Bethesda COGIC

 Affirmation of Faith | Bethesda Church History

"Celebrating 74 Years in Christian Ministry"

Bethesda Church of God in Christ had its humble beginnings in the year of 1936, when Elder James H. Screven was appointed as Pastor of a small storefront church in Newark, NJ formerly known as Holy Chapel Church of God in Christ. Under the esteemed leadership of Bishop J.H. Screven, the church was renamed Bethesda Church of God in Christ. In the year of 1988, Elder Nathaniel L. Screven, Sr., the son of Bishop J. H. Screven, became Pastor of the four hundred-member congregation, and under his capable and faithful leadership the church continued its rapid growth and progress. Currently, Superintendent Ahmed M. Screven, the son of Bishop Nathaniel L. Screven, Sr., serves as the Senior Pastor of the church and continuing in the traditions of his forefathers, proclaims sound biblical truths to God's people encouraging their spiritual growth and discipleship in Christ.

Bishop James H. Screven

A native of the Peachtree State of Georgia, Bishop J.H. Screven was reared in a home where he was taught the values of living a Christian Life. As a young man he traveled extensively throughout the east coast before settling in Jersey City, NJ where he met and Married Ms. Alice Young in 1928. Together, Bishop J.H. Screven and Dr. Alice Screven raised eight beautiful children who were all taught the principles of Christianity.

His career in the ministry began in 1930 as a student of the late Reverend C.W. Johnson. In 1936, Bishop J.H. Screven was appointed as Pastor of the Holy Chapel Church; and in 1940, the Holy Chapel Church was renamed Bethesda Church of God in Christ. Under the esteemed leadership of Bishop J.H. Screven, the church gradually grew in size and spirit, and in 1964, moved to the current beautiful edifice in the Clinton Hill section of Newark at 546 Clinton Avenue.

During his lifetime, Bishop J.H. Screven accomplished many goals including the establishment of a drug abuse program in the Clinton Hill community, a food program for the hungry and a pre-school for community youngsters. In his honor the corner of Clinton Avenue and Hedden Terrance was renamed “Reverend James H. Screven Plaza” in 1992.

Bishop Nathaniel L. Screven, Sr.

screven2 picBorn in Jersey City, NJ, and later moving to Newark, NJ, Bishop N.L. Screven, Sr., A.A., B.A., Th.B., M.A., M.R.E., Th.M., Th.D.  was educated in the Newark Public School System, was a High School graduate of Saints Industrial School, the COGIC's National School, in Lexington Mississippi, and was an alumnus of Saints Junior College. He was also an alumnus of Kean College, Manhattan Bible Institute, American Bible College and United Theological Seminary. Bishop N.L. Screven was ordained as an elder in 1969 while serving under the distinguished Bishop Esau Courtney.

In 1958 Bishop N.L. Screven married Ms. Jean Wakefield and together raised six wonderful children in a home where they were taught the principles of Christianity.

In 1970 Bishop N.L. Screven founded and served as the President of one of the first Bible Colleges in New Jersey, The Institute of Biblical Technology which was later changed to Evangelical Bible Institute. Under his leadership the ministry grew from its main campus in Newark, NJ to include four satellite schools located in Glassboro, NJ, Lakewood, NJ, Belmar, NJ , and Brooklyn, NY. Since its inception thousands of adult students have attended the school. 

In 1983 he was appointed Assistant Pastor of Bethesda Church of God in Christ and shortly thereafter, in 1988, installed as the new Pastor. Bishop N.L. Screven has vividly demonstrated his influence as a respected religious leader by substantially increasing the church membership and raising sufficient revenues for the successful operation of church programs and activities.

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