“Hallelujah! Great is thy faithfulness!” is the exclamation that went up to the heavens on Sunday, January 29, 2017, at First Baptist Church of Teaneck. Pastor Marilyn M. Harris and her congregation along with family and friends celebrated the burning of the church mortgage during their Sunday morning worship service.
The original church building, burned down in August 1990 when during a thunderstorm, lightning struck the steeple and caused a fire that enveloped the church. The new church was dedicated on July 27, 1997.
The Community Baptist Church of Englewood choir rendered celebratory songs of praise.
Rev. Harris, On March 13, 2005, Reverend Marilyn Monroe Harris became the fifth pastor and the first female to pastor First Baptist Church of Teaneck. “Reflecting on the journey that brought the church to this joyous day she explained. “FBCT retired the mortgage based on the word of God. No fundraising, no chicken dinners, no major donations…just everybody in unity standing on the Word of God! Collectively the youngest to the eldest sacrificed and brought all their pennies together.”
She also revealed that in preparation for the mortgage burning ceremony, she sought advice from her father in ministry, Rev. Gregory Jackson, pastor of Mount Olive B.C., Hackensack. Said Rev. Jackson, “I haven’t seen a mortgage burning ceremony, but what I can tell you is to put on your dancing shoes.”
On Sunday, the mortgage document was lit, flamed and burned to ashes and sure enough, the dancing began. The sanctuary burst with excitement and praise thanking God for keeping them through their diligence, sacrifice and faithfulness.
Rev. Dr. Lester W. Taylor Jr., pastor of Community Baptist Church of Englewood (CBC) delivered a spirit filled message of hope and deliverance. In a jocular fashion, Rev. Taylor said that he wanted the CBC congregation to see what a mortgage burning service looked like because if God did it for FBCT, He will do it for CBC.
FBCT…it does not yet appear what you shall become. Great is Thy Faithfulness!