My name is Josh Bonventre and I am the Senior Pastor of The Journey Church. My wife, Dottie, serves with me in ministry full time. She is my closest friend and confidant for the last 44 years. Mike McGovern is the administrative pastor and is truly a great asset not only to the church but to me.
Let me take a moment and share my story with you: I was born in Sicily and in 1960, at the age of 10, I left Sicily to be reunited with my mother and father who had journeyed to the United States a year and a half earlier than me to find a place to live and get a job to provide for me and my sister. My parents settled in Harlem in the hopes of making a better life for their six children. I will never forget the day my sister and I boarded the S.S. Saturnia to cross the Atlantic and come to America. My sister was 12 and I was 10 and we traveled alone. Not knowing the language and being alone, we were both very frightened and the 10 day trip seemed like forever. When I was reunited with my mother it was the happiest day of my life. That happiness, however, was short lived because my mother passed away just a few short years after my arrival, a day I will never forget.
My older sister decided that at that point, I needed to move out to Long Island and live with her and her family. My father decided to go back to Italy to start his life over, without me. Being a teenager is difficult enough, but my life was being turned upside down and I began to question how a loving God could allow these painful experiences and do nothing to help me.
My sister just happened to live next door to a church called the Christian Assembly. I wouldn’t call myself religious as a young boy but I know that I had a tender heart, a tender heart that was aching with pain and I was all of 14 years old. A boy that befriended in the neighborhood invited me to this church and introduced me for the first time to a personal relationship with Jesus. He told me that it was not about religion but a relationship. I know at that point in my life, I was in need of hope, a hope that things would get better in my life. I stepped over the line that day and said “Yes” to Jesus and my life was changed forever.
At 17, I was invited to attend a youth camp and it was there that I felt God’s call on my life to enter ministry. The following year I attended Bible College in Rhode Island. I did not finish school there but what I did learn continues to impact my life. Serving others and thanking God for His love, His wisdom and His faithfulness. Upon my return I attended a local college and met my wife, Dottie. We married on November 18, 1972 and have 3 adult children and 6 wonderful grandchildren who all attend The Journey with us. How blessed am I?
I continued to be involved in the church, serving as youth leader, assistant pastor, and interim pastor. After leaving the church for five years to serve in another ministry, we were asked to come back and pastor the church. Knowing that we could not do this on our own strength, we asked the Lord to guide us and go before us. He did and we said, yes! After several years, we changed the name of the church to The Journey.