How we got here
Originally, the Evangelical Pentecostal Church of Philadelphia was located in North Philadelphia, on North 7th Street, when a group of immigrants from Eastern European countries such as Ukraine, Poland, Russia, and Belarus came to the United States in the 1930s. During that time there were very few Slavic churches in Philadelphia, so the Evangelical Pentecostal Church of Philadelphia was born as a Philadelphia Slavic church where anyone coming from the Slavic countries could come to worship God without fear of persecution by the Soviet government. As years passed, the church slowly grew until a large emigration happened in the late 1980s and early 1990s after the fall of the USSR. Many families who were persecuted for their faith came to the United States and into Philadelphia where they joined our congregation. As a result, this large migration caused our church to rapidly grow, to the point where it could no longer fit in the 300-person sanctuary of our original building on North 7th Street.
As accomodations became tight we began fasting, praying, and discussing in the early 1990s about the possibility of a newer larger building where we could fit our congregation, which would allow everyone to comfortably listen to the Word of God. As we conversed amongst our congregation it became clear that such a dream was not possible because every family had left their money, clothes, documents, and all personal items back in the former USSR and came to the United States with nothing but a suitcase of their most precious items. None of our members had enough money, nor the ability to pay for such a dream. Many members could not even afford a house, much less contribute to the construction project. Purchasing a new building was also out of the question because we did not have the funds available. As we continued to explore our options the size of the congregation grew, until the Russian and Belarusian community within our church suggested that they form their own church congregation. As our church underwent this parting it helped our size somewhat, but we were still too large for our building, with church members seated in hallways and corridors just to have a seat in church.
During the late 1990s as younger members joined our congregation the church realized that while we still did not have enough finances to purchase land to build upon, or to purchase a new building, we could afford to rent a larger space. As we prayed about finding a location which we could rent for our congregation God answered with an incredible blessing by presenting us with the opportunity to sell our church building and purchase a 30-acre plot of land with those funds, as well as finding an incredible building into which we could temporarily move in and rent while we worked on our new construction. Looking back, such an opportunity was truly a miracle from God because it would not have been possible on our own.