Harvest of Praise Church of God located at 17 Heaton Street, Rochester, New Hampshire is part of the Church of God, with International Headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee. The Church of God is the oldest Pentecostal church/denomination in the United States of America, dating back to 1896 when a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred in a revival at Shearer schoolhouse in Cherokee County, North Carolina. From that date in 1896 the Church of God has grown to be an International church.
Harvest of Praise Church of God began as a mission work in September of 1977 under the direction of its first pastor, Reverend David A. Ricks, after the Northern New England Church of God Regional Offices in Falmouth, Maine purchased the church building on Heaton Street in Rochester from the United Pentecostal Church, now known as Grace Community Church on Rochester Hill Road. The building was originally built and owned by Emmanuel Advent Christian Church, now located on Eastern Avenue in Rochester.
In the Fall of 1978 Reverend Joseph R. Gaines was appointed as the second pastor of the church. During that period of time a store-front mission work from Central Avenue in Dover, under the direction of Earl and Shirley Brown of Rochester, merged with the Harvest of Praise Church of God.
Organizing of the Church
On March 16, 1979, the Harvest of Praise Church of God was officially organized as a Church of God. Reverend Ariel Yorkman, the Northern New England Church of God Regional Overseer officiated over the organizing of the church, receiving ten charter members into the church. The charter members were: Reverend Joseph R. Gaines, Sharon F. Gaines, Calvin A. Morse, Nehemiah Read, Eleanor Read, Earl Brown, Shirley Brown, Edward Sculley Jr., Judith Sculley, and Shirley Butler.
In August of 1979 Pastor Gaines was appointed as the Director of the Church of God Servicemen's Center, in Madrid, Spain. He then resigned as pastor of the church in Rochester. In mid August of that year Reverend Laren E. Whaley was appointed as the third pastor of the church. He and his family moved to Rochester from Maryland and arrived in Rochester on October 2, 1979, to begin their pastorate at the church.
On Sunday, Oct 3, 2004, Pastor & Mrs. Laren E. Whaley celebrated 25 years of pastoral ministry at the Harvest of Praise Church of God. Dr. O. Wayne Brewer, the Administrative Bishop of the Church of God Northern New England Region and his wife were special guest. The church gave the pastor and his wife a luncheon following the service. A special Gospel Concert was held during the Evening Worship Service with New England's own Gospel Singer, Ken Fernald.
On Saturday, October 3, 2009, a Singspiration Celebration was held at the Harvest of Praise Church of God in Rochester to celebrate Pastor Laren and Linda Whaley’s 30 years of pastoral ministry at the church. Guest singers and musicians from several churches in the Rochester area came together to share their gifts and talents in a time of praise and worship to God. Participating in the Singspiration Celebration were: Emmanuel Advent Christian Church Choir of Rochester, under the direction of Pastor John Byars; The group GRASP (Group Reciting Alternate Songs of Praise) from the First United Methodist Church of Rochester; William E. Neenan, Jr. from Grace Baptist Church of East Rochester; Jason O’Brian and Jeremy Raitt from Vermont; and Linda Jazowski from the Harvest of Praise Church of God. Following the Singspiration Celebration a reception was held for the Whaley’s in the church fellowship hall.
Doctrinal Positions of the Church
The Harvest of Praise Church of God is an Evangelical, Pentecostal church.
As a Evangelical church we are fundamental in our doctrine. The five points of evangelical Christianity are historically and permanently the bedrock of our belief.
The first is the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures.
Second is the evangelical belief in the virgin birth and complete deity of Christ.
The third evangelical position is in the literal resurrection of the body, with eternal life for the righteous and eternal punishment for the wicked.
The fourth point of evangelical Christianity is the atoning sacrifice of Christ's death for the sins of the world.
Finally is the evangelical assertion of Christ's second coming in bodily form to the earth.
In every point, our faith is the historic, fundamental Christian faith, not in creed only but also in practice and living hope.
As a Pentecostal church, we believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This experience is a separate work of grace for all believers in Christ who will receive it. Just as believers in Christ on the Day of Pentecost received the Holy Spirit, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit, so believers in Christ today can receive the same experience. Although this baptism is not a requisite or requirement to salvation, it endues the believer with power for service and provides added strength and boldness for Christian living.
We also believe in the spiritual gifts enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12, and that these gifts are in operation in the church today. These gifts are an eternal part of the plan of God, as vital today as in the days of the Bible. The church especially emphasizes divine healing, believing that provision for healing was made in the atonement of Christ.
Ministries of the Church
The church offers a wide range of ministries for the entire family. With Sunday School, Sunday Morning Worship Service and Children's Church, Intercessory Prayer Groups, Family Training Hour on Wednesday night with Adult Bible Studies, All worship services offer lively gospel music and Bible centered preaching.
Celebrating its 25th year in 2009 Lighthouse Christian Academy is a New Hampshire State approved Christian School using Abeka Book Publications Curriculum in Grades K5 and First Grade and Alpha Omega LifePac Curriculum in Grades 2 - 12. For More information about Lighthouse Christian Academy click our link on the left side of this page or email us at LCARochesterNH@aol.com .
A Community Minded Church
The church is highly involved with the ministry of the Evangelical Minister's Fellowship of Strafford County (EMF) which ministers to the greater Rochester area in special services and events. For over ten years Pastor Laren E. Whaley has planned the National Day of Prayer Emphasis, Meet At City Hall on the first Thursday of May on the front lawn of the Rochester City Hall. He has also for over ten years planned and presented the Annual Gospel Concerts on the Rochester Common on one Saturday night in July or August. The church is also involved in the annual Good Friday Services at the Grace Baptist Church of East Rochester, NH with various churches being involved in the service. The church is also involved in regular worship services at the Sunbridge Care & Rehabilitation of Rochester, which are rotated monthly between several churches in the EMF. On the last Sunday of the month we also hold a worship service for the residents of the Gafney Home on Wakefield Street. The Harvest of Praise Puppet Ministry performs at community events such as the Lilac City Fun Festival in May and the Rochester Night Out Against Crime in August.
A Missions Minded Church
The church is a missions minded church giving to Foreign and Home Missions. Supporting missionaries in Chile, Brazil and Germany. As well as giving to Options For Women Pregnancy Help Center in Dover, and The Smoky Mountain Children's Home in Sevierville, TN.
For Additional Information
For additional information about the services and ministries of the Harvest of Praise Church of God, please feel free to us 603 335-1151 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .