Far Rock Community Church Celebrates New Facility
“This is a great day in Far Rockaway,” stated Rev. Dr. Les Mullings on Tuesday, August 2 at Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new state-of-the-art facility, located at 1414 Central Avenue. Local pols and scores of community supporters and residents came to rejoice over the church’s newly built center, to which Lisa George, district manager for Senator James Sanders Jr.’s office, exclaimed, “I can’t believe this is in Far Rockaway. This is something our community needs.”
Since 1986, FRCC has been a longstanding hub for care and service in the Far Rockaway community, especially during Hurricane Sandy, in which it was an official FEMA site, and the COVID pandemic. However, Rev. Dr. Mullings, who has pastored FRCC for over twenty years, had a vision for the church to serve the community much more.
“This project took us about seven to 10 years. Some may remember this site as the old Mel’s Chevrolet garage. We bought a piece of property here and did four or five renovations to get it to where we could have worship and meet as an assembly hall. And now with the help of local pols, the developer, countless community supporters and church parishioners, getting this building to where it is now allows us to continue our work and mission to be a hub for the Far Rockaway community,” Dr. Millings said. “I just feel so fulfilled, not just for me, but the community at large.”
The seating capacity in the church’s sanctuary is 665. Upstairs is the community section hosting culinary arts and entrepreneurship programs, both working with the city and state workforce; a daycare; Pre-K; and a state-of-the-art media center. Besides FRCC’s new facilities, the eight-floor building, developed by Kingspoint Heights Development, has 150 apartments, retail space on the ground floor, and a parking garage in the basement.
The revamped building is part of the $288M Downtown Far Rockaway Revitalization Project spearheaded by then NYC councilman, now Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
Amongst those in attendance at the ribbon-cutting were local pols, Richards, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson, Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers and representatives for Congressman Gregory Meeks and Senator James Sanders Jr.’s offices.
Richards said, “When we started this journey with re-zoning downtown Far Rockaway, there were many fears held by the community about gentrification, that people would be pushed out. And today, we are vindicated because what you see happening here is people building in our community, for our community, and by our community. I think of all the meetings we had in this very building. It takes a true visionary to recognize when opportunities arise, and it’s not about recognizing, it’s about taking advantage of the opportunities, and Rev. Mullings, you have done that. Congratulations. The rebuild of downtown Far Rockaway is not just about housing, but about community building.
“When you look at the $288M investment in this community—from the library, the sorely-needed infrastructure, the future of healthcare with expansion of services in this space and more community facilities—at the end of the day, who do we serve? We’re here to serve the least amongst us to make sure that they have an opportunity for upward mobility.”
For CB 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska, the revitalization of the church’s new building is representative of the broader vision for Far Rockaway’s rebuilding. “When I started 32 years ago, this building was a car dealership. Some may remember the old Mel’s Chevrolet. Downtown Far Rock was called ‘the village,’ and the rich folks from the Five Towns used to come here to shop, and now we’re going to bring that back. This building is a building block to bringing back downtown Far Rockaway to what it was. This is a true renaissance that I always hoped to happen, and Rev. Dr. Mullings being the visionary not just for the church, but Challenge Preparatory Charter School (CPCS) located a few blocks down, shows that he is a leader in faith, education and community,” Gaska said.
Dr. Mullings not only wears the hat of pastor of FRCC, he is also the founder and CEO of Challenge Preparatory Charter School, which currently serves almost 1,000 students in grades K-10 at four locations in Far Rockaway, plus the CTE and Early College high school, which opened in August 2020. Also, last year under Mullings’s stewardship, Challenge partnered with CUNY’s School of Labor & Urban Studies to provide free college-level certifications and degree prerequisites.
For longtime parishioners and local residents of the community, Beverly Williams and Maureen Osborne, Mullings’ determination to make FRCC’s new facilities a reality is a crowning moment.
“This feels wonderful. We are so proud. When you think of where we came from and where we are going, to see this come to fruition is the Lord’s vision. God is good. He has taken us a long way. Pastor Mullings has been vigilant, and we are so proud of him. He is a true beacon in the Far Rockaway community,” they shared.
Co-pastor Derice Stanley, who has been a member of FRCC since in the days when members first met in the pastor’s living room, said, “With this new building, I look forward to meeting and bringing more people in the community to Christ. These are rough times we are living in, and people need to know the Lord.”
Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene is located at 1414 Central Avenue. For more info. about the church and its services, visit: www.frcc.church or FRCC_Church on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
By Kami-Leigh Agard