. The Food Pantry and the Immigration Program provide needed services of food and legal help. Immigration aid occurs in partnership with MCC and Garifuna Services. We also help people with temporary housing. The Anabaptist Biblical Institute has a study center at our location, funded through Mennonite Education Agency. Casa Nueva Esperanza, begun in 1999, ministers to more than 120 orphans whose parents died from HIV/AIDS in Honduras.
By the grace of God and the help of pastors Galileo Bernardez and Pastor Omar Guzmán and other ministers, our Church has multiplied across the United States. All of these churches are connected through the Mennonite Garifuna Mission, with the objective to strengthen believers and to continue multiplying churches.
We thank God for everything he has done, for what he is doing and for what he will do. Bungiu Wama (God is with us).
The Garifuna live in the coastal Caribbean area of Central America and some Caribbean Islands. They are an ethnic group descended from a mix of Amerindian and African people. The African ancestors survived the wreck of a slave ship in the late 1600s. The survivors reached the island of Bequia. From this island migration occurred to the coastal areas of Central America and other places, including the United States. The group speaks the Garifuna language and often Spanish as well.