Summary of the History of Malaga Pentecostal Assembly
In May of 1921, Mrs. Lena Monteleone wrote to Rev. Dell’Aringa (who was then in Philadelphia). She sent an urgent request for him to come and offer prayer for her seriously ill son. Arriving May 13, Rev. Dell’Aringa found the child had just died. He returned on May 15 to conduct the funeral service. The family and friends were so impressed with the service, that they asked him to return and conduct regular Sunday morning worship services. The first one was held May 18, 1921, in the Monteleone home. The first converts were Anthony Marino, his wife, Concetta, and their children. By July 1, the church comprised six families. Rev. Dell’Aringa moved to the home of Biagio Spatafore, Marshall Mill Road and conducted services there.
In October of 1922, the congregation moved to the Old Malaga schoolhouse. In March of 1923, a tent was erected on Dutch Mill Road, while the church was under construction (the first church building). By November, services were being held in the basement of the partially constructed edifice. By April of 1924, the building was completed and services were held there for the next 36 years. During Rev. Dell’Aringa’s ministry, he appointed one of the young men from the congregation, Peter Bracaliello as his assistant. Peter Bracaliello served in this position for about 35 years until he resigned in 1986.
In 1953, Rev. Dell’Aringa went to Tunisia, Africa as a missionary. He appointed Rev. Peter Miccoli as pastor of Malaga and Glassboro churches. By this time the congregation had outgrown the building. Under Rev. Miccoli’s ministry, a building fund was started for a new church across the road. In 1955, Rev. Miccoli left and Rev. Frank Maruso became the pastor. During his ministry the present sanctuary and wing were completed and dedicated in 1960. The building which cost $62,000. was valued at $100,000. A mortgage of $30,000. was taken. Rev. Maruso left in 1962 to become full time pastor of the sister church in Glassboro. In 1962, Rev. Theodore Sfortunato became the pastor and under his ministry the present parsonage was built at a cost of $20,000.
In June of 1963, Rev. John Pagano became the pastor and the congregation continued to grow. Both the church sanctuary and parsonage were paid for. In July, 1969 the church affiliated with the General Council of the Assemblies of God. In 1970, the name of the church was changed from Italian Christian Evangelical Church to Malaga Pentecostal Assembly. In 1976, an addition was constructed which included a fellowship hall, kitchen, more Sunday School rooms, and offices costing $150,000.
In 1979, Rev. Pagano left and Rev. Herb Emel became the pastor. Under his ministry the church continued to grow as the Bus Ministry into the community was established as well as a Christian Daycare (Malaga Christian Nursery School). In 1981, MPA became the owner of Pine Grove (Camp) Bible Institute which was begun by Rev. Dell’Aringa in 1939 and consists of 125 acres. Also, in 1981, Rev. John Pisani became the first Youth Pastor.
In 1982, Rev. Emel left and Rev. Keith Holt became the pastor. During Rev. Holt’s ministry, the church revived the full use of Pine Grove (Camp) Bible Institute for the summers of 1983-87.
In 1984, the church acquired more property across the street on Dutch Mill Rd. The mortgage for the educational wing was burned. Rev. Steve Motter came on board as Youth Pastor.
In 1987, Rev. Holt left. Rev. Ralph Newell served as Interim Pastor until Rev. Brian Belrose came in 1988.
In 1991, Rev. Belrose left and Rev. Elmer Lindale served as Interim Pastor until Rev. Eric J. Rey came in May of 1992 and served until August, 1998. Rev. Craig Smallwood served as youth pastor from January, 1996 to August, 1997. Jim Bradford, III, a member of our church became the Youth Pastor (part-time) since August, 1997. After he graduated from Valley Forge Christian College, he continued full time as Youth Pastor until 2006.
In 1998, Rev. Eric J. Rey left and Nick Calvelli, Deacon was made Chairman of Board until Rev. Randy A. Sabella came as pastor end of August, 1999. September, 2006,
Robert Brandhorst Jr was appointed Youth Pastor (part-time) until 9/30/07. Then Kevin Carlino was appointed as Youth Pastor until March, 2009.
In March of 2002, the name of the church was changed to Malaga Assembly of God and a new sign was installed. In May of 2006, MAG partnered with Pastor Bradford to plant a church in Landisville, NJ, Solid Rock Worship Center. On the night of MAG’s 85th Anniversary Banquet, Pastor Jim held his first service.
In May, 2009, ground was broken for the new addition and renovation of MAG. The project was completed in October of 2009. The building and renovation project gave us an updated sanctuary, including decor, lighting, staging, new sound system and more seating. The addition gave us more lobby space, new bathrooms, an enclosed walkway and a café. By God’s grace, we were able to pay cash for the entire project, $500,000.
In 2009, a three phase renovation program was established for Malaga Assembly of God Church. The program would include both new construction and multiple renovation projects. Ground was broken in May, 2009, for a new addition to the church and the project was completed in October, 2009. This building and renovation project featured an updated sanctuary with new décor, lighting, staging area, sound system and additional seating capacity. In addition, there was added more lobby space, new bathrooms, an enclosed walkway and a café. By God’s grace, we were able to pay cash for the entire $500,000 project.
In 2012, we began phase two of our renovation program. This phase included updating the carport, building a new family bathroom next to the carport and installing new heating and cooling systems throughout the entire building, replacing very old and costly systems. In addition, all MAG driveways and parking lots were paved and lined.
In 2016, we hope to begin phase three of our building/renovation program by updating our Social Hall lobby, bathrooms and kitchen.
In August, 2009, Pastor Sabella celebrated his 10th year at MAG.
In September, 2009, Justin Kenyon was appointed new youth leader at MAG.
In November, 2009, we dedicated the renovated sanctuary and new addition.
In 2010, Rev. Ric Hohm came on board as our full-time administrative Pastor. He and his wife continue to serve in the areas of finance, facilities and visitation.
In the beginning of 2015, we were approached by the New Jersey District Office to help the Good News Assembly Church in Upper Deerfield, N.J. This church had been through some difficult times and needed someone to come and help them regain their strength and stability. So, in March, 2015, Good News Assembly became part of Malaga Assembly of God, thus becoming “One Church in Two locations”. It has been exciting to see them get a new Campus Pastor, Rev. Joe Donofrio. Pastor Joe is in charge of the ministry at this location under the direction of Malaga Assembly of God Church. Throughout this process, we have discovered that we are better together than we are alone.
The beginning of 2017 saw a name change which led to a closer bonding of the two churches. The name change to Hope Assembly of God encompassing two churches, in Malaga and Upper Deerfield.
To God be the glory for all He has accomplished and continues to accomplish today. Truly, He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. To Him be glory, forever and ever. AMEN.