Rose of Sharon Community Church was founded and organized over 40 years ago on April 4, l964, with sixteen members. Three years later, April 13, 1967, the church was chartered under the leadership of Reverend Ovie E. Lattimore located on the corner of New Street and West Third Sheet, Plainfield, NJ , services were held at the Grant Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Many souls were won to Christ. Some of the founding members were Mrs. Addie Allen, Rev. M. LaVerne Ball, Mr. and Mrs. Alfort Belin, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bowser, Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Brown, Mrs. Marjorie Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Cassett, Mrs. Florence Dunn, Mrs. Carrie Garner-Lattimore, Mrs. Mary Goldsboro, Mr. and Mrs. John Griffin, Mrs. Evelyn J. Halsey, Mrs. Carrie Jenkins, Mrs. Audrey Faye Lytle, Mrs. Elizabeth Ruggles, Miss Mary Manley, Miss Roxie Murray, Mrs. Cora Pernell, Mrs. Louise Pharr, Mrs. Eula Powers and Mrs. Anna Thomas-Wiggs.
Reverend Ovie E. Lattimore had a vision from God for the church. As the church continued to grow, more space was necessary, so he shared his understanding of stewardship and faith. His favorite Bible verse was Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall he added unto you.” On October 5, 1973, the church purchased the Unity Community Church at 825 West Seventh Street, our present location.
On May 3, 1980, Reverend O. E. Lattimore went home to be with the Lord and Rev. Dr.Everett C. Lattimore, his son assumed the pastorate. Fondly known as “Pastor Ev,” the congregation continued to grow under his leadership, making it necessary to again look for expansion. Not feasible to add to the existing structure, the church was demolished and in October 1987, a groundbreaking ceremony for the present church was held. “Pastor Ev”,was motivated by his favorite scriptures, Matthew 24 and I Corinthians 13:13 “And now abideth, faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” He held interim worship services and other church activities at the Grant Avenue Community Center and the Masonic Building.
February 19, 1991, again brought another great loss to the church leadership in the passing of Rev. Dr. Everett C. Lattimore. The congregation duly selected Rev. M. LaVerne Ball as pastor, led by her father’s vision and brother’s dream, Pastor Ball shepherded the construction and completion of the new multi-million dollar complex. On Saturday, September 17, 1994 the new structure was completed.
Today Rose of Sharon has over 600 dedicated and committed members with more than 34 ministries, all of which create pathways for stimulating interest in church activities. These ministries include: The ROS Bible Academy, Central Bible Institute, Outreach ministries, which include the Prison Ministry, Richmond Towers , Plainfield Tower West, Norwood Nursing Home, and ministry in Africa.
With great spiritual and social consciousness the lights of Rose of Sharon burn brightly into the night seven days a week. ROS host organizations such as New Jersey Black Caucus Conference, Candace Enterprises Minority Contractors, Block Associations, HIV/AIDS Ministry, FISH Hospitality, and Probation Referral. These ministries provide opportunities for those in need of counseling, spiritual guidance and support. Its real estate arm has allowed ROS to construct 32 homes in Plainfield and looking to build more soon. In the past ROS has hosted the Head start Program and the YWCA after school program, to name a few.
Going into a new millennium, Rose of Sharon will continue to provide services and respond to the needs of the community. Surely, through the years, God has blessed ROS with stead fast laborers, while providing the church with a great heritage; may the present and future generations love and cherish it with a thankful heart.
Let us pause and pay respect to those who have left their footprints, both pastors and members as it is written, in Romans 10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach Gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things.”