This is the church history which reflects the birth and formation of Love Alive International Sanctuary of Praise – Worship Center of New York City (LAI Sanctuary of Praise). We are a non-denominational ministry of believers; followers of Christ who believe God’s grace and love reach to the furthest margins of society embracing all without prejudice or discrimination. Our church originated out of the need to provide a space where people can experience the reality of God’s love seeking justice for the oppressed, disenfranchised, and marginalized; to gather together and provide a safe place where whosoever (all) may assemble to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ in spirit and in truth. We were formed with the unique mission to be a place where God’s people gather for the purpose of worship, praise, and fellowship. Our particular mission is to answer the call to discipleship through training and developing individuals by way of biblical teaching and spiritual guidance. This process will mature the individual’s relationship with the Lord that they may bear bountiful fruit of the Spirit.
On Monday, June 14th, 2010 the initial LAI Sanctuary of Praise Board of Trustees which included Brother Don Albritton (’10-’11), Sister Jacqueline Barbour, Brother Vincent Brace (’10-’11), Brother Khalif Brooks (‘10’-11), Reverend Dr. Leonard Gaines, Jr., Sister Rachel LaBastide, Reverend Stacey S. Latimer, Sister Linda Johnson, Dr. Brenda Jackson, Brother DeSean Santiago, Sister Marie Williams, and Reverend Dr. Paulette M. Zimmerman (’10-’11), held their first meeting via a conference call to formally formulate their plans to form a church. Then on Friday, July 23rd, 2010 four members of LAI Sanctuary of Praise Board of Trustees, Reverend Stacey S. Latimer, Brother DeSean Santiago, and Sister Marie Williams met to sign our official Articles of Incorporation which was filed within Kings County, Brooklyn, New York on Monday, July 26th, 2010.
The Trustees continued to meet throughout the summer months of August and September to handle other official business of the church, which included the signing the official bylaws of the church and to plan and develop our Pre-launch services, selected to take place on the first and second Sundays in the months of September and October. Now these pre-launch services were an opportunity for the community to see who and what this new church was all about.
Two official ceremonies were conducted which formalized the leadership of the church: on September 19th eight committed believers answered the Call to serve as clergy of the church, receiving the Right of Ordination as Ministers: Jacqueline Barbour (Women’s Ministry), Reverend Marsha Bartlett (Pastoral Care Ministry), Antionetta Etienne (Health and Wellness Ministry) Christina Lawrence (Practitioner and Spiritual Development Ministry), Roberto Reyes (Men’s Ministry), DeSean Santiago (Music Ministry), and Laverne Handley was ordained Deacon. On the following Sunday, September 26th, Officers of the Church were sworn in: Reverend Stacey S. Latimer as Senior Pastor, Sister Linda Johnson as Board Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, Sister Marie Williams (’10-’11) and The Late Reverend David Franzo (’11) as Board Secretary.
LAI Sanctuary of Praise officially launched regular Sunday worship service on Sunday, November 7th, 2010 at 4:00pm inside the Chapel of the Unitarian Church of All Souls (located at 1157 Lexington Avenue, New York NY 10075 between 79th and 80th Street). We have served God mightily through our preaching, teaching, prayer, praise and worship ever since.
Today, four years later, the church is rapidly expanding in meeting the needs of the communities we aim to serve. In partnership with our sister organization the LAI Foundation Inc. we have been able to present truly enlightening, momentous events such as “Life Changers Awards” and “The Power of Love!” among others. We are excited as we run the race reaching toward the mark of high calling in the Lord that our hearts, minds, and souls have committed to for the service of the Kingdom of God.