A big part of the book that I’m writing deals with reclaiming space for use in the kingdom of God. So, I’ve heard lots of stories about former schools, movie theaters, malls, and even strip clubs being turned into churches. But this is a new one.
The real disappointment for me in this story isn’t the location. It’s the fact that the church is named Flatlands Church of God and not Goodfellas Church of God. I mean how do you miss that opportunity?!
You could have had a pastoral staff composed of Robert De Niro as senior pastor, Ray Liotta as youth pastor, and Joe Pesci leading worship!!
Now that would be a church to tell your friends about.
It’s church bada-bingo!
By RICH CALDER and MITCHEL MADDUX
It’s a former Mafia slaughterhouse where God — and not the Godfather — calls the shots now.
A Brooklyn building that once housed the infamous Gemini Lounge — where Gambino crime-family soldiers carried out countless, unspeakable mob murders — has become the Flatlands Church of God, drawing faithful every Sunday to sing praises to the Almighty.
Donald Williams, pastor of the mob killing-field-turned-Pentecostal church at Flatlands and Troy avenues, said he didn’t know his church site’s gruesome history before paying $220,000 for it in 1997.
The two-story brick building is where Gambino soldier Roy DeMeo and his crew of Mafia psychopaths whacked and dismembered anywhere from 70 to 200 victims in the 1970s and early ’80s, according to prosecutors.
But Williams said he doesn’t regret buying the property — even as the church now struggles years later to stay afloat and raise money for necessary repairs.
“I think God sent us here for a reason,” Williams said. “After we opened, many of our neighbors said our coming was a sigh of relief. They said if a church is here, God is here, and they could finally sleep at night.”
The pastor also said he believes the church’s presence has saved souls of people murdered there.
The church’s altar and seating area for its 100 members was once a smoke-filled dance floor at the old lounge.
An elevated stage, now used for a public address system, is where DeMeo usually sat and kept a safe to stash loan-shark money, guns and other valuables.
And a side apartment, now used for church offices, was where unsuspecting victims were lured and killed in an execution style dubbed the “Gemini Method.”
The system was designed to eliminate messiness, prosecutors say.
Someone would shoot the victim once in the head and then wrap a towel around his wound like a turban to stem blood flow. Another person would then stab the victim in the chest to divert more blood from pumping out of the gunshot wound.
Before being tossed in bags and boxes and dropped at a local dump, the corpse would be chopped up in a basement room the church has since converted into a computer room and some bathrooms.