Born to Dominican immigrants in 1965, Emmanuel grew up in a Hispanic neighborhood in the borough of the Bronx in New York City. As a young child, Emmanuel was able to see the love of God in a tangible way as his parents served the Lord as pastors of a Spanish Pentecostal church in the Bronx. It was in his dad’s church that Emmanuel came to experience Christ’s love in a profound and transforming way. Following his encounter with Christ’s love, Emmanuel felt compelled to begin to preach the gospel in the subways, which he took daily to go to school and work. His experience of preaching in the subways created a love and an appreciation for ministry particularly in an urban poor setting.
In 1988, due to having mostly English-speaking friends, Emmanuel left his hometown church in the Bronx to attend Times Square Church in midtown Manhattan, founded by David Wilkerson. Those years at his dad’s church in the Bronx and at Times Square Church instilled in him a love and an appreciation for the house of God. It was the custom of both churches to have church services 4 or 5 times a week. This devotion and love for God’s House would become a hallmark of Emmanuel’s life in a significant way up to the present time, even at a time in contemporary Christianity where there has been a significant loss of devotion to God’s house across the Western world.
Emmanuel also went on to attend Hunter College in NYC and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science in 1989. While attending Hunter College, Emmanuel met his wife Laura Suarez and they were married soon after graduating from college. Emmanuel and Laura have three beautiful daughters Eden, Gabriella, and Abigail. However, in 1997 the Suarez family left the only city that they had known and moved into the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania seeking a better quality of life and a lower cost of living for their family
Soon after moving to Pennsylvania, Emmanuel would be offered an opportunity to serve as Worship Leader at a Bible Fellowship church plant in South Allentown, which he did for almost seven years. In late 2005, after almost seven years of serving the church plant in South Allentown and sensing a call to full-time ministry, Emmanuel and Laura transitioned to Grace Community Church in Souderton, PA. Grace Community Church (Grace) is a member of the Sovereign Grace Churches, a reformed, charismatic family of churches. Then in 2006, after a fruitful career in software development mostly in the Finance industry, Emmanuel sensed God’s call to leave his job and attend Westminster Theological Seminary, one of the leading reformed seminaries in the Northeast. By the grace of God, Emmanuel successfully completed his seminary education and graduated in 2011 with a Master’s Degree in Divinity with a particular concentration in Pastoral Ministries. During these formal years in seminary, the Lord began to clarify a call to plant a church in inner city Allentown, one that would serve those with the greatest spiritual and physical needs with a particular focus on the youth and children in the community.
Immediately after graduation from Westminster in 2011, Grace confirmed Emmanuel’s call to plant a church in inner city Allentown, and immediately sent him to the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College in Gaithersburg, MD., where he would receive an additional 10 months of intensive pastoral training. After the 10 months training at the Pastor’s college, Emmanuel returned to Grace in order to serve a one-year church planting internship under the direct supervision of the pastors at Grace. It was during that year as an intern that the Lord began to put things together for the Allentown church plant. The Lord began to raise up several families who would pledged to support the plant and transition their membership to the new church in Allentown. Finally in the Spring of 2013, the entire Allentown church planting team led by Emmanuel Suarez was officially commissioned, prayed for, and sent out by Grace Community Church.
Given the great needs of the community, it was necessary to plant a church with a commitment to the ministry of prayer, worship and intercession with the conviction that through the proclamation of the gospel of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit could the needs of the community be met.