Churchgoers at the Everlasting Life Church of God In Christ on Sunday night in Schenectady were doing anything but winding down as they packed the church pews to celebrate the congregation’s 13th anniversary.
The church and the congregation, which is a Pentecostal denomination, is currently housed on Avenue A in Schenectady. The congregation, according to the church’s history told by congregation officials on Sunday, came from humble beginnings.
Pastor William A. Rucker, along his wife, now First Lady of the congregation Mittie Rucker, prior to the formation of the congregation, met with 12 other Everlasting Life COGIC members in the garage of his home to discuss the plan to officially form the congregation and locate a suitable worship space.
The Ruckers and their small initial congregation held their first official church service in January of 2007 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, and were able to reach an agreement with that congregation to hold regular services at the church.
In 2008, when that ministry was dissolved, Rucker’s congregation was able to buy the church building, which has been the congregation’s home ever since.
In the 13 years that have gone by, the congregation has conducted youth outreach ministry programs, purchased a 15-passenger van that transports members of the congregation, remodeled interior areas of the church, including the dining hall and kitchen, build a handicap ramp into the building and begin hosting a bread pantry each Saturday, along with a clothing pantry.
Sunday night’s service, which ran from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., saw a packed house with congregation members of every age present.
As Rucker called the gathered members to worship on Sunday, the congregation rose to its feet together, well-versed in the song sung and each member calling out the words and lyrics to hymns in response to Rucker’s call, as the congregation’s drummer accompanied the music on a stage at the front of the hall.
Sunday’s service saw guests of the congregation lead songs in prayer, all of them touching on the significance of the congregation’s 13-year landmark.
“On behalf of Pastor William Rucker and First Lady Mitte Rucker, we welcome you,” congregation member Shane Counts said during her welcome segment of the service.
The service spanned many different topics relevant to the congregation and the run of its existence, with solo segments of song from both regular congregation members and guests of other congregations who were there to celebrate, including the Willing Workers Church of God and Christ, and guest speakers, including Pastor Donnell Roulhac from that church.
Congregation member Antonia Brown, who led the congregation through a lengthy praise and worship segment, said at the conclusion of her time that it was through the power of the congregation itself that the church had found success, and would continue to stand strong through future years.
“This is such a blessing,” Brown called out to the congregation, who returned her smile and wide open arms with thanks and smiles of their own.