Citadel of Hope Mission (CHM) was founded in 1972 by the late Rev. Mother Geraldine Powell, who truly loved God, loved winning souls for Christ and teaching God’s Word to ensure the believers’ ability to live a successful Christian life. Citadel of Hope Mission began in her apartment on Springdale Ave in East Orange NJ with a handful of people. The home was owned by her son and daughter- in- law William and Muriel Barnett. There was never a sign put on the front of the house to indicate there were church services being held inside, only the praises of God, the songs of Zion, the spoken Word of God that was preached and taught declared it.
This is the story of this church’s remarkable beginning. Mother Powell suffered a severe car accident that crushed her feet and the doctors said she would never walk again. She was a woman of faith and refused to accept that prognosis. Weeks went by without much improvement, but Mother Powell’s unwavering faith that God could and would perform a miracle never faltered. During her convalesce period; she was determined to do God’s work. So she made up fliers that stated she was going to teach Sunday school in her home and gave them to her niece, Donna, to pass out in the neighborhood. On the following Sunday, a small number of people attended.
Once she had the assurance that this is what God wanted her to do, she asked her son, Pastor Bill, to come and help her in this work. Pastor Bill already had a prior commitment, in which he was doing the Radio Tape Ministry and playing the organ for another church. He told his mother that he could not just leave that church obligation. Mother Powell said, “Well I’m going to pray.”
On the following Sunday, Pastor Bill went to that church and the usher summoned him to the pastor’s office. Once he was in the pastor’s office, Pastor Bill was told his services would no longer be needed. He was told that God had sent them a gifted young man that they wanted to play for them. Mother Powell prayed and God answered.
The bible states that Apostle Paul taught for a season in a house; Mother Powell also did for a period of 2 ½ years. During this time, God performed a miraculous healing in her feet. As CHM continued to grow, every room in the house was filled, even the staircase leading to upstairs. Parking became problematic for the residents of the area. Eventually, a petition to have the church closed was started, but God already had a plan. Mother Powell discovered an empty church building that the Lutheran Organization owned. She inquired about it and was met with strong opposition. She was told that the building was going to be given to the city.
She tried to explain her vision to use the building for the Glory of God, but they refused to discuss it with her. Mother Powell then asked her son to call, thinking maybe a man's voice would cause them to reconsider. However, he too met the same resistance and their answer remained a flat “No”! Mother Powell did not give up. The members prayed fervently that God would move in this situation. Mother Powell, her son Pastor Bill and several believers went, laid hands on that building and claimed it. God honored the prayers and the faith of his children and performed a miracle.
Today, forty-one years later Citadel of Hope Mission continues to flourish and grow as God is still moving by His Spirit. Mother Powell's mission is still being fulfilled through her son Senior Pastor, William (Pastor Bill) J. Barnett, her grandson Pastor Rev. Wade Barnett, other family members along with the church family of Citadel of Hope Mission. To God be all the glory!