History of Church
In 1913, a young divinity student, Joseph DeRogatis, began a ministry to Italian-speaking immigrants in the West Brighton area of Staten Island. The ministry grew rapidly, and in 1917 Calvary Chapel was built on West Street. The building became a hub of active outreach to the community and the DeRogatis name became synonymous with caring and compassion for those in need. By the late 1930's the congregation began to investigate how it could become a fully independent congregation. Calvary Chapel became Olivet Presbyterian Church on June 23, 1946.
In 1958, Dr. DeRogatis retired after serving the church for 45 years. His work set the tone for the multicultural congregation that Olivet has become today. In the late 1960's Olivet began to build our present church building on Myrtle Avenue, completed in 1970. Rev. C. Lee MacCallum became pastor in 1972, and under his leadership the church saw much growth in the scope of our mission. He retired in 2007 and Olivet called the Rev. Ruth Boling to serve as our Interim Pastor. On January1, 2011, The Reverend Melodee Bottari began serving as pastor.
Olivet is a place of welcome for all God's people.This welcome is supported by a strong worship and educational experience. We have a wonderfully diverse congregation, which sees worship as an interactive experience, not a spectator sport. Our music program is blessed with a chancel choir, gospel choir, children's choir, and some superb soloists. There is Church School for those up to grade 8, and groups for up through senior high youth. In addition, Olivet has the oldest continuing Vacation Bible School on Staten Island, operating every summer since 1923.
For adults, there are retreats and a regular adult education program. We also have a scholarship program to provide help to higher education students. In 1986, in cooperation with St. Vincent's Hospital, we built Joseph House on our church property, providing much needed housing for low income seniors. This housing has been a great addition to our community and to our church family. New residents from Joseph House continue to enrichour varied programs for senior citizens.
Our ministry has also included a strong emphasis on youth and a commitment to mission both here and abroad. Projects have been conducted as far away as Italy, Bermuda and Florida as close to home in the Bronx and at local schools. Olivet was instrumental in the creation of Project Hospitality, the island-wide interfaith ministry to people who are homeless and those living with HIV/AIDS. We have a shelter for women in our church building every night, and provide monthly meals for people living with HIV/AIDS through a large team of church members who cook regularly.
Olivet is active in ecumenical and interfaith worship and community improvement events, and has organized annual Lenten and Advent services that draw together between 20 and 30 Protestant and Roman Catholic churches for worship and fellowship. We co-sponsor the annual Interfaith Seder, held just before Passover. In 2002, Rev. MacCallum began working with a local Rabbi to organize Community Days, an annual weekend event that now involves about 75 religious institutions representing Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs working side by side in projects of community improvement.
Above all, Olivet continues as a church that seeks to fulfill Christ's call to witness, not only with our words, but also with our deeds. We welcome you to join us in many more years of serving the world for Christ.