“Great is thy Faithfulness”: Local Church Ministry through Tithing
Rev. Henry E. Green III, 11th Episcopal District
On October 23, 2013 in Lakeland, Florida, at the West Annual Conference of the 11th Episcopal District, Rev. Henry E. Green, III was transferred from the 6th Episcopal District back home to the 11th Episcopal District and was appointed the pastor of Payne Chapel AME Church, West Palm Beach. On the date of the appointment, Pastor Green became the youngest itinerant elder to be appointed pastor of this storied congregation. Payne Chapel (founded as Bethel) has been the cornerstone of black culture in the city of West Palm Beach and bears the distinction of being one of the first two Black congregations to organize in the city.
To promote church growth and evangelize the struggling area around the Church, the vision from the newly assigned pastor was to find a way to reconnect with the community. Reverend Green’s vision was to remind people of Payne Chapel’s importance to the city of West Palm Beach. In an act of great faith and determination, the pastor persuaded the Congregation’s leadership to support a tithing campaign from the Church to support the local community. In 2015, Payne Chapel raised over $56,000 in its Church Anniversary Celebration and agreed to tithe $5,600. The monies were dispersed as follows: 1) $1,500 to U. B. McKenzie Elementary School; 2) $1,500 to the Police Athletic League of West Palm Beach; 3) $1,000 to YWCA of West Palm Beach, 4) $600 to St. Luke AME Church in an effort to restore their bathrooms, and 5) $1,000 to support Turner Theological Seminary.
Since the initial tithe, God has been faithful to this Congregation. Luke 6:38 says, “Give and it shall come back to you, Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.” Without borrowing any money, the Church renovated its fellowship hall and the sanctuary in the 90-year-old building. We also repaired $18,000 worth of damage to our roof that accrued over years (Ironically, the initial estimate was $180,000). Currently, Payne Chapel is in the process of continuing to improve its historic building by building an elevator to make the sanctuary handicap accessible. This project will be done without borrowing any money. Through faith, Payne Chapel has continued to give back to its community through tithing the monies raised on special days. God has continued to open up the windows from heaven and pour out blessings that we do not have room enough to receive.