"That which you lose for righteousness' sake,
you gain an hundredfold more in this present time . . ." FATHER DIVINE

The Burning of Greenkill Park, Ulster County, N. Y.

 

 

 

Auditorium at Greenkill Park.

 

 

 

 

Taken from a message given at 1887-1889 Madison Avenue, N.Y.C., N. Y., April 9, 1939 A.D.F.D.


'That which you lose for righteousness' sake, you gain an hundredfold more in this present time, and in the world to come, Life Everlasting.''

 

 

There is a publication of The Century House Historical Society called "Summer Song - Growing up along the Rondout" - by Charles R. Barnett that is an account of living in Ulster County in the 1930 and 1940 era. There are also many pictures of the area and a chapter about Father Divine and The Peace Mission at that time. As Mr. Barnett states it was 50 years before this writing and he was only 7 years old then so some of the facts concerning The Peace Mission are not exact but the theme and thoughts are correct and well written and well worth reading.

A case in point: The burning he speaks about was not High Falls but at nearby Greenkill Park. It was to force The Peace Mission Movement and the followers of FATHER DIVINE to leave the area but we did not until many years later when it became expedient that we move back to the metropolitan regions where we were mostly needed. We did however continue to pay the taxes on Greenkill park and were active in and maintained many of the other properties for many years and those who torched Greenkill did not succeed in thinking they had forced us to give up. The important point is that Ulster County was integrated.

The following are excerpts from the chapter in Summer Song that gives a seven year old boys' view of The Peace Mission, Ulster County, New York.

 

 

 

Buildings at Greenkill Park.

 

 

 

 

 

". . . I was looking straight at God. Well, not exactly straight. I had to look up a little because I was pretty small. I couldn't get a really clear view of Him, either. There were too many people in the way. They seemed enormous and kept shifting back and forth and shouting. It was hot and humid but we were in Heaven so who cared? The people were happy and they wanted God to know it. So they swayed back and forth as they shouted and waved. Some of them sang songs. That seemed to make God happy because He had a big smile on His face. He was wearing a rumpled suit that looked heavy with perspiration but He didn't seem to mind. On His head was a creamy white fedora as cool as a summer cloud. ". . . . I and my male cousins had another reason to visit Heaven. Every few weeks my mom would look at me and say, "You look just like a grass head. I better bring you over to Brother Nicodemus for a haircut."

"Brother Nicodemus was a tall, spare, b----- man who always wore a smile when I came bouncing into his barbershop.

"Peace, brother," I would say. That was the ritual demanded by Father Divine.

"Peace," Brother Nicodemus would answer and wave me into the huge enamel and leather chair that sat on an hydraulic pedestal . . . .

"After a long series of snippety snips, Brother Nicodemus would swing me around, back and forth putting finishing touches on my bristly, brown head. Finally, I'd feel him smear a dollop of shaving cream on the back of my neck and one behind each ear. It was-time for another marvelous ritual. Brother Nicodemus would take out a straight razor and slap it back and forth against a leather strap that hung the rest of the time from one arm of the great chair. That sweeping motion of steel against leather would give the old razor an edge so keen it could shear the fuzz from a peach. Brother Nicodemus showed us one time.

"A splash of witch hazel, a careful parting of my hair with the help of some perfumed water and I was done.

"Next," called brother Nicodemus as he held out his hand to me for payment. In his palm, I would place the nickel my mom had given me. It was warm and moist from my excited grip.

"Thank you, little man," he would say and smile gently.

". . . . It wasn't many months after God came to High Falls on that hot, mid-summer day with all His angels that there was a disaster in heaven. I couldn't figure out what it was all about. There was a fire. I didn't see it but I heard the fire engines blowing their horns all the way from Rosendale. You could see the red glow in the sky that night and even smell the smoke when the wind was right.

"The fire didn't attack just the cluster of buildings in the middle of town where it started. It seemed to have skipped around the countryside razing every cream and red building it could find. It didn't make sense in my childish mind. It was terribly sad and awful. Heaven was on fire and I couldn't imagine why.

"Half a century later I guess I know what happened but I still don't know why. I've looked in history books but even those friendly to the memory of Father Divine seem to gloss over the last days of heaven in High Falls. Perhaps no one cared enough to make note of it. Even that, I can't understand. But this I know-- I will remember. I was there. Heaven was gone and it would never return."

 

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GOD is a free gift to the world. Any and all of the material on this and other pages may be copied and reproduced.

Use the material freely but respect FATHER DIVINE'S intent, which was and is, to provide us all with the keys to eternal health and happiness without cost or price. HE truly came as a free gift to the world, gratis to mankind.

It is also nice to give credit where credit is due for through the Spirit and Teaching of FATHER and MOTHER DIVINE you are and can eternally be abundantly blessed.

From all of us to all of you. we wish you, peace and love, and many blessings, and may we all ever live in unity and brotherhood and the Consciousness of GOD'S Actual Ever Presence.

True Americanism, True Brotherhood, True Christianity, True Judaism and All True Religions are synonymous and truly Our GOD is One GOD. Amen

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