The foundations for ministry were set in the upbringing in the fear and admonition of the Lord of a committed servant of God, the Reverend Dr. John L. Butler. From an early age John’s desire was to live for God and to work for the church. Being saved at the age of eight and being filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost at 14, he began to grow in God being nurtured under the tutelage of Bishop Frank Edward Cook, pastor of the Church of God in Christ in Brownsville which later became the Holy Trinity Church of God in Christ. As he grew, he participated and served in many areas of the growing ministry including singing and playing the piano, Sunday school, the Usher Board, firmly believing the Word that exhorts “whatsoever thy hands find to do, do it with all thy might…as unto the Lord.”
FOUNDER AND SENIOR PASTOR
THE CALL TO MINISTRY
Though many of his peers had already begun their public ministries, it wasn’t until early in 1961 that John acknowledged his call to the ministry. (He received and acknowledged his call to the ministry while Dad Mason was praying an intercessory prayer during the 1960 Holy Convocation). During that prayer of intercession, God called John to the ministry of preaching and simultaneously told him to go to law school to be a help to the church. Law school was something that had never entered his mind previously so he knew that this was an inspiration from God.
During his law school years John began working as an assistant pastor at a rural church in Riverhead, New York with his father-in-law Ralph N. Ellis. In the same period that he completed his studies, his two callings came to fruition with his ordination as an Elder in the COGIC by Bishop O.M. Kelly in 1964.
A HIGHER CALLING IN MINISTRY
It was during his employment with the Human Rights division that John received the call of God, at the request of the members to the Bishop, to become Pastor of a small church in a ravaged inner-city neighborhood, Goodwill Mission Church of God in Christ. Under his dedicated and faithful leadership together he and his wife began ministering the Word of God and hope to the oppressed. They had a unique ministry where they encouraged many to better their life situation through education. Many of the early members who were formerly in the streets and who subsisted on public assistance, under their ministry returned to school, completed their education and became gainfully employed and productive members of the church and community. Within three years of his pastoring, the church was able to purchase a larger building and relocate.
Elder John Butler was eventually called by God to serve full-time in ministry as a pastor while maintaining a private law practice. Throughout the years God has blessed him to be a blessing to many. Many young people, whose prospects for life were dim, after coming to the ministry, credit Dr. Butler with being a role model and inspiration for them to love God and succeed at life’s endeavors. Out of his ministry, he has had six different pastors to move into the pastorate or establish churches.
After ministering faithfully in the East New York community of Brooklyn, the call of God transitioned Pastor Butler and the church family to another location. Where embracing another historic congregation of believers in central Brooklyn, they merged to become Salvation and Restoration Christian COGIC in 2004.
In 2009, due to declining health and the desire to ensure continuity of the kingdom work, the Lord moved upon the heart of Dr. John Butler and the next season of transition was implemented, and in that January the Assistant Pastor at the time, Elder Tyrone Butler, took up the mantle of ministry as Pastor of Salvation and Restoration, with Dr. John Butler remaining in oversight as the Senior Pastor. After a period of illness, the Lord called Dr. John Butler home to be with him on August 11, 2011.
The ministry of Salvation and Restoration continues to advance and thrive under the leadership of Pastor Tyrone Butler and his wife who shares and works by his side, Evangelist Racquel Butler. With several major renovations under their belt, taking place from 2014 – 2015, the church now stands not only as a beacon of hope in the community, but with the elevation of Elder Tyrone Butler to the Office of Bishop in November 2013, now stands as the Episcopal headquarters of the New York Southeast Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ.