To preach and teach the word of God and provide a refuge for people of all ages and cultures, empower them to prepare themselves to meet the challenges of the 21st century,and most importantly to meet God.

To empower people Spiritually, Financially, Emotionally, Psychologically;… Through a Ministry of Deliverance.

Joan E. Whittaker is a visionary, entrepreneur, leader and role model; often described as a world changer because of the positive impact she has had on individuals and the community.

Ms. Whittaker was born in Jamaica West, Indies and immigrated to the United States in 1988 in order to attend graduate school. After twelve months she graduated with a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and has served in her profession since then in one capacity or another for twenty-seven years.

Joan E. Whittaker has retired from her position as Library Director of the Irvington Public Library to serve as the full time Pastor of HORAC Ministries in Ossining, New York. She is the Founder and Senior Pastor of this dynamic growing non-denominational church. Her leadership skills have impacted thousands as she touches the lives of many through her dynamic and moving public speaking. She is unquestionably a role model particularly for teenagers as evidenced in the membership of the Church where over seventy percent of the members are young people.

Joan E. Whittaker is now an author, accomplished public speaker and Dean of the Mt. Olive Bible Institute and Seminary Ossining Campus. She is also the Founder of Tree of Life Ministries, a career mentorship and counseling program. She travels the world to speak at events and is establishing branch churches locally and internationally. Her vision is to empower people everywhere by hosting free Vacation Bible schools in the United States and abroad, summer camps and after school programs.

Joan E. Whittaker’s ability, passion, knowledge, enthusiasm, creativity and pro-active stance as a leader has resulted in her becoming a productive and outstanding leader.

Vallretta Chapman is an entrepreneur, Investor, Pastor and role model; often described as a model capitalist and leader who seizes and economizes opportunities to enhance the welfare of others and herself.

Vallretta Chapman was born in Jamaica West, Indies and immigrated to the United States in 1990. After being a store clerk, then Payroll Accountant for 15 years in Jamaica, she decided to pursue a career in Nursing and Nursing Education after she resided in the United States.

Before attaining her present job, Vallretta was the Nurse Manager at the Bergen Regional Medical Center in New Jersey. She was responsible for hiring, instructing, and mentoring staff in order to maintain the high standard of this prestigious Hospital. Even earlier, Vallretta was a Licensed Practical Nurse (L.P.N.), then a Registered Nurse(R.N.), then a Nurse Manager, then she advanced to an Assistant Director of Nursing(A.D.O.N.), then finally Director of Nursing(D.O.N.)

Vallretta Chapman’s skill, inspiration, forethought, and business acumen has made her a very successful professional Nurse and an equally successful Investor.

Vallretta Chapman is also an Associate Pastor of the House of Refuge Apostolic Church in Ossining, New York. She trains leaders in various capacities, creates and executes fund raising ventures, equips men and women with life skills such as teaching about money management, and maintains the financial records of the organization along with an external Certified Public Accountant and a Bookkeeper.

Vallretta Chapman’s skill, inspiration, education and leadership skills has advanced and inspired the lives of many individuals and groups in her sphere of influence.


The House of Refuge Apostolic Church (HORAC) began when Pastor Joan E. Whittaker developed a holy discontent after God spoke to her heart regarding the people she loves and respects in Ossining.

Evangelist Whittaker obeyed the voice of the Lord and began having prayer meetings at the home of Una Richards. During this time, the presence of the Lord was evident and out of these meetings, the church was birthed. After years of service to her previous ministries and congregation, the House of Refuge Apostolic Church officially began on January 7, 2001 with a few members. Upon visiting Ruach Ministries in London, England the Lord used Bishop John Francis to minister to Pastor Whittaker and through divine connection, HORAC became a part of the PATRIS Fellowship of Bishop John Francis at Ruach Ministries.

God granted favor by allowing the House of Refuge to have services at the United Methodist Church on Malcolm Street in Ossining, New York. God continued to add to the Ministry and His power was evident as souls were saved and delivered. Services transitioned to 137 James Street where God continued to Minister to his people. In 2006, Pastor Whittaker saw a building at 81 Croton Ave. in Ossining, New York and the Holy Spirit impressed upon her to ask if the building was for sale. Initially, she was told, no. However, the door was later opened and the process to purchasing this building began.

House of Refuge took on the tremendous task of purchasing and renovating the 34,000 square foot building. God continued to prove himself and one by one, each mountain was moved. On June 7, 2009, the House of Refuge has celebrated its first service in its newly renovated building. God has truly proven himself again.

Today, HORAC is a thriving growing church that ministers to the individual, as well as to the body of Christ.


We strive to foster an anointed atmosphere where people of all ages can praise and worship God in their own way. People are free to lift their hands, clap, laugh, dance, and shout. We believe that all things must be done decently and in order. Prophetic words or gestures from our guests must be discerned. Any manifestation or demonstrative expressions which are not influenced by the Spirit of God, will be stopped. Distractions during worship services can cause some people to lose focus on God’s blessing plan for that day. Our aim is to edify the body of the Church in an orderly fashion.


All visitors will be received with a warm and friendly welcome and will be treated with the utmost respect. We will attempt to make our environment a safe place for everyone. No one will be judged or condemned, but will receive the word of God directly from the Bible; inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is a deliverance ministry, where lives are changed, healed and delivered.

Preachers and Teachers

Our goal is to provide an atmosphere and environment where the body of Christ is nurtured; growing together in the bond of unity. Those who preach and teach the word of God, must live what they preach. We desire to foster a strong foundation to usher Christians into spiritual maturity.

Our Faith

That the Bible is the inspired, infallible and authoritative Word of God.

In the Godhead and that in Jesus dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily according to Colossians 2 verse 9.

In the blessed hope – The second coming of Christ.

That the only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

That the baptism of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2 verse 4 is given to believers who ask for it, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to believers.

In the Sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a holy life.

In the resurrection of the saved and the lost, the one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting damnation.

In the application of water baptism by immersion according to Acts 2 verse 38.

That the baptized believers of this church, being many, are one body and God gave Christ to be the head of that body which is the Church. Read 1 Corinthians 12 verse 12 and Ephesians 1 verse 22.

In the Five-fold Ministry and the Eldership according to the New Testament Church in the Bible. We believe that an Apostle, Pastor, Evangelist, Teacher, and Prophet, are not positions or offices in the church, but are ascension gifts according to Ephesians chapter 4 verses 11-12.

That when Christ left according to Ephesians chapter 4 verses 11-12, He gave gifts unto men for the perfecting of the Church.

That the Lord’s Supper is a sacramental rite instituted by our Lord to show forth an example of commemorating His death and Suffering.