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History of New Life Church

In 1944, Pastor Pedro “Sammy” Mones and his wife Neva pioneered a new church in Pasadena, California.

The founding members primarily consisted of immigrants from the Philippines who settled in the Pasadena area, so the church was named Filipino Full Gospel Church.  The congregation initially met in Old Pasadena at a storefront on 38 South Raymond Avenue.  The church gained District Affiliated Status with the Southern California District Council of the Assemblies of God in 1946.  It holds designation as the first Filipino Assemblies of God church in the continental United States.

Filipino Full Gospel Church relocated in the early 1950s after acquiring a traditional church building at 27 Mary Street (the current site of Parsons Corporation’s headquarters).  The congregants purchased the church building for $10,000, which interested persons across the United States donated.  The church warmly welcomed all ethnicities, and its makeup began to reflect the cultural diversity of the time.

One of the most notable ministries birthed under the tenure of Pastor Mones was Carrie’s Company, founded and led by the pastor’s daughter, Carrie Ann, and her husband, Val Gonzalo.  This dynamic vocal ensemble and band consisted of sixteen young people ranging from eleven to twenty-six.  Most of the members were teenagers in high school or junior college.  While primarily ministering at Filipino Full Gospel Church and singing Carrie’s original music compositions, the group’s profile and renown expanded.  Other ministry opportunities opened up outside of their home church.  They made television appearances, ministered at various youth gatherings, Los Angeles County probation facilities, and schools.  Carrie’s Company also performed and ministered alongside legendary gospel music artists, including Andraé Crouch.

When the 210 Freeway was expanding into Pasadena, a small parcel of land became available at the current location on 330 North Hill Avenue.  The church secured the property and broke ground for a new church home.  The building opened its doors for the first time in early 1974.  Reflecting the diversity of its membership, the Pasadena area, and surrounding communities, the fellowship changed its name to Full Gospel Church.

Following the retirement of Pastor Mones in 1976, the multi-ethnic congregation in transition needed a new pastor. 

Glen Gotcsik, a newly credentialed 25-year-old minister, moved his wife Karen and young family from upstate New York to Southern California.  In 1977, Full Gospel Church legally changed the name to New Life Assembly of God of Pasadena.  Near the end of Pastor Gotcsik’s five-year tenure, New Life Assembly of God attained General Council Status with the Assemblies of God.

New Life Assembly of God found itself with a new leader when the Southern California District Council of the Assemblies of God called into service a seasoned minister.  Milton Barfoot and his wife Eunice came out of retirement in 1981.  Pastor Barfoot shepherded the flock at New Life Assembly of God for 15 years until his second retirement from the ministry in 1996.

As a young boy, the family of Ruben Macabitas was one of the church’s original founding members.  He grew up under the ministry of founder Pastor Mones.  Ruben and his wife Rhoda were also members of Carrie’s Company.  In 1996, Ruben Macabitas became the church pastor where he grew up.  Pastor Ruben led New Life Assembly of God for 23 years until his retirement in early 2019.

Ken Joe is the current pastor at New Life Assembly of God.  The SoCal Network of the Assemblies of God installed Ken Joe and his wife Marina in October 2019.  Pastor Ken is the fifth lead pastor in New Life Assembly of God’s rich and storied history.

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