About Refuge of Hope
Clara Rivera serves as Senior Pastor of Refuge of Hope Church. Pastor Clara was born in the country of Panama. She is the fourth child of Juan and Ana’s six children. She is married to Mariano Rivera and together they have been blessed with three sons, Mariano, Jafet and Jaziel.
Although Pastor Clara was acquainted with the gospel at an earlier in life, it was at the age of 25 that she had a personal encounter with God. From that moment forward, she has served the Lord with all of her heart and strength. Those that are close and know her well will attest that she lives what she preaches. She has a favorite phrase: “I believe God and my desire is to always please Him”. This sentiment is visible in her ministry, her personality, as well as every aspect of her every day living.
Her aspiration and heart’s desire is to follow Christ’s example and lead Refuge of Hope to be a church that would meet the needs of the community through leadership, volunteerism, inclusion and example. Her passion is to motivate each member of the congregation to love, serve those in need, giving not only of financial resources but also sharing the message of hope by investing their time and talent to uplift their community.
Clara’s has not only accepted the pastorate of Refuge of Hope but also has received a clear vision of what God wants to accomplish with this body of believers. With a humble heart and her strong faith in God, she is ready and committed to fulfill this mission.
Refuge of Hope is a multicultural united body of believers committed to the revitalization of its community through acts of service and a genuine demonstration of God’s love.
Refuge of Hope began in 2009 in the home of Mariano and Clara Rivera. A small group of individuals would meet for a time of prayer and sharing on a regular basis. This group quickly experienced growth as the needs of the attendees were being met. They felt the need to organize a local church that would not only present the message of salvation to its attendees, but also provide programs that would meet the needs of the less fortunate in the community.
In order to accomplish their mission, they quickly determined that they would need a more formal setting. In their efforts to expand, a beautiful, historic building formally known as North Avenue Presbyterian Church was acquired from the City of New Rochelle, New York. The building has already gained admittance to the National Register of Historic Places.