A group of individuals from the Ephesus Church were drawn together by a common idea and similar goal and that was to began a branch sabbath school in the Bronx where they all lived at the time. Perhaps their interest in such a project was two-fold. They were concerned about proclaiming the gospel to those in the Bronx area but were not unmindful of their laborious commute in traveling by bus and train to church on Sabbath mornings. Since only one of the families had a car, this was a real challenge for the other families who all had small children.
So the branch SS became a reality but not without difficulty. Moving from one place to another became very common for the little company of Sabbath keepers. They moved from store fronts, to basement rooms, to cold lofts, etc. In addition, after SS was over they'd begin their trek to Ephesus for 11 o'clock service. This continued for several months. After a time, and as their numbers grew, they decided (with concurrence from Ephesus) to have one of the men of the group preach, and to conduct their own 11 o'clock worship service (which would negate them travelling to Ephesus after SS) The branch SS soon became a mission and the attendance grew from week to week. The original leadership consisted primarily of the Jones', the Hazells, the Thompsons, the Kings and Sr. McCollum.
It wasn't long before they knew it was time to look for other and more permanency in their worship locale. This proved to be a daunting task - they experienced problems with lockouts, fires, unscrupulous landlords, poorly maintained buildings, etc. The uncertainty and frustrations eventually took its toll on some of the congregants which ultimately led to a parting of the ways and soon only three of the original families were left to carry on. They persevered for months despite the unpleasant conditions, adjustments, demanding sacrifices and lack of equipment and materials. After several months of constant problems, the leaders met one Friday evening to discuss closing down the Mission and informing the members on the following day of this decision. Before closing the meeting, they offered prayer to make certain this was God's will and to seek his direction in this effort. While praying, they heard a knock on the outer door. One of the men stepped away to answer, thinking it was someone telling them that they'd have to vacate the premises. But to their pleasant surprise, it was a woman inquiring about the time of services for the next day. It seemed that this woman's sister had come up from FL and was looking for an Seventh-day Adventist Church to attend and this woman had heard that this mission held services on "Saturdays". The group immediately concluded that this was a direct "go ahead" from God. So they told the woman to let her sister know that they began at 9:30am. And as they say, the rest is history.
From this experience, they gained renewed faith, new strength, vigor and determination to forge ahead no matter the hardships. Visitors came week after week and the membership grew to nearly a hundred. At this juncture, the Conference saw fit to assign Elder Samuel Hooper, a credentialed conference worker to assume the leadership of the "mission in the Bronx".
Elder Samuel Hooper served from 1949 - 1952. It was under his leadership that the "mission" gained their independence from the Ephesus Church and became the Bronx Seventh-day Adventist Church. They moved to Northeastern Academy, Jennings Street, Bronx, NY and held services there for several years.
Elder Nathaniel Ashby responded to the call and served from 1952 - 1956. He was also serving as principal of Northeastern Academy. Because of his dual responsibilities, he was ably assisted by Owen Troy, Jr., John Lee, among others. Because of Prof. Ashby's special rapport with young people, many were attracted to the church and we experienced significant growth during this time.
Elder Herman Murphy led the congregation from 1956 - 1960 and as the first full time pastor of the Bronx Church. Elder Murphy was a nurturer, had keen insight, good judgment, sound ideas and vast experience in developing churches and moving them forward and we became the receipients of his fine leadership and God blessed us immensely. Elder Murphy conducted the first Bronx Church tent effort and baptized scores. During this time, NEA was sold and consequently the Bronx Church had to relocate. Elder Murphy was faced with a new challenge - that of finding a new place of worship with no money with which to purchase a property. He really wanted us to find a place to buy and to cease from renting. He stepped out in faith and along with the church officers found our present site - 1695 Washington Ave. We went from "no money" to being able to complete the remodeling of the basement, first floor and begin the renovation of the sanctuary. Elder Murphy baptized 90 plus souls during his tenure.
Elder Samuel Stovall served as pastor from 1960-1965. Elder Stovall, an intellectual and a man of good christian discernment saw the needs and became committed to raising funds to pay off the mortgage. He launched the "Every Member Canvas Program". The goal was set at $52,000 to be raised over the next three years. The project was very successful and in addition to paying off the mortgage, the church completed the renovation of the sanctuary, pews were added along with a new organ. Amidst the physical advancements to the church, evangelism did not suffer as the Bronx Church gave life to its first offspring, the Sharon Seventh-day Adventist Chruch.
Pastor T. X. Perry - served from 1966 - 1970. We actually burned the mortgage during the first year of Pastor Perry's leadership. His pastorate was grounded on peace and harmony. He brought the church to a higher level of worship and praise. He will always be remembered fondly as the "Holy Ghost Preacher" as you never left a service without the realization of the closeness of God, and that His righteousness can be ours. During Elder Perry's term, the church experienced a renewed focus on evangelism and a major tent effort was held in the south Bronx which resulted in the births of the Bronx Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church and Apocalypse 14.
Pastor D. B. Reid served from 1971 - 1973. (not a long term, but a very significant time) Prior to his coming, the church was moving from an era of building and renovation to one in which the members were beginning to move toward polarization. Consequently, the church needed a pastor who had the ability to bring people together and that was Pastor Reid's special talent. His focus was togetherness. During his tenure, the church experienced a resurgence of security, peace and harmony. He had a positive outlook and transferred this attitude to his congregation. During his ministry at the Bronx Church, we had our first indoor evengelistic effort by the conference evangelist, R.C. Connor which resulted in 25 souls being added to the church.
Pastor Jerome James - served from 1973 - 1976. He found the Bronx Church very tranquil, social and complacent. This resulted unfortunately in less reverence in the Sanctuary among other non-christian behavior. Elder James was a disciplinarian and his first goal was to restore reverence in the House of God. He believed in trained witnesses and conducted a "Training Lightbearers" Class, these graduates and students served as the Bible Workers during the tent efforts he tirelessly conducted for several weeks at a time. Pastor James started Youth Church which gave our young people a chance to really develop leadership skills, find thier place in God's service and equally important gained the blessings and benefits of being involved in their church - no longer mere bystanders or casual observers. Elder James in his short tenure, also encouraged the formation of the Children of the King Youth Choir. Elder James was never too busy for the children but was never too distracted by them to keep them in line when they misbehaved.
Pastor Douglas Batson served from 1976 - 1979. This seasoned pastor was a wonderful teacher and was well versed in the scriptures. With his vast experience, he directed the church to be in line with "Thus saith the Lord". He firmly believed that study sessions were necessary before one becomes baptized and so he introduced the Sabbath afternoon Pastor's Bible Class. He was considered to be a wise man and always gave counsel to those who needed it. During his tenure, many souls were converted to the Lord and connected with the church.
Pastor Willis Reed served from 1979 - 1982. He has the distinction of being the youngest pastor assigned to the Bronx Church. He came to the church at a time when the young people felt the need of a strong pastoral presence and someone they could relate to, and Elder Reed certainly filled that need. Pastor Reed could empathize with them, counsel them, pray with them and for them at the same time. The young people also saw in him a friend as well as their spiritual leader. Pastor Reed was a "pastor" as well as a friend to all ages. Caring, kind, gracious, dutiful and dependable only help to describe Pastor Reed. He made a point to visit all his members and if they were hospitalized or convelescing at home, he would be there like a golden ray of sunlight. Elder Reed is responsible for the stained-glass windows in the sanctuary, among other major enhancements to the church's image and presence. Elder Reed baptized a total of 86 souls during his tenure.
Pastor Norman Snipes servied from 1983 - 1985. Elder Snipes came to the Bronx Church when the congregation had been without a pastor for three months after Pastor's Reed's departure, and brought an air of dignity to the church, he was a man of principle. He introduced the first Revelation Seminar in the Bronx Church as well as Spiritual Gifts Seminar with Pastor William McNeil. He conducted two tent efforts baptizing 123 souls during the three years that he served. He purchased the first computer system and encouraged and vigorously supported the building fund progarm. Pastor Snipes left us a legacy, the Hunts Point SDA Church (our fourth offspring).
Pastor John Guy served from 1986 - 1989. He came to the Bronx Church when we were contemplating purchasing a second building. He was a master builder and one of his goals was to see the church members buy a new building during his tenure. He accepted a call to teach special pastoral skills at Andrews University via NADI before we were able to accomplish that goal. However, he ardently pursued the acquisition of a plot of land on which to build a church. He was a sensitive and caring pastor who would empathize with his members especially those experiencing economic difficulties. He'd shed a tear if he felt like it without concern about who may be looking on. He believed in the Message Magazine and our church achieved first place in North America with the most subscriptions. Not only did he encourage the members to work hard on the church but he worked alongside them to do what had to be done. He purchased the Xerox machine, church van and a printing press. During his tenure, he was instrumental in getting the then Mayor Ed Koch to stop by one Sabbath morning to give words of greetings. More importantly, he baptized 134 souls during his service to the Bronx Church.
Pastor Milton Thomas served from 1989 - 1991. Pastor Thomas could righly be described as a preacher of Righteousness, and a teacher extra-ordinaire. He conducted one of the largest Revelations Seminars from which over 27 persons graduated. He believed that every child of God is endowed with spiritual gifts and that the "gift" should be utilized for the spreading of he gospel. With this in mind, he devoted one entire Sabbath service for the congregation to understand and discover what their spiritual gifts were; and he member was able to leave the service knowing the area in which God expected them to serve.
. Pastor Michael Coleman served (as interim) from 1991 - 1992. At the age of 24, he assumed the leadership responsibilities in the church. He showed great leadership potential and was able to quickly develop rapport with members of all ages. During that year, the church was open weekdays and two evenings per week for counseling, listening and special prayer sessions; and Wednesday night prayer meetings were well attended. Pastor Coleman baptized 19 souls during his short time with us. He participated in the "Save Our Youth Crusade" which gave birth to the Mount of Blessing Seventh-day Adventist Church (our fifth offspring). When he left, the Bronx Church had lost their youngest, most energetic, creative and "eligible" pastor.
Pastor Calvin Harrison served from 1992 - 1997. Pastor Harrison had the distinction of serving the Bronx Church the longest and was loved by young and old alike. His humility is only surpassed by his kind, thoughtful and selfless personality. Pastor Harrison believed in a holistic approach to ministry. He provided food and clothing to not only the community but also for the members of his congregation who demonstrated a need. He knew how to create avenues of economic ventures for his members. His sermons were pointed and practical. He is credited with baptizing over 200 souls during his tenure and for the birth of the Mount of Blessing Church. Pastor Harrison not only talked faith, but he put his faith to work when he helped the church to acquire 3.5 acres of land for approximately 1M on While Plains Road in the Northeast section of the Bronx.
Pastor Farrell Jones served from 1998 - 2008. Pastor Jones came to the church when we needed a pastor who had the skills and business acumen to pick up the mantle of continuing the building plan. He has spent a good portion of his time fine-tuning the building plans and resolving issues related to the property. More significantly, he has expanded upon the building plans to include a Seniors Residence. This enterprise will ultimately lead to the building of the new Bronx Church. Late Fall is the time we expect to "break ground" for the development to commence. Although occupied with the business of the church he has not fallen short in terms of his real reason for being at the Bronx Church, and that is to spread the gospel. He's championed Revelations Seminar, evangelistic outreach programs from which he's baptized over 80 souls. Pastor Jones' tenure and service to the Bronx Church will be long remembered by the members of the Bronx Church.
Pastor James Clark pastored a short while, from January 2009 - May 2009. A short stay but very meaningful for the Bronx Church. Brief as his tenure was, great things were accomplished and space and time will suffice only a brief recap. It is said his leadership will be remembered and appreciated: the installation of new carpeting in various areas, along wilth renovation of the first floor restroom and installation of new doors leading into the Fellowship Hall. His oft repeated motto "Give some Love" his prophetic and Bible based techniques will be long remembered. His abbreviated stay ended when he accepted a call to the Pennsylvania Conference.
Selected to pick up the baton was a young, energetic pastor, Dr. J. Kendall Guy, son of the late Pastor John Guy, who had pastored this congregation in the late 80's. Arriving with his family from Oakland CA in October, 2009, he hit the ground running. His task was to not only continue where the predecessors had labored but to break new ground in the various ministries. With this fact in mind, a renovation of the Fellowship Hall and various evangelistic crusades ensued. As a result, many were added to the flock. Currently, the renovation of immense proportion is in progress. Moreover, he is in the throes of building a new edifice and relocating the Church to the Northeast section of the Bronx, NY. In addition to his regular pastoral assignment to the Bronx Church, his election to the position of Personal Ministries Director to the great Northeastern Conference has added a new dimension to his workload as the slogan "shine the light" has been chosen as his theme for all of us and his devotion to prayer infuses the atmosphere along with his ever-present smile. He loves young people, champions their concerns, visits the membership and continues to feed the flock with strong Bible-based sermons.