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Our History


This timeline is intended as an overview, to give “the big picture” of some of the major events in the
history of the church since its organization.


The church is 97 years in existence. It was started in 1927 as the visionary reality of Bishop Gabriel and Mother Susan Phillips; their vision of the ministry was made up of family and a few friends. Church was held in their homes and sometimes in other local ministries.  The first recorded location of the ministry was 107th Avenue, off of Merrick Boulevard in South Jamaica, New York. The church later moved to 157th Street and South Road where it was incorporated as a non-profit organization under the leadership and pastoral of Elder Howard O’Connor and Mother Estelle O’Connor.   


As the ministry transitioned, so did its leadership. By 1956 Friendly moved to its present location, 115-03 Sutphin Boulevard, under the leadership of Elder David Butler and Mother Ethel Butler.  Throughout the history of The Friendly Church it has always been blessed with a talented congregation; during the 50’s and 60’s Friendly enjoyed enormous popularity and was very prominent in the community.  In 1972 a new pastor was installed, Elder Leroy C.E. Newman and Mother Mattie Newman; Elder Newman, who would, as Pastor, be consecrated as Bishop and Overseer. It’s under his leadership that Friendly became a national organization and launched a local radio program; its choir, “The Voices of Friendly” made its first recording; new churches joined the organization and new ministries were birthed. 


Bishop Newman served as Pastor for 40 years with his wife, Evangelist Mattie Newman (The Legend).  In 2011, Bishop Leroy Newman decided to pass the mantle to his son, Pastor Israel Newman to carry the church to their next level in God. Today the church has a new visionary dimension under the leadership of Dr. Israel Newman, (Bishop) and his wife, Dr. Tamika Newman (First Lady). Bishop Israel Newman serves as General Secretary of the covering organization, The Friendly Church Ministries.

96th Church Anniversary - October 2023

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