Community Church

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Reverends Larry and Margie Pitta
Typical Sunday Service, as related by Larry Pitta
During the service, people go to the front and pray, and the congregation prays with them.
The Holy Spirit sometimes speaks through a person (e.g. Pitta’s wife and co-Pastor Margie) to help him/her pray.
Vocal praise/worship–six to seven songs, musical instruments, waving of banners and streamers
Thirty to forty minute sermon
“If anyone was touched by this sermon, come up to the front (and tell how)”


The story behind Community Church is really two converging stories: that of Larry Pitta and that of the existing church at 54th and 4th Ave (Salem Gospel Tabernacle).

Salem Gospel Tabernacle dates back to 1926, when it was a congregation known as the Salem Scandinavian Pentecostal Assembly with a couple dozen charter members. In five years, attendance had already skyrocketed to about 500. A congregation (now called Elim Gospel Tabernacle) was started on Staten Island.
After two merges in the late 1930s, Salem Gospel Tabernacle bought the building on 54th and 4th from B’nai Israel.
Salem Gospel Tabernacle established Salem Gospel Tabernacle of New Hyde Park in 1949 and Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle in Long Island in the 1950s.
In the early 1980s, Salem created a Christian academy for children in the neighborhood. In 1996, Salem merges with Larry Pitta’s Christ to the Community Church. Let us backtrack to tell his story.

Pitta graduated from a bible academy in 1981 and immediately began Christ to the Community Church, with the goal of bringing Christ to the neediest– homeless, poor, addicts, etc. He rented a basement apartment for himself in Sunset Park, held street meetings, gave food to the homeless and scraped by on donations (“trusting God to provide”). In 1982 he moved into a storefront. They slept in the back and used the front as a church space and soup kitchen. Twelve years later, the landlord passed away and Larry Pitta and his wife rented from a church on 46th, but the lack of a kitchen prevented them from continuing their food-based outreach. In 1996, Christ to the Community Church merged with Salem Gospel Tabernacle. Pitta was chosen to be the pastor of the combined congregation. A new name was chosen: Sunset Park Community Church.

Role in the Community:
-Outreach and giveaways on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday, accompanied by “Evangelistic Drama”– skits and plays preaching the Gospel prior to giving out the Turkeys/clothing/school supplies/toys.
-Ongoing homeless/needy outreach, including not just lunch but also showers, clothing, blankets, and hygiene items.
-Youth groups from the congregation go on annual mission trips to Mexico, funded by flea markets, car washes, bowl-a-thons, etc. as well as member contributions.

Community Church’s website