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The first worship service of Westchester Japanese Church was held on April 28, 1996. Thirty-one people met in a Sunday School room of Ridgeway Alliance Church in White Plains, NY, at 5:30 pm. After a welcome by Rev. Saigo, the congregation offered praise to God who had brought about this new church. The pastor then challenged the congregation from the Word of God. The birth of WJC has come after a long pregnancy. For more than twelve years, Ridgeway Alliance Church has held a Bible study and English class for Japanese ladies. For many years it has been led by Mrs. Anne Chatfield. As Japanese ladies have come to the Lord, Mrs. Chatfield has prayed for a Japanese church where they could be dsiciples and grow. WJC is an answer to those prayers.
WJC was scheduled to meet for worship once a month until the fall. After the second worship service in May, however, the congregation asked if regular weekly worship services could be started immediately. So, on June 16, WJC began weekly services.
Through the first summer, several special events were held. Rev. Koji Honda, "the Billy Graham of Japan," came and held a special evangelistic meeting on Memoridal Day. In October, another well-known evangelist from Japan, Rev. Murakami, came for special meetings.
As the church grew, more space was needed. On November 3, 1996, WJC moved to a new location: Tuckahoe Alliance Church. The church provides more space for youth activities and Christian education classes. It is also within a three-minute walk of the train station, through which a lot of Japanese people commute to New York City everyday.
Because of the fact that many Japanese people in the area are the residence employees from the companies in Japan and their families, many church regulars returned to Japan. However, God always brought the new people, including Christians and non-Christians, to the church.
In September 1999, the church was renamed New York Japanese Church and moved the Sunday service from the evening to the morning while continuing the evening service as the time for praise and testimonies.
NYJC is working to reach the Japanese community of more than 20,000 with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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