Histories are written by the people who live them, and are recorded by those who wish to learn from the experiences of the forerunners, and cherished by those who wish to build on the legacy they have inherited. Apostle Elect Gayle has always had the call of God on his life and it was not until he faced a life and death situation that he decided to follow the path that the Lord designed for him. In 1987, with the support of his siblings, the ministry of the 7th Day Church of the Living God was birth. While they did not have a written mission statement, they were on a mission to come together and strengthen their belief in God. With this mission in mind, they took to the streets and started evangelizing. Their efforts led them to set up our first place of worship in a classroom at Carver Middle School in Delray Beach, with a membership of 12 (family). The first baptism consisted of two candidates, Deacon Peter Peart being one of them. Later we had to change our place of worship to a storage unit that was very close to the train tracks. At this location, when the trains were passing, everything had to come to a halt; otherwise, we were not able to hear anything. The cost for rent at the time was $400 and only three members of the congregation paid the expenses of the church. You see, we did not yet know the importance of tithes and offering. Since the members of the church at that time, lived in West Palm Beach, we decided to find a location that was closer to home. Shortly after, we relocated to 617 25th Street, West Palm Beach, with an increase of $50 in our rent. We continued to struggle to pay our bills but the anointing was evident in our services. We experienced the healing power of God with people getting deliverance from cancer, bursting veins, diabetic sores and other illnesses.
In 1990, Bishop Gayle was called into full time ministry and another prophetic summon came that Dr. Peart should accompany him wherever he went. After raising funds to purchase a tent, we launched our first tent crusade in the island of Jamaica. The revival continued for six weeks, and hundreds of people answered the call of God, with the first baptism consisting of over 100 candidates. In 1994, the building at 617 25th gained new ownership and we were forced to find another home for worship. Subsequently, we sublet from a ministry located at 1624 Avenue E in Riviera Beach. Our rent decreased to $225 but our finances did not fare any better as we were still bouncing checks. It was during this time that Bishop Gayle got the revelation and the resolve to educate the people of God about the importance of tithing and made changes in the administration of the church. Our church started to grow and this building did not represent the movement and the turn that the ministry was making. Hence, the time came again for us to move. With the efforts of Deacon James, Bishop Shaw, and sister Novelette Gayle, they found us another ministry to sublet from, with our rent now being $1500 per month. When Bishop Gayle heard the news, he became overwhelmed and could not foresee how we could afford rent for $1500 when we were bouncing checks for $225. The Lord spoke to him and told him to get up and make the move and watch how He will begin to bless the ministry. With this profound confirmation, we moved forward in faith and it was during that period that God increased our finances and elevated our clergy – not only did we survive a raise in our monthly rent, but we saved enough to purchase our present home located at 2400 Ware Drive. In 1999, he blessed us with a Bishop and Prophetess, making church history in South Florida. We were able to move in July 2001. God did not let his words come back to Him void!
In light of our growth, in 2003 we officially launched our food bank program, where we prepare food baskets for the less fortunate every week. This program is still running very efficiently and currently, we provide food to over 200 individuals every week. We also distribute meals to the less fortunate on Thanksgiving Day. Out of this ministry, our annual youth retreat was also birth; joining forces with youth from all backgrounds and with different experiences to come together once per year to share and give honor and glory to God. Our retreats continue to be rich and informative as God continues to use this medium to capture and preserve youth for His service. It is out of this same ministry that the God in the Raw ministries was birth, through the healing power that God continues to manifest in our midst. We have a wide array of church activities and programs, among them our children’s ministry, women’s and men’s auxiliaries, choir, praise dance, youth department, prayer band, singles’ and marriage clubs, an usher board, and our upcoming school of theology.
This growth and hub of activity, and with the steady flow of visitors and increased membership, we now realize that we have outgrown our building. We currently have a membership of over 200 with consistent attendance of 120 weekly. The time has come for us to expand and enlarge our borders. Our vision is to include more community-based programs so that we can be the hand extended to members of our community and everyone we are able to reach. We feel blessed that God has given us leaders that have a vision, show commitment to service, love the people and has provided us the resources to carry out our Christian responsibilities. God has also afforded us the blessing of going through our 7th year of 40-day fasting. As we continue to seek His face, we continue to experience His blessings. We are blessed to have team members volunteering in the ministry who were actually born in or have been a part of the ministry from its inception. Our musicians are homegrown – they were either children when the ministry started or were born into the ministry. Our babies then are now our praise team and choir members, choir director, appointed ministers, and holding positions in finance and other areas of the ministry. Look where he brought us from!
Our ministry has grown and changed but it is a unique combination of change and continuity. No adverse happening will be able to erase the experiences we have had – as these are the experiences that have helped us to grow and advance as much as we have as a ministry. For those of us who were here from the beginning, this will be a trip down memory lane, to our new members, it will be an inspiration to help carry the torch and for all of us, it will be a reminder that there is greatness in all of us, and that the best is yet to come. So today, not only are we celebrating where God brought us from but also the exciting prospects for the future of this ministry. Today we celebrate the ascension of Bishop Jameel Gayle to Apostle, and Dr. Charmane Peart to Senior Pastor. The evidence of their ascension is demonstrated in the fact that we have two thriving ministries in the island of Jamaica and one in Orlando. It is our intent to preserve the history of the 7th Day Church of the Living God, with the hope of inspiring our present and future congregations as we enter this new era. We hope to preserve the ideals and dreams of our leaders who answered the call of God. Certainly, God has been our shield and strength and He has guided us with His counsel, blessed us by His providence, and inspired us by His spirit.