Prayers and Blessings at Far Rockaway Center

Roth at hope and prayerRoth Prayer meet smallerFulfilling a vision to bring regularly scheduled prayer and worship services to the people of Far Rockaway, a first prayer service was held early in March at the Hope and A Prayer Center by the Sea.  It was led by Rev. Dr.David H. Benke and members of St. Peter’s, Brooklyn. “There was a great crowd and we blessed the police officers from the 101st precinct,” he reported

A second service at Hope and a Prayer a few weeks later and was led by Alison Roth and six members from Good Shepherd, Laurelton.  This included, once again, the blessing of 101st Precinct officers.  After an opening time of a cappella worship, Mrs. Alison Roth (top photo, at right) filling in for husband Pastor Steve Roth who was unable to attend, shared a powerful testimony.  A participant remarked, “Jesus was in the house Wednesday night. Pastor Roth’s wife was awesome. She brought the word and touch lives.”

“From 35-40 people have attended the initial services, leaving with the strong desire to return, and to bring others with them.”

An Update from Vicar Tom Cusanelli, Director of the Kenneth and Karen Ko Hope and a Prayer Center by the Sea

September, 2015–Far Rockaway, NY–We had two very successful weeks of VBS over the summer. We had 22 neighborhood children attended;we had 5 summer workers provided and paid for by NYC. They assisted with administrative and maintenance. They also assisted the staff for VBS. We started our “Wednesday Sunday School” on September 23. The neighborhood children cannot wait for the start of these lessons.

We had two barbecues over the summer for the community.

Tragically, a 16 year old young man was shot and killed in front of the center on Sunday, August 30. His brother was shot and killed on the same avenue two blocks away three years ago in a drive by shooting. We experienced this tragedy as an opportunity to engage the community, more particularly the gang members, with the love of Jesus Christ. We have been the constant presence in the community since this tragic event. We had the opportunity to offer words of comfort and prayer in the name of Jesus Christ with this young man’s family and mother; we held a memorial service in front of the center for our community for those who could not attend the funeral in Brooklyn. This was the second shooting on our corner since May 4 of this year.

Above link is to the story that ran in the New York Times on September 3rd.

Our first two MSW interns from Adelphi University successfully completed their internships at HPC. They were a tremendous help with the case management. Our new MSW interns started in early September. We are currently speaking with the Queens library and they are going to come We are up to around 280 cases since we opened on 10/29 of last year. The greatest community needs aside from the Gospel remain affordable housing, food stamps and Medicaid which we assist the community. 

We are getting ready to plan our annual coat drive as well as our One Year Anniversary/Sandy Anniversary Service. We expect to do something for the children at Halloween, something for Thanksgiving and our annual 3 Kings Day in January.

We are also working with the Queens Library to have a job readiness program at the Ko Center. This is something I feel is really important to offer the people in this underserved community.

We did community outreach at an event on the Boardwalk on September 26. I’m also attending a “Stitch In Event” at the Elwood Library in East Northport on September 26, where those in attendance knit & crocheted hats and scarves to be given away to needy communities like ours in Far Rock.

Hitting the ground at a run in FAR ROCKAWAY: Coats, Bibles and Counseling Services

The coat drive at the Kenneh and Karen Ko Hope and a Prayer Center by the Sea was a great success. On 1/3/2015, over 80 adults and children came to the center for coats. We also distributed coats during the week before the drive to needy clients. The congregations who participated were St. Peter’s in Brooklyn, Bethlehem in Delmar, Trinity in Hicksville, Calvary in East Meadow, St. Luke in Dix Hills and St. Paul’s in Saratoga Springs.

 A big thank you to employees from Santander Bank who also donated coats compliments of Deacon Debbie Vergara from Trinity, Hicksville

The center sent out an email for bibles. Trinity Islip responded with a donation of 220 NIV bibles to the Center. We are waiting for a delivery of Spanish bibles from the Lutheran Heritage Foundation.

 On the festival of the Epiphany, los Tres Reyes (the three kings) visited the center to distribute toys to the children in the neighborhood. These toys were provided by US Customs and Border Protection and contributing members of the JFK Airport community through their 2014 Employee Sponsored Annual Toy Drive. A big shout out goes to Mark Mather from St. Paul’s in Amityville, who is the program coordinator. The event was attended by approximately 150 adults and children.

 Also, just an update of center activity. Since we opened on 11/3 to the end of the year, we have opened 96 cases and provided 208 services to our clients. Cases have included housing, Medicaid, disaster relief, pastoral care, resume/ job placement assistance, food pantry and more. Within the next couple of months, we will be starting our Saturday morning women’s group and prayer and praise groups.

Peace in Christ!!


(Vicar Tom Cusanelli, Atlantic District Sandy Recovery Coordinator)

The Winter Coat Drive at the Kenneth and Karen Ko Hope and a Prayer Center by the Sea has been rescheduled!


Saturday, January 3rd, from 11 AM at 2517 Seagirt Avenue, Far Rockaway


Volunteers are urgently needed ! 

We need about 11volunteers to assist with clothing distribution and refreshments on January 3rd.  If you are able to lend a hand, please contact Vicar Tom Cusanelli at   OR 631-860-1356.   Or call Ms. Catherine at 718-327-8888.

   There’s still time to donate clothing. If you have new or gently used coats, hats, scarves and gloves that you would like to donate, please contact Vicar Cusanelli at 631-860-1356 or 

Children’s and Spanish Language Bibles are needed by Far Rockaway Ministry

Their request for “adult”: Bibles has been met, but the Kenneth and Karen Ko Hope and a Prayer Center by the Sea in Far Rockaway is still seeking Bibles for children and in Spanish language editions.   If you wish to donate Bibles appropriate for children or in Spanish, please contact Vicar Tom Cusanelli at or 631-860-1356.