Forty-nine years ago on April 4, 1964, the Rose of Sharon Community Church was organized with sixteen members under the leadership of Rev. Ovie E. Lattimore and chartered on April 13, 1967.
His dream for the church as it continued to grow was to share the vision and understanding God gave him of salvation, faith, and stewardship. His favorite Bible verse was Matthew 6:33, “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”
On May 3, 1980, Rev. Lattimore went home to be with the Lord. His son, Rev. Dr. Everett C. Lattimore (Pastor Ev ) assumed the pastorate. The congregation continued to expand. After review of the existing structure, the church was demolished and a groundbreaking ceremony was held October 1987. Pastor Ev. was motivated by his favorite scriptures, Matthew 24 and II Corinthians 13:13, “And now abideth, faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
On February 19, 1991, the Rev. Dr. Everett C. Lattimore went home to be with the Lord. Having been duly selected by the congregation, Rev. M. LaVerne Ball was installed as Pastor on Sunday, May 26, 1991. Led by the Lord to continue her father’s vision and complete her brother’s dream, Pastor Ball successfully shepherded the construction and completion of the new multi-million dollar sanctuary for Rose of Sharon Community Church. On Saturday, September 17, 1994 the church doors were opened. After 23 years of Pastoring Rose of Sharon and sixty-three years in ministry she was elevated to the Holy Office of Bishop by Bishop Donald Hilliard, II on June 1st, 2013.
Truly a community church with a great social conscience, the lights of Rose of Sharon burn brightly into the night seven days a week. Our community outreach programs reflect the diversity of Plainfield. Through a coalition between the Interfaith Council and FISH Hospitality, Inc., the church provides assistance and shelter to those in need. Rose of Sharon is also used as an emergency shelter whenever requested by the Red Cross or the Fire Department. The HIV/AIDS Ministry, Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous Programs, Prison Ministry, and Probation Referral (Community Work Release) provide opportunities for individuals in need of counseling and support.
Today, Rose of Sharon Community Church continues to grow, from the young to the old, into dedicated and committed members, with more than 30 ministries. Our Rose of Sharon Ministries are broken into six Communities of ministry, and each has an assigned Community Pastor: Sanctuary, Youth, Fellowship, Outreach, Education, and Helps. Through its real estate arm, the church has successfully constructed 49 homes in Plainfield.
Under the pastoral guidance of Bishop M. LaVerne Ball, countless ministers have been licensed and ordained with four, Rev. Charles Lattimore Howard, Rev. Anita Shepherd, Rev. Tracey Brown, and Rev. Tina Williams being commissioned out to their own work.
Going forward into the new millennium Rose of Sharon will continue to provide services responsive to the community needs and to assess the needs of the community as it evolves. From September 1994 to June 1996 Rose of Sharon was the home of South Street Youth Center Head Start Program. In addition, the church also hosted the Red Cross, New Jersey Black Caucus Conference, Candace Enterprises graduations and catered special occasions for the Municipal Alliance, Elizabethport Presbyterian Center (Family Development), The Minority Contractors, Block Associations, and many other community services including seminars, convocations and conferences. The church has and is serving many purposes not only are traditional duties being faithfully performed (i.e. baptisms, weddings, funerals, communions, religious services) but also innovative and forward-looking practices such as unification development and inspirational guidance for all.
Surely through the years, God has blessed Rose of Sharon with steadfast laborers while providing the church with a great heritage; may the present and future generations love and cherish it with thankful hearts.