Hodge Celebrates 21st Pastoral Anniversary

By Journalist Ms. Jones

PLATTEKILL – “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper- Psalm 1:3.” That was the scripture reference, while “A Man of God Thru All Seasons” was the theme of Bishop Christopher J. Hodge’s 21st Pastoral Anniversary Celebration which was celebrated at New Day Tabernacle Cathedral on Sunday, May 1st.

Vice Bishop Thomas C. Barr of Green Point Tabernacle of Praise in the Bronx preached at the morning service. Apostle Michael D. Densmore of Community Temple in Stamford, CT, who knew Bishop Hodge when he was still a deacon in his former church, preached at the evening service.

Vice Bishop Thomas C. Barr, Bishop Christopher J. Hodge, and Apostle Michael D. Densmore pose for a photo.
Vice Bishop Thomas C. Barr, Bishop Christopher J. Hodge, and Apostle Michael D. Densmore pose for a photo.

“I was a minister then and I was sent out by the church,” said Bishop Hodge as he shared how he got started pastoring. “God sent me here… He sent me here to this building. I didn’t look at any other building.”

Phyllis Washington and her husband were church members from the beginning. She remembers getting the building on Old Firehouse Rd.

“When we were getting this building, the town didn’t want this to happen. But we prayed. We walked around the building. We fasted. We went to the meeting. [They said,] ‘The building is yours,’” said Washington who is the Administrative Assistant at New Day Tabernacle Cathedral. “It [doesn’t] look [anything] like it did… [It] was one open building… It was more like a factory… They had a big exhaust in the ceiling… It was huge… So, in the middle of service, every now and then, it would go on… Bishop would have to scream… After a while, we renovated.”

Bishop Hodge actually started the church in his basement. Deacon Duane Mann and his wife were there.

Bishop Christopher J. Hodge lays hands and prays for a church member at his 21st Pastoral Anniversary Celebration.
Bishop Christopher J. Hodge lays hands and prays for a church member at his 21st Pastoral Anniversary Celebration.

“My wife and his wife… worked together. We [all] moved up here [from the NYC area]… They kept in touch after [we] moved… We went over their house… We just hit it off right away,” said Deacon Mann who used to attend the at-home church services and then became a deacon at the church. “[Bishop Hodge has helped me] in every category: personal, financial, spiritual.”

Bishop Hodge went from having church in his basement, to having a physical church building, to now having 13 churches. They are located in the Bahamas, North Carolina, Yonkers, Connecticut, the Bronx, and Brooklyn.

“We’re all in fellowship together and each year we have a holy convocation with all the churches and fellowship and learn from each other… Bishop… gives the tone for the whole year for the holy convocation and for where the covenant of churches is going,” said Washington.

Even though he is in covenant with 13 churches, there has still been many obstacles that he has had to overcome.

“My duty is to preach. Even if I have to stand up here and just do it and yell during a blackout with flashlights on. The Word of God still goes forward. I’m not an excuse person,” said Bishop Hodge as he recalled preaching during a blackout a few years ago and during the entire Covid-19 pandemic in-person which streamed online. “I preached so that people who were locked in their homes would still have a semblance of God’s holy place… delivering to them the word which stopped us from having a fall away and having a scattered church.”

Bishop Hodge is blessed to be a blessing.

“Everything we have is paid for. Churches… paid for. The [Learning Center] house is paid for. Pantry… paid for. The vans… paid for,” said Bishop Hodge as he shared how God has really provided for the church and allowed for the church to feed people a free Sunday dinner after church and be a beacon of hope in the community through their other projects. “Church is a place for people to come to have needs met. So, we couldn’t operate without having a food pantry to feed the people… If I had to give you a story of how many people’s rent we… payed, how many people we helped… We’re here to help… We needed our roof done. We refused to do the roof if it would jeopardize having enough money to help people when they came to the church [for help] during the pandemic. And after it came to an end and things started to change, we finally got the roof done. The entire roof was replaced.”
The Food Pantry is open on Saturdays from 10 am to 12 pm and Wednesday from 6 to7 pm. The Learning Center, which was closed during the pandemic, will open soon which provides students with certified teachers to help with their homework and offers fun activities for children.

Journalist Ms. Jones

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