Battalion began humbly. In the early days, it was a sleepy fireside church, set in the midst of brownstones in Brooklyn, New York, with a mere three members (the pastor, his wife and his niece). But Battalion started to stir from her siesta. On June 8th, 1959, five persons met in the home of Rev. Alva Clarke to discuss the founding of a new church. They continued to meet for prayer services and occasionally for worship services. As they grew to nineteen men and women, they decided, after considerable study and debate, that the Full Gospel Order would best satisfy their needs, they took upon themselves the solemn covenant of the Church. Thus, at 791 Sterling Place, the first public service of God’s Battalion of Prayer Church was held. It was in the basement of a member’s home, a 3-storied brownstone (between Nostrand and Rogers Avenues).
The late Rev. Alva Clarke was an immigrant of Barbados who came to New York with his family in the late 1940’s. He came with a burning desire to preach the Word of God and began to reach out to the community. As the Word of God spread throughout the neighborhood, a small church began to grow. After just a few short months, it was moved from Sterling Place to 1199 Dean Street, Brooklyn (the second house from the corner of Nostrand Avenue). Those facilities also became too small, and in 1960 its home was on Atlantic Avenue. In 1961, the next church home was a four-storied brownstone at 1323 Bedford Avenue. (between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, home of Rev. Alva & Mother Clarke). It soon became obvious that even this new facility was inadequate to satisfy the spiritual needs of a growing church community. Consequently, the purchase of a two-storied, storefront at 628 Grand Avenue was realized. The first permanent home of the church was now a reality.
The year was 1962 when Pastor Clarke led the members into their new church home. Forgoing ahead with this vision, the small church was incorporated on August 27, 1962, and God’s Battalion of Prayer Church, Inc. became its official name. It wasn’t long before seating again became a problem. But unlike the past, they could not find adequate facilities in the same community, so they moved across town. The sale of 628 Grand Avenue enabled the congregation to purchase our present location for $135,000.
This second building, with seating for 500, was dedicated in March, 1975. However, the late Rev. Alva Clarke, our founding father, was not privileged to minister at this new location; he was ushered into eternity that same year. For the next three years, under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Michael Bacchus, GBP remained steadfast in the work of the Lord. Eventually, Rev. Bacchus moved on and started another work across town.
This present location- in the center of Brooklyn- makes it convenient to anywhere in the city of New York. The Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges are just half an hour away, JFK is about 25 minutes off, and LaGuardia is 35 minutes from here.
In October 1978, Rev. Alfred S. Cockfield, the present pastor of the church, was called. He assumed the responsibility of shepherd. In spite of satan’s leery attempts to hinder God’s word, the ministry has continued to progress significantly. Praise the Lord!
Through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit we have many ministries. Guyana, South America; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Brooklyn and Queens, New York; Illinois; Delaware; South Africa and Nigeria.