The History of Malaga Pentecostal Assembly to Hope Assembly of God

In May of 1921, Mrs. Lena Monteleone wrote to Reverend Dell'Aringa (who was then in Philadelphia). She sent an urgent request for him to come and offer prayer for her seriously ill son. Arriving May 13th, Reverend Dell'Aringa found the child had just died. He returned on May 15th to conduct the funeral service. The family and friends were so impressed with the service, that they asked him to return and conduct regular Sunday morning worship services. The first service was held May 18, 1921, in the Monteleone home. The first converts were Anthony Marino, his wife, Concetta, and their children. By July 1st, the church was comprised of six families. Reverend Dell'Aringa moved to the home of Biagio Spatafore located on Marshall Mil Road and conducted services there.

In October of 1922, the congregation moved to the Old Malaga schoolhouse. In March of 1923, a tent was erected on Dutch Mill Road, whil the church was under construction (the first church building). By November, services were being held in the basement of the partially constructed edifice. By April of 1924, the building was completed, and services were held there for the next 26 years. During Reverend Dell'Aringa's ministry, he appointed one of the young men from the congregation, Petere Bracaliello, as his assistant. Peter Bracaliello served in this position for about 35 years until he resigned in 1986.

In 1953, Reverend Dell'Aringa went to Tunisia, Africa as a missionary. He appointed Reverend Petere Miccoli as pastor of Malaga and Glassboro churches. By this time the congregation had outgrown the building. Under Reverend Miccoli's ministry, a building fund was started for a new church across the road. In 1855, Reverend Miccoli left the church and Reverend Frank Maruso became the pastor. During his ministry, the present sanctuary and wing were completed and dedicated in 1960. The building, which cost $62,000, was valued at $100,000. A mortgage of $30,000 was taken. Reverend Maruso left in 1962 to become full time pastor of the sister church in Glassboro. In 1962, Reverend Theodore Sfortunato became the pastor and under his ministry, the present parsonage was built at a cost of $20,000.

In June of 1963, Reverend John Pagano became the pastor and the congregation continued to grow. Both the church sanctuary and parsonage were paid for by that time. In July 1969, the church affiliated with the General Council of the Assemblies of God. In 1970, the name of the church was changed from Italian Christian Evangelical Church to Malaga Pentecostal Assembly. In 1976, an addition was constructed which included a fellowship hall, kitchen, more Sunday School rooms and offices costing $150,000.

In 1979 Reverend Pagano left the church and Reverend Herb Emel became the pastor. Under his ministry the church continued to grow as the Bus Ministry into the community was established as well as a Christina Daycare (Malaga Christian Nursery School). In 1981, MPA became the owner of Pine Grove (Camp) Bible Institute which was begun by Reverend Dell'Aringa in 1939 and consisted of 125 acres. Also, in 1981, Reverend John Pisani became the first Youth Pastor.

In 1982 Reverend Emel left the church and Reverend Keith Holt became the new Pastor. During Reverend Holt's ministry, the church revived the full use of Pine Grove (Camp) Bible Institute for the summers of 1983-1987.

In 1984 the church acquired more property across the street on Dutch Mill Road. The mortgage for the educational wing was burned and Reverend Steve Mottoer came on board as a Youth Pastor.

In 1987 Reverend Holt left the church and Reverend Ralph Newell served as Interim Pastor until Reverend Brain Belrose came in 1988.

In 1991 Reverend Belrose left the church and Reverend Elmer Lindale served as Interim Pastor until Reverend Eric J. Rey came in May of 1002. Reverend Rey served until August 1998. Reverend Craig Smallwood served as youth pastor from January 1996 to August 1997. Jim Bradford, III, a member of the church became the Youth Pastor (part-time). After he graduated from Valley Forge Christian College, he continued full time as Youth Pastor until 2006.

In 1998 Reverend Eric J. Rey left the church and Nick Calvelli, was made Chairman of the Board until Reverend Randy A. Sabella came as pastor in the end of August 1999.

In March 2002 the name of the church was changed to Malaga Assembly of God and a new sign was installed.

In May 2006 MAG partnered with Pastor Bradford to plant a church in Landisville, NJ, Solid Rock Worship Center. On the night of MAG's 85th Anniversary banquet, Pastor Jim held his first service.

In September 2006 Robert Brandhorst, Jr. was appointed Youth Pastor (part-time) until September 30, 2007. Kevin Carlino was appointed as Youth Pastor until March 2009.

In 2009 a three-phase renovation program was established for Malaga Assembly of God. The program would include both new construction and multiple renovation projects. Ground was broken in May 2009 for a new addition to the church and the project was completed in October 2009. This building and renovation project featured an updated sanctuary with new decor, lighting, staging area, sound system and additional seating capacity. In addition, there was added more lobby space, new bathrooms, an enclosed walkway and a cafe. By God's grace, we were able to pay cash for the entire $500,000 project. The renovated sanctuary and new addition were dedicated in November of 2009.

In 2012 we began phase two of our renovations program. This phase included updating the carport, building a new family bathroom next to the carport and installing new heating and cooling systems throughout the entire building, replacing a very old and costly system. In addition, all driveways and parking lots were paved and lined.

In 2016 we began phase three by updating the Social Hall lobby, bathrooms and painting the Social Hall.

In the beginning of 2015, we were approached by the New Jersey District Office to help Good News Assembly of God Church in Upper Deerfield, New Jersey. This church had been through some difficult times and needed someone to come and help them regain their strength and stability. So, in March 2015, Good New Assembly became part of Malaga Assembly of God, thus becoming "One Church in Tow locations." It was exciting to see them get a new Campus Pastor, Reverend Joe Donofrio.

The beginning of 2017 saw a name change which led to a closer bonding of the two churches. The name change to Hope Assembly of God encompassed two churches, in Malaga and Upper Deerfield.

In 2018 renovations were made to the Social Hall to replace the ceiling and completely renovate and update the kitchen. This project was again paid for in cash thanks to the faithful giving of the congregation.

In 2019 Pastor Sabella celebrated 20 years at Hope Assembly of God.

At the beginning of 2020 a decision was made to merge the two campuses at the Malaga location and give the church building located in Upper Deerfield to Solid Rock Worship Center. Pastor Joe Donofrio continued to stay on with Hope Assembly of God as the Family Life Pastor.

In May of 2021 we began a yearlong celebration of our 100-year Anniversary.

To God be the glory for all He has accomplished and continues to accomplish today. Truly, He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine. To Him be glory, forever, and ever. Amen.