PASTOR ANTHONY BUONFIGLIO
Anthony Buonfiglio was born in Brooklyn, New York, to an alcoholic father and a mother who suffered with depression. As a young teen in a rough school, he wound up surrounded by mobsters who took him under their wing and introduced him to a life of crime, drugs, and alcohol. By his early twenties he was married to Teresa and had two sons. His wife’s grief over the death of her mother turned into a deep depression that led to two nervous breakdowns and thoughts of suicide. During his wife’s seven years of depression, Anthony lost his used car business because of his drug and alcohol abuse. Accepting an offer in early 1977 to manage an upstate New York disco, he began using it as a front to deal cocaine. Managing the disco and dealing cocaine consumed his life and brought turmoil and confusion to his wife and sons. One day in October, 1977, Anthony’s sister and brother-in-law brought Teresa a Bible for her wedding anniversary. As Teresa started reading it, the Lord began a miraculous work in her mind and heart. Within six weeks she was totally free from the depression that had held her captive for so many years. When Anthony would return home for two days every week, he witnessed this dramatic change in his wife, and though he attributed it to the Bible, he wanted no part of it for himself.
One Wednesday evening he came home unexpectedly as Teresa was getting ready to leave for church, but having never heard of a midweek church service, he was sure that she must have been preparing to go on a date with another man. Insisting on accompanying her wherever she was going that evening, he ended up with her in a church of 400 people filled with joy as they clapped and danced. Though he felt a peace come over him that he had never before experienced, he walked out when the pastor gave an altar call for salvation. The following morning he returned upstate to the disco, telling Teresa that he would remain there for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays because there was a lot of money to be made. During those next few weeks upstate, he couldn’t shake the feeling of peace that he had experienced during the church service. Having been steeped in drugs and alcohol for 28 years, his desire for them was now gone.
Late one evening, while overlooking the dance floor at the disco, he started wondering about the change in his wife and his lack of desire for drugs and alcohol. Suddenly he had a horrific vision of hell that absolutely terrified him. As the room filled up with smoke and a foul stench, the faces of the people in the disco became twisted and contorted. Ugly beams of light started to shoot out from their eyes as flesh started melting off their skulls. He then heard a voice say to him, “Anthony, you don’t have to go there.” Realizing that it was God speaking to him, he packed his bags and ran out of the disco. Arriving home, he told his wife to take him back to that crazy church, which she did. It was at that church service in December of 1977 that he gave his life to Christ. When he returned home that evening, he got alone with God and prayed for the first time in many, many years. As he satisfied his need to confess all of his sins, he emerged from that room three hours later as a new man.
Immediately God began to move in his life, blessing him with a legitimate job for the first time in his life. He developed a hunger for the Lord and started cultivating an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. Months later, he assisted in establishing a chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association in Flushing, New York, eventually serving as its president. As the years progressed, he faithfully and diligently served the Lord and studied His Word. In 1982, with the support of his wife’s prayers and numerous confirmations from the Lord, he answered God’s call to establish and become the pastor of Pillars of Faith Tabernacle. The same Lord that had set him free from drugs and alcohol then led him to develop a program to free others from their addictions and strongholds. Guided by the Holy Spirit, he began writing down a seven-step program based solely on God’s Word that would become the Victorious Overcomers Support Group. This program that was initiated as a community outreach at Pillars of Faith Tabernacle then grew into an international network of churches, ministries, and missions that use this program. Pastor Anthony went home to be with the Lord in 1997 but his legacy lives on through Pillars of Faith Tabernacle and the Victorious Overcomers Support Group.