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Dr. Arlee Griffin Jr. Pastor

We are delighted you have visited our home on the web and hope you find it useful and informative. With over 162 years of being the hands and feet of Jesus, we represent the faith of past triumphs and the hope of a brighter future.

Our church extends an invitation to all who seek the faith of Jesus Christ; to all who love the fellowship of His church, to all who desire the friendship of the family of God, with love and justice. We gladly and warmly welcome you in the name of Christ our Lord.

Rev. Dr. Arlee Griffin Jr. Pastor

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Over 160 years old and still growing.

Welcome to the virtual home of Berean Baptist Church. Since 1850 we have been Worshiping, Witnessing and Working for Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are an equipping, empowering and exciting congregation committed to a ministry of meeting holistic human need.

We are glad that you have visited with us virtually and invite you to "make it real" soon, with a visit to our church. With The Love of Our Lord

The Reverend Dr. Arlee Griffin, Jr.

Rev. NanceRev. Nance was born in Brooklyn, NY, and educated in the NYC public school system. He served in the US Air Force for four years. He was called to ministry in 1983, and was licensed December 12, 1985. Rev. Nance attended CBI School of Religion, School of Theology of Virginia Union University and the Eastern Baptist Association of NY, where he received a Certificate in Religious Studies. Rev. Nance is the Minster of Pastoral Care here at Berean Baptist Church.

The Reverend T Arnold Nance

Rev. CouncilRev. Kim oversees the Young Adult Ministry, is the superintendent of the Young Adult Sunday School Department, and serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Berean Community and Family Life Center. Rev. Council sits on the Executive Board of Women of Faith Advocating Change, is the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Local Development Corporation of East New York and is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the East New York Housing Development Corporation. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from North Carolina Central University and a Master of Science in Library Science from Pratt Institute.

The Reverend Kimberly Council

Rev. DavisRev. Gail Davis was ordained in 2009 and has served in several leadership capacities in the church, particularly in the area of Evangelism and Marketing. She is a graduate of New York Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree and is a Doctoral Ministry candidate at New York Theological Seminary. She currently has oversight of the newly formed Marketing ministry.

The Reverend Gail Davis

Rev BonnettRev. Dr. Leary E. Bonnett received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens College of the City University of New York, a Master of Arts degree in Human Resources from Webster University in Saint Louis, Missouri, a Master of Divinity degree from New York Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Bonnett has also received training in clinical pastoral education from the Catholic Archdiocese of Brooklyn. He served eleven years as a commissioned officer in the United States Army. He is the author of three books and is married to Dr. Terry-Jan Blackett.

The Reverend Dr. Leary. E. Bonnett

Rev. WardOn February 15, 1985 Rev. Dr. Louvenia Ward was the first woman to be licensed by Berean Baptist Church to preach the Gospel. She was later ordained under the pastorate of Rev. Dr. Arlee Griffin, Jr.. Dr. Ward has earned an Associate degree in Management, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Master of Social Work, and a Master of Divinity Degree. Dr. Ward is an Adjunct Professor at New York Theological Seminary and a Berean Sunday School Teacher. Dr. Ward serves as Servant Leader of the Social Services Ministry. She is also a member of the Pastoral Support Ministry, Sisterhood Ministry and Girl Scout Ministry.

The Reverend Dr. Louvenia Ward

Rev. HeadleyReverend Kimberly Headley is an associate minister and servant leader of the New Members & Discipleship Ministry. She was ordained by Pastor Arlee Griffin in 2009. Rev. Kim has a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She is presently a third year student at Alliance Theological Seminary pursuing a Master of Divinity in Church Development. She is also a member of the Young Adult Ministry.

The Reverend Kimberly Headley

Rev. LaneAmbitious, Self-Motivating and compassionate; upholding the conviction that it takes one to make a difference in any given situation. Rev. Lane has been a member of Berean Baptist Church since 1980; he accepted the call to preach the gospel in 1992. Licensed and ordained by Pastor Griffin, he has been serving for 17 years as Preacher and Associate Minister at Berean. He received his Associate Degree from Kingsborough Community College, Certificate in Religious Studies, from The School of Theology Virginia Union University and the Eastern Baptist Association of New York, Inc. He is married to Deacon Fay Lane, and is the father of six children.

The Reverend Willie Lane, Jr.

Rev. GoreRev. Sharon R. Gore was licensed as a minister on September 7, 2007 at Price Memorial Baptist Church under the pastorate of Rev. L. Price. Rev. Gore later joined Berean Baptist Church, where she was ordained on June 18, 2012 and serves as an Associate Minister. Rev. Gore was born in Philadelphia and reared in Brooklyn, New York. She received her early education in Brooklyn schools and graduated from Franklin K. Lane High School. Rev. Gore attended Brownsville Community Baptist Church Bible Institute for fours years and graduated in June 2007.

The Reverend Sharon R. Gore

Rev. CarolA native New Yorker who joined Berean in 1964. Reverend Carroll has diligently and faithfully served as a member of the Cherub Choir, Temple Choir, Women's auxiliary and Pastor’s Aid ministries. She was a member of the Berean Bible Institute, a Girl scout leader, former President of the Nurses Ministry and former Advisor to the Sunday School department. She is currently a member of the Sunday School department, a teacher in the Junior Intermediate department, a servant in the Nurses Ministry, member of the Berean Gardens Noonday Prayer ministry and can be found participating on Wednesday nights at Praise and Worship/ Bible Study. She has been a Registered Nurse since 1976 and received her AAS degree from KCC, her BSN from Medgar Evers College and a Masters of Divinity Degree from NYTS. She was ordained a Deacon in 1998; licensed to preach in April 2012; and ordained shortly thereafter as a Reverend. In December of 2012 she became a widow.

The Reverend Bennetta L. Gibson-Carroll

Rev. FletcherRev. Fletcher joined Berean Baptist Church in September 2011 as a licensed minister and was ordained to the gospel ministry by Dr. Griffin in June of 2012. She serves as the Associate Minister for Compassionate Care Ministry at various nursing homes and hospitals across New York City. Additionally, she gives encouraging leadership to the American Baptist Women’s Ministry of Berean. She is also a student in the New York Theological Seminary certificate program.

The Reverend Joanne Fletcher

Rev. TatumRev. Tatum is a Brooklynite and a 50 year member of Berean. She was educated in the public schools of New York City through college. Rev. Tatum was licensed to the gospel ministry in 2010 in Baltimore, MD and ordained at home in Berean in 2012 by Dr. Arlee Griffin Jr. She serves joyfully and with enthusiasm in the Healing Waters Formational Prayer Ministry- a journey to healing and wholeness in our Lord. Additionally, she teaches Wednesday night bible study. The Lord has blessed her to be a great-grandmother, while young enough to enjoy that journey.

The Reverend Selma V. Tatum

Rev. ScipioRev. Marsha is the Youth Pastor at Berean. She is also the servant leader of Emerge, the younger, young adult ministry. Rev. Marsha was ordained in June of 2012 by Pastor Griffin. She serves as the Executive Director of Berean Community & Family Life Center – the non-profit organization of Berean. She has been privileged to study and engage in ministry in Liberia, South Africa, India and Israel and Palestine territories. Rev. Marsha holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.

The Reverend Marsha Scipio

The Reverend Doctor Arlee Griffin, Jr., is a native of Elizabeth City, North Carolina where he was a member of the Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church and an honor graduate of Northeastern High School.

He received scholarships to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology. He attended Shaw Divinity School and earned the Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has done additional study at East Carolina University, Oxford University in Oxford, England, New York University, and the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health in New York City and the Summer Leadership Institute at Harvard Divinity School.

In May 1988 he graduated from Boston University with the Doctor of Ministry degree. In April 1992 Shaw Divinity School awarded him the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. He was awarded a Public Service Fellowship to attend the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and in May, 2010 earned a Master of Public Administration Degree.

For nearly ten years, Dr Griffin served as Pastor of the Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, North Carolina where he led the church in re-location and built multimillion dollar facilities. While in Greenville, he established the Cornerstone Christian Child Care Center, served as President of Pitt County Black Ministerial Alliance, Moderator and Vice Moderator of the Old Eastern Missionary Baptist Association, Parliamentarian of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and Trustee of Pitt County Memorial Medical Center. He was also selected in 1985 as “Pastor of the Year.”

In April of 1989, Dr. Griffin received the call to become the Senior Pastor of the historic Berean Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York. In 1996, the church completed Berean Gardens, a $7 million Senior Citizens Housing Complex funded by a Capital grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Currently, the church is engaged in a 33 million dollar building project which will include new facilities for the new Berean Community and Family Life Center and a fitness center and 107 units of Affordable housing.

Dr. Griffin serves as President of the Berean Bible Institute, the Berean Housing Development Fund Corporation, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Berean Federal Credit Union and The Berean Community and Family Life Center. In January, 2012 the church purchased property valued at three million dollars to open its second site as Berean Baptist Church of Raleigh, NC and the Garden on Millbrook Catering Company.

Throughout his ministry, Dr. Griffin has been active in religious and community affairs. He has served as President of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Baptist Churches Ministers' and Missionaries Benefit Board, Historian of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, and as a member of the General Board of the American Baptist Churches, USA, Progressive National Baptist Convention, National Council of Churches and Shaw University.

He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the AmeriChoice Corporation of New York. In 2005 he was the recipient of the Edward H. Rhoades Award for excellence in Urban Ministry presented by the National Ministries/American Baptist Churches, USA. He served as Vice President of the American Baptist Churches, USA, 2004-2005, and as President of the American Baptist Churches, USA, for the biennium 2006-2007.

Dr. Griffin has done missions work in Senegal, Gambia, West Africa and South Africa and was a delegate to the First African and African American Summit in the Ivory Coast in 1991. He was selected to be an Official International Election Observer in the first free South African Election in April 1994. For twelve years, he was an Associate Professor of Church Administration at New York Theological Seminary.

Dr. Griffin is married to Dr Angela Farr Griffin of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Dr.Griffin is an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn. They have two daughters: Angel Arlecia (husband, Nelson Louis)and Ariel Arlyce and one grandson, Arlee Nelson Louis.

The Reverend Dr. Arlee Griffin, Jr.
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  • Biography
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  • Berean Associate Ministers

    "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work..." (I Thessalonians 5:12-13)

    Berean Staff Members

    "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (I Corinthians 15:58)

    See Staff
    See Ministers

    Berean Ministry Roster

    The Ministries of Berean

    We are delighted you have visited our home and are interested in our Ministry Mission. To provide wholesome bible classes on the web and hope you find it useful and informative.

    With over 159 years of being the hands and feet of Jesus, we represent the faith of past triumphs and the hope of a brighter future.

    Our church extends an invitation to all who seek the faith of Jesus Christ; to all who love the fellowship of His church, to all who desire the friendship of the family of God, with love and justice. We gladly and warmly welcome you in the name of Christ our Lord.

    • Berean Community Drumline

      The Berean Community Drumline seeks to equip and empower youth to make healthy life choices through the enriched and creative disciplines of dance, percussion, service and team-building. Our motto: Excellence through Commitment, Concentration and Dedication. Young people learn essential life skills, are encouraged to do well in school and participate in community service. Rehearsals are Tuesday and Thursday 4:30- 6:30pm. No experience needed.

      Interested in playing a musical instrument or becoming a dancer, join the BCD family today. For more information contact Ariel Griffin – []

    • Children's Church

      Children ages 5-12 participate in a creative age-appropriate worship environment three Sundays per month during the 11am Service. Led by experienced youth leaders, children learn the Word through diverse activities. Most important they develop a love for the Lord. At Berean we believe children, who know God intimately and love Him passionately, will serve Him selflessly. Children also participate in the SonShine Choir where they learn worship songs. The SonShine Choir ministers to the congregation one Sunday per month. Contact Loren Cooper []

    • Girls Scouts

      Discover the fun, friendships and power of girls together. Young women have the opportunity to engage in various activities to prepare them to be productive women in society. Through skill-building workshops, arts and crafts activities, community service projects and field trips, girls learn the value of relationships and a true sisterhood. Girls Scouts meet every Saturday 11:00am -1:00pm. Contact Geri Scott []

    • Junior Ushers

      “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” Psalm 84:10 Junior Ushers help usher Gods people into the sanctuary and maintain an atmosphere of reverence and order during service. A wonderful way to minster to members and visitors by way of your attitude, your smile and gracious greeting can be a very warm welcome to church. If you enjoy the ministry of service this is for you. Meetings are the 4th Sunday directly after the 11:00am service. [Contact Gloria Pharr]

    • Bible Study

      FWF – Food, Word and Fellowship! This weekly Bible Study for teens challenges young people to examine their daily lives and answer the question: Does my life line up with the Word of God? Teens engage in various activities, lively discussions and reflect on their own personal experiences with God. Youth ages 13-19 meet every Wednesday, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Contact Rev. Marsha Scipio []

    • Sunday School

      Sunday School is a foundation of Berean Baptist Church. Preparing young people to search the Scriptures for themselves, Sunday school provides children and youth with the biblical resources to study the Word and the opportunity to share their own insights on biblical stories. All young people participate in recitation programs and/plays three times per year. Different classes for different age groups, each Sunday at 9:00am. Contact Joyce B. Kellam []

    • Praise Team

      Be a part of this unique and fun teen ministry, where you learn contemporary songs and minister to the congregation on Youth Sunday. Composed of teens that have an interest in music and using their gifts and talents to glorify God. If you play a musical instrument and/or you love to sing, this is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate your love for Jesus and have fun doing it. Rehearsals are the 3rd Wednesday of each month, 4:30-6:15pm. Contact Joseph Jones. []

    1890 - 1914

    1928 - 1946

    1948 - 1978

    1981 - 1988

    Berean History

    Ezekiel 47:12
      And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

    Dr. Leonard Joseph Brown Dr. Leonard Joseph Brown
    Our Fourteenth Pastor Led the congregation in the construction (by a Negro congregation in New York City) of an Edifice from the foundation in 1894. Church still stands and is used today for multi-purpose use by the church. Mount Lebanon Baptist Church was organized and recognized as a "Mission" church. Two wings were added to existing church in 1914. In 1914 Pastor Brown was called from labor to reward while serving Berean. Berean built in 1894 - first edifice built from the foundation by a Negro (African American) Congregation. This building minus the left wing still stands today and is used for multi - purpose activities by the Berean congregation & community.

    Dr. Schuyler Thomas Eldridge Dr. Schuyler T. Eldridge
    Our Sixteenth Pastor The Congregation was reorganized into twelve wards led by the Deacons or appointed members. A $20,000. brick parsonage was built adjoining the church (which is presently used as our community and family life center). Berean became a "support station" during the depression and served meals and gave out clothing throughout the community during this time.

    Pastor Eldridge met the financial obligation for this effort to keep Berean on target with her own financial responsibilities. The Sunday School was reorganized. Numerous auxiliaries were organized under Pastor Eldridge tenure and still exist today.

    A newsletter was implemented called the "Berean Searchlight." An Adult Education Class in English, Citizenship Class and Social Case worker provided. 500 to 600 new members was added yearly during Pastor Eldridge's tenure.

    The Release Time Program, Daily Vacation Bible School (summer) & Baptist Young People's Union was organized. The mortgage was met at the cost of $17,000. on Sunday, October 28, 1945. Pastor Eldridge was called from labor to reward on September 14, 1946.

    Dr. Hylton Lancaster James Dr. Hylton L James
    Our Seventeenth Pastor Pastor James accepted the call and was welcomed by the church on May 2, 1948. Led Berean into national & international prominence. Organized many auxiliaries which many are still in existence today. Berean gave large donations to foreign & local missions conventions. Many auxiliaries were assigned to render service to local Nursing homes.

    The Berean Bible Institute was born. A Child Care & Day Nursery was established. Pastor James led Berean into building a new edifice at the cost of a quarter million dollars opened on April 9, 1961. On this occasion to anchor the church in its mission objective, the term "Missionary" was added to the permanent name of the church. The mortgage was burned on September 28, 1975 seven years ahead of schedule.

    Pastor James served as President of the Baptist Minister's Conference of Greater New York and Vicinity. As well as, Moderator of the Eastern Baptist Association of Brooklyn & Long Island. Pastor James led the Association in the purchase of an Executive Office Complex in Brooklyn and served in several other denominational offices of note.

    Pastor James set apart two churches during his tenure, The White Memorial Baptist Church under the pastorate of a Berean son, Reverend Gerald White and the Bethesda Baptist Church with its pastor Berean son, Reverend Charles Nesbitt, Sr. Pastor James ordained and sent out the Reverend Blanton Harper who pastors the Liberty Hill Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. During Pastor James tenure The Lord's Supper service on the second Sunday afternoon drew a large outside crowd of believer's ( sister churches) due to it's richness & powerful witness.

    Pastor James was called from labor to reward on Wednesday, November 8, 1978 while conducting Prayer Service from the pulpit in the chapel (the old church sanctuary) where his ministry at Berean began. On Sunday, September 15, 2002 in honor of the work & leadership of Dr. James: Bergen Street was co - named from Ralph Ave to Albany Ave: DR. HYLTON L .JAMES BOULEVARD.

    Dr. Gus Roman Dr. Gus Roman
    Our Eighteenth Pastor Pastor Roman led Berean on a course of inner revitalization and outer community witness. The church fostered spiritually and socially centered ministries for the nurturing & development of the church & community. The Board of Christian Education was organized which led many of our conferences, retreats and workshops. The Saturday Church School & Church Scouting Conference implemented.

    The Berean Bible Institute was expanded to five satellite in Brooklyn & Queens as well as a correspondence course was added to the curriculum. The Prayer Tower was developed to foster to the need and strengthening of the prayer life of Berean. Pastor Roman implemented a new church record and financial management system with the purchase of a new IBM computer. A new parsonage was purchased at the cost of $150,000. The Berean parking lot was expanded & paved. A new Rodgers Pipe Organ was purchased and paid for in full at the cost of $170,000.

    The Berea Federal Credit Union was established. A strong and revitalized effort on missions was implemented with the giving of $10,000. to the Ethiopian Hunger Project. Also an increase in giving to our foreign mission conventions. Two Missionaries were sponsored in Liberia and support was given to a Haiti hospital. The 110 voice choir from Calvary Baptist Church in Accra, Ghana, West Africa was sponsored to come to America and perform at Berean and throughout Brooklyn and the eastern seaboard.

    The Ministry of Evangelism was organized to meet the need of a strong witness in the Berean community. An annual six week Summer Street Outreach Ministry was implemented. The Berean Community & Development Center was organized with a full time director and social worker. Berean hosted the first & second Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. ,Holiday Celebration (Boro-wide)

    In response to the internal problems at the 77th precinct, Berean organized a community & police breakfast to address the concerns of the community & precinct. Summer Youth employment, a clothing & emergency food bank, meals on wheels, general counseling and employment referral, The Berean Housekeeping Services and A Senior Citizens Program were all implemented under Pastor Roman's tenure. The Good Samaritan House was opened. (to give emergency housing to two family displaced by fire) Our Annual Easter Sunrise Service was held yearly at St. John's Park & an Easter Parade (after morning Worship Service) throughout the Berean community ( what was called "Berean's Palestine: Albany, Kingsboro and the Howard Houses - St. John's Place to Atlantic & Ralph to Albany Avenues.) Pastor Roman was instrumental in organizing the Association of Brooklyn Clergy for Community Development (ABCCD) and the United African - American Churches of New York State. (UAAC-NY) the first full time statewide Black lobby group in the state's history to address the issues affecting the needs of African- Americans in the State of New York. (at the State Capitol in Albany, NY) Pastor Roman's keen insight on the power of the Holy Spirit organized many conferences and conducted many services around the "Holy Ghost and the Believer." which drew participation from area churches throughout the borough of Brooklyn. On the 4th Sunday in June 1988 Berean sadly bids farewell to Pastor Roman as he resigned to accepted another called in Philadelphia, PA

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