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Cypress Avenue Baptist Church, New York

The Cypress Avenue Baptist Church traces its beginning to July 31, 1905, when Rev. Erik Jansson from Finland came and gathered his countrymen to meetings. Late that summer came Edward Flemming and held meetings in Jersey City, Brooklyn and Bronx. In October 1905 the church was organized in Jersey City by 11 persons. They were: Mr. and Mrs. Victor Genberg, Mr. and Mrs. John Uppgard, Mr. and Mrs. Victor Mattson, Carl Johnson, Miss Hannah Gästgivars, Miss Betty Soderberg, Mrs. Boje (Johnson), and Miss Sophia Ostman.

Entrance to Church Auditorium.

Flemming served as pastor until in March 1906, when G. A. Sjogren came to the city and became pastor until May 1908. John A. Kallman served that summer and fall, and Matts Mattson from Negaunee, Michigan served a few months, followed by Axel Edwards. By some misunderstanding the church was broken up, but was again organized in March 1909 by 11 members under the leadership of Rev. A. J. Stormans. There was one new charter member, Miss Anna Kronholm.

Interior, front of Auditorium.

Albert Esselstrom served the church for one year until 1919, when Axel Edwards again served the church a little over a year. Rev. Erik Jansson of Finland, came as a delegate to the Baptist World's Congress, held in Philadelphia, Pa., and was called and served the church for one year. In 1912 Rev. Isak Roy became pastor and served for 14 years, thus ending the quick changes of leaders, which had not established the church very well. Under Roy's leadership the church experienced a steady growth. In 1926 Rev. A. Kallman became pastor and served until 1931.

To begin with the church held meetings in a number of homes and halls, but from 1912 to 1929 Sunday services were held in the Alexander Avenue Baptist Church. In 1916 the church bought a 45x100 lot on the corner of Cypress Avenue and 137th Street, at a cost of $9,000. An old wooden structure on the lot served as a place for the Sunday School and prayer services. On the rest of the lot eleven garages were built and rented. The income was added to al building fund.

In 1928 the structures were taken down and a six story building erected consisting of 20 apartments and a church auditorium. The cost came to $115,000, including the lot.

In December 1931 the church had 129 members and 60 children in the Sunday School, but at that time a serious conflict split the church in two factions, demoralizing and weakening the work. Rev. Matts Esselstrom came to the leadership in 1932 and healed the breach somewhat. In 1937 Rev. John Hugo was called as pastor. He served until 1943 when Rev. Evert Israelson was called and served part time until 1946. In 1947 Rev. Harold Howard began to serve and under his effective preaching and love for the community the work has prospered. The Sunday School and Young People's work has grown in a marvelous way. The church also started a Noteholder's Campaign in September 1949, and has made a good progress to clear off the debt on the church property.

Published in Fifty Years of Christian Stewardship 1901-1951. Prepared in commemoration of the Fiftieth anniversary of The Baptist Mission Union of America. 1951, p. 40-41.

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