By Steve Sears
Reverend Moses Yang remembers everything vividly.
In 1973, he had been asked by several Chinese Christian families to establish a Christian Evangelical Church in West Orange – and he eventually did. But a near tragic event, and God speaking to him through scripture, was the final encouragement to the notion bearing fruit.
“It was very bad,” says Yang, who at age 47 was involved in a terrible car accident. “The accident was severe; the car was totaled.” His son hit the windshield in the accident, and his daughter was so scared, she ran from the car when it stopped in the middle of the road.
That evening, he went home and spoke to God, asking him if his survival meant he should indeed establish the requested church. He found the following in Psalm 66:12: “Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water, but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”
“That was the verse that God gave to me,” Yang recalls. “I was rejoicing. It was God’s will.”
In 1974, Christian Evangelical Church opened in West Orange, and eventually moved to Livingston in 2006.
Pastor Stephen Lim has shepherded the congregation since 1996. “Before I finished my seminary studies at Western Seminary in Scottsdale, Arizona, Rev. Yang called me to serve in this church. Aside from pastoring this church in Livingston, I worked also at our Mission headquarters as administrator. I received a Senate Resolution from New Jersey Senator (Joe) Pennacchio for my service.”
CECL has about 75 members, and that attendance swells to more than 100 during special services like Thanksgiving and Christmas. The CECL was the first in the Garden State. There are also CEC churches in South Africa, Asia (Japan and Taiwan), Europe (Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain), and in the United States (New York and California in addition to New Jersey).
The CECL gives back to the community in many ways. “We donated books and made donations to the Battered Women agency,” says Lim. “We collected gifts and money for agencies like Feed the Hungry and Operation Christmas Child (gifts for the poor). Another thing, as a good neighbor, our church allows the Cerebral Palsy School to use our parking lot for their events like fundraising. We are considering getting involved in Habitat for Humanity.” The CECL also hosts a summer program for kids, Vacation Bible School, focusing on sharing the good news about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “From time to time, Livingston High School would sponsor a food festival at their gym, and we participated in this event,” Lim adds.
Lim is very fond of Rev. Yang and his development of the CEC churches. “Rev. Yang has the heart to share the good news about Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He travels a lot to share Christ and bring people to God. Wherever he goes, he would establish churches so that many more can be believers and followers of Christ.”
Christian Evangelical Church of Livingston welcomes all to join its congregation. “We are here to serve the community – physical and spiritual needs,” says Lim. “We have people from all walks of life. We have a diverse congregation. We have American-born Chinese, Chinese from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Singapore, Cantonese, Filipino, and Caucasian. We have members who come as far as from Staten Island.”
Christian Evangelical Church is located at 71 Old Road in Livingston. Visit www.ceclivingston.org for more information.