It was the year 1972 that a group of God’s children led by Pastor O.U. Holness realized the exodus from the Mt. Eden Seventh-day Adventist Church, a small building at 1682 Morris Avenue to the new spacious church home at 1275 Grand Concourse. This move was necessitated by the fact that the membership had outgrown that small building. Instrumental in the search and acquisition of this new building were Pastor Riley, then president of The Greater New York Conference, Pastor O.U. Holness and some enthusiastic ardent members which included Audley Fothergill, Vida Reynolds, Ida Crawford, Peggy Nicholas, Bro. Webb and Elder Wisdom to name a few. However, the hands of God were clearly seen as he guided them in the search. The hard work and prayers of all resulted in the purchase of this edifice – “place beautiful for situation.” This purchase reinforced in the believers the text “With God All Things are Possible.” There were approximately 160 members who made the move and “Grand Concourse Seventh-day Adventist Temple” became the new name.
Shortly after arriving at Grand Concourse a crusade conducted by Pastor Holness and Pastor Trevor Fraser saw the forming of The Tabernacle of Joy company, and the establishment of that church. Pastor Holness retired in 1976 because of ill health and Pastor Trevor Fraser succeeded him as senior pastor. Pastor Fraser served faithfully until 1979. During this time the church saw tremendous spiritual and numeric growth.
Pastor George Huggins served as senior pastor for one year and was succeeded by Pastor D. Robert Kennedy who took the helm on October 15, 1980. Pastors Willie Oliver, Allan Hay and Hugh Maynard Reid served as associate pastors during the tenure of Pastor Kennedy. During this period the church continued to experience tremendous growth spiritually and numerically. Major improvements were done on the physical structure leading to the Mortgage Burning and Dedication of the building September 16-18, 1983 – TO GOD BETHE GLORY!!!
Pastor Kennedy was succeeded by Pastor Linford Martin in 1985 and he was assisted by Pastors Charles Anderson and Andrew Hospedales respectively.
In 1988 Pastor Roy Gordon took up the mantle and Pastors Andrew Hospedales, Ivan Plummer and Bancroft Daughma served as assistants. During this period The First Ghana company was organized as an outgrowth of our congregation.
In 1990 Dr. Alanzo Smith took up the mantle and served faithfully for seven years. Pastors Canute Birch, James Patterson and Roy Bowen served as assistants during his tenure. The New Life church was planted as a result of the evangelistic series held by Dr. Alanzo Smith.
Dr. Steve D. Cassimy succeeded Dr. Smith in 1998 and served for over nine years. The assistant pastors during his tenure were Pastors James Patterson, Rohann Wellington, Shane Vidal and Kevin Brown. Brother Granville McNichol, Pastor Neylon Samuel and Bro. Garfield Thomas served as Bible Workers during his tenure. Tent crusades, including the first ever joint English/Spanish crusade led to the birth of the All Nations Company, now an organized church. Under his leadership the church became focused on strong community outreach and bonded with other community organizations. With the support of Pastor Wellington a level of increased technology was introduced. Dr. Cassimy accepted a call to departmental work in the conference and was succeeded by Pastor Allan Hay.
On June 1, 2007, Pastor and Sister Hay were welcomed back to the birth place of their ministry in North America. Assisted by Pastor Desta Zabolotney and Elder Garfield Thomas as Bible Worker, evangelism and caring for the flock remained the focus. Pastor Zabolotney was later called to pastor a district.
We then watched with pride as our church welcomed a new associate pastor, Pastor Julian Jones-Campbell and her husband Pastor Patrick Campbell. Pastor Julian Jones-Campbell was the first female pastor in The Greater New York Conference. In December of 2011, after serving with distinction, she too was called to pastor a district. Pastor Desmond and Sister Stacyann Haye were welcomed as our new Associate Pastor in April 2012. The evangelistic thrust of the Summer of 2012, with Desmond Haye as Evangelist, speaks to the commitment of winning souls for God’s Kingdom.
During the weekend of November 16-18, 2012, we celebrated our 40th Anniversary as the Grand Concourse SDA Temple at this location. The church was packed, people reminiscing and giving thanks for God’s leading in our congregation.
In June of 2013, Pastor Allan Hay retired after serving this congregation well and faithfully. In the interim before welcoming a new senior pastor, Associate Pastor Desmond Haye stepped in and ably took charge. It wasn’t until September 2013, that our church welcomed Dr. Burnett L. Robinson as senior pastor.
May we truly seek to praise, thank and honor our God for the way He has led us in the past. Let us embrace the present with a sense of intentional unity as we realize that we have One God and Father and that makes us all brothers. May we wait with great anticipation for that One Glorious Celebration when we will meet with Him in Heaven.