New Harvest Temple was founded on February 14, 1972 as St. Matthew Holiness Church of the Apostolic Faith Churches of Giving Grace, Inc., under the leadership of the late Bishop Rufus Easter. This ministry grew from prayer meetings that were being held at various homes and businesses during the late 1960’s, to a place to finally call home, at 4814 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA. Due to the increasing responsibility of being pastor at other churches, in 1974, Bishop Rufus Easter appointed Minister Alexander Person as Pastor of St. Matthew Holiness Church. Minister Person, who was ordained in 1972, was elevated to the office of an Elder in the Lord’s Church in 1976.
Under the leadership of Elder Alexander and Mother Helen Person, the church began to increase in spirit and in membership, so that Elder Person began seeking out a larger edifice. In his search, little did he know that the Lord would lead him a few blocks away to 5217 Whitby Avenue, where a friend of his was selling a Methodist Church. When it came time for settlement, the deal went through without any major problems. In April of 1984, we marched from our old edifice to our new church on Whitby Avenue, singing We are Marching up to Zion; friends and family came from all over to join us in the Great March and Dedicatory Celebration.
In April of 2001, under God’s election, Bishop Alexander Person ended our affiliation with AFCOGG to fulfill the vision the Lord gave regarding ministry. St. Matthew Holiness Church then became an independent church, and Bishop was then deemed Chief Apostle. Bishop Alexander Person always taught us about faith, divine healing, the five-fold ministry and the doctrine of the apostles. Through his teachings and personal commitment, the Lord blessed the church to accomplish many of its goals, such as the purchasing of a church van and three uninhabitable homes adjacent to the church, which were later converted into our current parking lot. These were just a few testimonies of God’s goodness toward St. Matthew Holiness Church.
After a successful bout with cancer and miraculous healing, the Lord began to speak to Apostle Alexander Person regarding the fulfilling of his apostleship and pastoral succession of our ministry. It was Sunday, June 26, 2005, when Apostle Alexander Person appointed Elder Lamar Andre Person, Sr. as our new Senior Pastor, being ceremonially installed in October of the same year.
Pastor L. Andre’ Person, Sr. began immediately fasting and praying for direction to lead God’s people and preparation for church growth. After much prayer, Pastor Person was proud to present a new name to the congregation during our 34 th Church Anniversary. Our church was to be called New Harvest Temple, a name that came with an enhanced vision for Kingdom Expansion.
New Harvest Temple has been revolutionized by God’s present purpose to edify and grow His Church. Many blessings are taking place at New Harvest Temple. Souls are being baptized; people are being healed spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially; families are stronger, and church membership continues to grow. God’s LOVE, POWER, SOUND DOCTRINE can be felt and heard the moment you walk through the doors.
This brief historical overview is not all-inclusive but yet is full of a rich heritage.