Our History

History of Zion Harvest Church, Woodstock, Illinois

Zion Harvest Church began as Fresh Harvest Church, which was officially birthed on December 31, 2000, by Dr. Cheryl Rousch Armstrong and a determined group of believers in Jesus Christ who signed a charter of commitment to form an apostolically-governed, evangelical church that would herald the Kingdom of God on earth. Dr. Cheryl and her husband, Jim Armstrong, as well as most of the charter members had previously been associated with the United Presbyterian Church, USA; however, the doctrinal confines of the denominational church soon became incompatible with God’s emerging restoration of Apostolic Government to the Church of Jesus Christ.

Prior to the official formation of Fresh Harvest Church, Dr. Cheryl and those believers who had left the denominational church met for worship, Bible study and apostolic training in the various homes of the participants, who were mostly from Marengo and Crystal Lake, Illinois. After the signing of the charter officially birthing Fresh Harvest Church in 2000, most of the church meetings were held in the Armstrong home in Woodstock, Illinois, the county seat of McHenry County, Illinois. The church soon outgrew the Armstrong home and moved to Westwood Elementary School in Woodstock and then to its current location in the McHenry County Farm Bureau building on McConnell Road, also in Woodstock.

Feeling the need to be apostolically connected to others of like-mind, Fresh Harvest Church was originally part of the Christian International Network, then of Barbara Yoder’s Network, but it became apparent that Dr. Cheryl was a strong apostolic leader in her own right, having supernaturally and spiritually received a sword piercing her heart at Ground Zero in New York City in October, 2001. This was the beginning of her call to the nation. As a result of this call, Dr. Cheryl has led others to pray and intercede for our nation as well as for the nations of the earth. She has been instrumental in training others to explore their apostolic gifts of prophecy, teaching, pastoring, and evangelism and has traveled multiple times to New York City and Washington, D.C., leading intercessory prayer teams to pray at the United Nations as well as various foreign embassies in our nation’s capital.

Dr. Cheryl and her husband, Jim, moved to St. Louis, Missouri in September, 2011, leaving Fresh Harvest Church in the capable hands of the leaders she had trained over the years. She now directs Fresh Harvest Ministries. Prophet Jorge Rivera eventually became the pastor, ministering with his wife, Betsy. The church Dr. Cheryl began officially changed its name to Zion Harvest Church in September, 2015, in order to better reflect its new leadership and continues to apostolically minister to those in the local community as well as to intercede in prayer for our county, nation, and the nations of the world.

Zion Harvest Church is under the apostolic covering of Apostle Bidal Torrez of Valley Harvest Church in Neenah, Wisconsin. Apostle Bidal officiated in the ordination of Zion Harvest Church’s Pastor Jorge Rivera in August, 2015. Since his ordination, Pastor Jorge has worked with the Zion Harvest Church leadership to develop new strategies for reaching our local community of Woodstock as well as to have an impact on the nation and the world. Locally, we operate a Prayer Station on the Woodstock Square on Saturday mornings, where volunteers pray and talk with people on the streets of Woodstock. Zion Harvest Church also helps to support a young man who is a missionary with Street Life Ministries in New York City, a missionary in Brazil working to translate Bible materials into Portuguese, and a small church near Lagos, Nigeria. We continue to look for opportunities to serve as well as to win the lost to Jesus Christ and to speak into the lives of all those who the Lord puts before us.