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New Church Hopeful Despite Vandalism, Diminished Congregation

The move from Bay Shore to St. James hasn't been easy, but the church says it will survive.

In the almost three months since Calvary Church of God of St. James opened they’ve endured vandalism, break-in attempts and a diminished congregation, but the church is still hopeful of offering successful services and growing within the community.

Calvary Church of God took over the former home to New Apostolic Church on Woodlawn Avenue on Aug. 1. 

“I had called them up to see if we could possibly rent from them on a Saturday night because they used it on Sunday and they told me that they were leaving,” said Debbie Capaldo, administrator at Calvary.

The church got its start in 1998 in a conference room at the Howard Johnson's in Commack, then moving to Bay Shore to a location they would occupy for eight years. The situation in Bay Shore became toxic, sparking the need to move.

Capaldo, a 14-year St. James resident, called New Apostolic Church becoming available a “miracle.”

“The neighborhood in the eight years that we were there dramatically changed and the house next to us became like a drug-dealing house,” she said. “We basically lost because of that about two-thirds of our congregation because the area became unsafe.” 

Capaldo said they came over to the St. James location with just 25 members.

A decline in congregation numbers isn’t the only obstacle Calvary Church of God has faced since August.

Two weeks after moving in Capaldo said a banner they purchased for roughly $450 was vandalized. A week later she received a phone call from the alarm company that secures the church saying there was a break-in attempt through the rear window.

Capaldo also said they currently lack the finances to advertise so most locals are unaware they are even there. The church is leasing the building with the option to buy, and in order to purchase the location they need to raise roughly $450,000 by August.

Despite the recent adversity, Chris Capaldo, bishop at the church and husband to Debbie, has faith that the Calvary Church of God will be successful and an asset to the community.

“We know now we’re doing the right thing. Any opposition just pushes us to just go ahead further. It just strengthens you,” he said. “We’re just looking forward to a bright future here.”

Debbie AlbansCapaldo October 17, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Thank you for sharing our story Peter. Yes our congregation did diminish in size in Bay Shore, but we are blessed to have some new St. James residents as part of our church family!
C October 18, 2012 at 12:46 PM
I went to the church website for the service times and info, only to find it is basically blank. In order to attract more people to the church congregation they need info!
Debbie AlbansCapaldo October 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Thank you for visiting our website. We had a technical problem with the site yesterday and it is being restored today. Our services are Tuesday 7pm bible study and Sunday 11 am. Also adult and childrens Sunday School at 10 am. Blessings.
littleShamrock October 18, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Debbie, I never see any activity there. :( I will pray that your church will keep its strong foundation of faith! .. God Bless!
Marion Knott October 18, 2012 at 03:58 PM
As long as you preach love and not hate, I'm with you one hundred percent. Many years ago we hosted through our Catholic Church, an Open Housing meeting. The meeting went welll but we suffered momentarily in our community by a small group of haters. A leg of a dead (naturally) calf full of magots was put in our car. A teacher at the high school was denied buying a new home in the comnmunity because he was black. In her book, Soledad O'Brien speaks of the prejudice her famiily endured because she was inter racial. I remember when the clerk at our library shook her head as the kids checked out. I love St. James and hope that things have gotten better but when I read about a church being vandalized in my St. James, it brings back these negative memories. Let's show them that we are behind them not against them.
Chris Hiriart October 18, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I read the article and could no tell where the church is located. Can you please let me know and also give me the website address. Thanks. Regards Chris
Debbie AlbansCapaldo October 18, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Thank you so much for your prayers as we will do the same for you and the Lord's blessings upon you!
Debbie AlbansCapaldo October 18, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Thank you for sharing. Amazing thing is when we were located in one of the worse areas for a church on long island with drugs, gangs etc not once did anything happen. Since we haved moved to St James on Woodlawn - one act of vandalism and one attempted break in. Thank you for your prayers!

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