Co-Op City SDA (Seventh-day Adventist) Church is an open-door church for all people. It is known as a "Better Living Center." The love that exists at Co-Op City SDA Church comes from the members' hearts and can be felt by anyone who fellowships with us. We are inviting you to stop by and fellowship with us.
About Seventh-day Adventists
Adventists believe a Trinity of three persons--the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit--make up one God. They made salvation possible when Jesus, the Son, came to earth as a baby in Bethlehem and lived a sinless life in accordance with the Father's will. When Jesus was crucified for the sins of the people of the world and arose from the dead on the third day, victory was won for everyone. More >>
What Seventh-day Adventists Believe
As a Christian church, Seventh-day Adventists are a faith community rooted in the beliefs described by the Holy Scriptures. Adventists describe these beliefs in the following ways: More >>
Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the church's understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture. More >>
The History of our Congregation
On January 21, 1982
a deed for the 1010 Baychester Avenue, Bronx New York property was acquired from Nathan’s Famous, Inc. by the Greater New York Corporation. The property was to house the Hebrew Adventist congregation. The first Hebrew Adventist congregation in the world began at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Fairmont Place in the Bronx in the newly purchased Dutch Reform Church in July of 1949. With tenacity and faith through fasting and prayer, fifteen Jewish believers and their leaders secured that property with $20,000.00, much less than was asked, and called themselves the Bronx Community Temple.
The Times Square Center in New York City located at 410 West 45 Street was purchased in 1958 with money from the sale of the Bronx Community Temple. Elder Jay Milton Hoffman (1907-1986) worked with Elder Lloyd I. Reile president of the Greater New York Conference and Elder F.R. Millard of the Atlantic Union Conference to further the cause of the evangelism to the Jews.
The congregation in conjunction with the Israelite Heritage Institute had enjoyed success at the Times Square location publishing and printing in 1961 a three volume set called Israel’s Heritage
by J.M. Hoffman and Samuel A. Kaplan with consulting Editor Walter E. Read. Walter Edwin Read was born in England on November 17, 1883. Before becoming a Seventh-day Adventist minister, Read trained for two years to become a Baptist minister. Walter E. Read died on February 27, 1976 in Takoma Park, Maryland. Several other books and leaflets were published as ministry tools.
The Hebrew Adventist congregation under the direction of Jay Milton Hoffman sold the Times Square building in 1975 to the Crossroads Seventh-day Adventist Church and moved to the Bronx. At the time the Congregation Hebrew Adventist entered the area of Co-op City, the Eastern European, Jewish and Italian population was high. Co-op City a housing complex of 55, 000 residents was built in 1968 and at that time the Jews made up more than 80 percent of its residents. Today only a small percent of Jews remain. At the new location of 1010 Baychester Avenue, in the old Nathans, hung a portrait of Dr. Jay Milton Hoffman, D.C., Th.D., and Ph.d in the lobby of the church as a tribute to his special interest in his Jewish people and unselfish work in nutrition and religion.
Keeping the original design of the building’s exterior, the Congregation Hebrew Adventist installed a mirror above a stove and worktable in the lobby and held community cooking schools. They sold cookbooks and encouraged a healthy lifestyle. They also held stop smoking classes. Hoffman had studied the health and longevity of the Hunza, the isolated people of the Himalayan Mountains and this led to the better living Center which flourished for many years. Much of the work was below the sanctuary of the church as the group also established a full printing press in the basement of the church where they produced pamphlets and booklets and a bible study to the Jewish population.
In the sanctuary was a lectern hallowed out to display a Torah Scroll that indelibly marked the space as dedicated to the Jewish work. Services were designed to welcome the Jewish believer and educate others in target evangelism. “Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ehad,”- "Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one," found in Deuteronomy 6:4 was sung each morning at worship at the Co-op City Hebrew Adventist Congregation. As the demographics of the community again underwent change to Latino and Caribbean-American population the congregation adapted to this change and has sought to create relevant programs. With an influx of Russian Jews to Co-op City in the 1990s, most of the 250 Russian families that live within Co-op City's borders were of great interest to the congregation.
A Russian pastor was hired to promote the bible studies and efforts to draw attention to the heritage were intensified. From this location a worldwide bible study called the Israelite Heritage
Bible Studies was mailed and marked. The Congregation would observe the Jewish festivals and invite the community to participate. During the spring they would hold a Seder (Passover Supper) and a build a Sukkoth (te
mporary dwelling) in the backyard in the fall. Rabbis from the community would enter to engage in conversations as the church lot was visible across an empty lot. Among the members of the advising board of the Co-op City Congregation Hebrew Adventist were Clifford Goldstein, Mitchell Greenbaum, and Samuel Jacobson.
In 1991 a
feasibility study was conducted and a health food store created in the basement of the church. The purpose of the project was to supplement the income of the ministry and to promote healthy eating. Products ranged from whole grains to frozen foods. Clients included local businesses as well as customers from as far as Connecticut.
In 1998 the congregation changed its name to the Co-op City Seventh-day Adventist church. The Jewish population inside the church and in the community diminished drastically and so the demographics changed again.
(Thanks to the Center for Adventist Research, James White Library, Andrews University and the notes of Jonas Apau II and Pastor Billwayne Jamal.) All information complied by Cheryl C.Silvera.