In the late summer of 1944, Elder Glenn Coon, Sr. (of the ABC’s of Bible Prayer fame) brought an evangelistic team, consisting of three Bible instructors (Anna Brandon, Alice Duly, and Doris Parkinson) and three ministerial interns (Pastors Gunnar Nelson, Roger Pratt, and Walton Smith), to Rochester. Together with this team, Elder Coon held an extended series of meetings in the Masonic Temple on East Main Street.
When the official series ended, Elder Coon continued follow-up meetings at a hall in Edgerton Park; with the exception of Alice Duly Langlois (recently remarried) who remained a member of the Genesee Park Church, the evangelistic team moved on to other areas, and a new intern, Pastor Sam Remick, came to assist Elder Coon. This dynamic duo continued to nurture the new members who joined the Browning Memorial Church on Grand Avenue. As the numbers of newly baptized members increased, Elder Coon made a bold proposition: why not start a new little church in a different section of the city, so that the Gospel light could be spread even further in Rochester? So was born the first thought of the Genesee Park Boulevard Seventh-day Adventist Church. His idea met with skepticism and, in some cases, outright hostility among the saints in the Browning Memorial Church. They wanted to simply grow the mother church, not spawn an offspring! But, backed by Bible principles, Elder Coon pressed forward.
Because Elder Coon believed strongly in Christian Education, the new little church family purchased the old Irondequoit District School building on Culver Road to use as a ten-grade school during the week and a church on the weekends. For some time, the group continued meeting this way.
Finally in 1948, they were able—through self-sacrifice closely akin to that of the Israelites’ bringing their gold and jewelry to the temple (members pawned old jewelry and even sold wedding bands to raise money)—to amass enough funds to purchase the property on which the present church rests. Over the course of the next year, the church began to take shape. Frank Shull, a builder by trade, acted as the contractor overseeing the building project. Abe Van Wyckhouse, a carpenter, and Charlie Knight, a master electrician (and church elder), added their expertise to the project, and the three “experts” led an army of volunteers to the completion of the church in 1949.
Years later, in the late 1960’s, the church added the gymnasium/fellowship hall, large kitchen, kindergarten Sabbath School room and new restrooms to the original structure.
The church received a much-needed facelift in time for its 50th Anniversary celebration. New carriage lamps now flank either side of the sanctuary doors, and the shabby old doors themselves were replaced with new ones, complete with cut glass windows and a Gothic arch effect above the doors. Landscaping was added, and the kitchen was remodeled.
While the Genesee Park Church Family is proud of the church they helped build, they are even more proud of the church God has built: a warm, friendly group of people from virtually “every nation, kindred, tongue and people” who, celebrating their diversity, are committed to the Lord, to each other, and to sharing Jesus with others.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a mainstream Protestant church with approximately 19 million members worldwide, including more than one million members in North America. The Seventh-day Adventist Church seeks to enhance quality of life for people everywhere and to let people know that Jesus is coming again soon.
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.
When He returned to heaven following the resurrection, Jesus left the Holy Spirit to serve as our Comforter and Counselor. He promised to return to earth a second time to complete His plan of salvation and take His people to heaven. Adventists are among the believers who look forward to that day.
Adventists believe that God is concerned with the quality of human life, and that everything—the way we live, eat, speak, think, treat each other, and care for the world around us—is part of His plan. Our families, our children, our jobs, our talents, our money, and our time are all important to Him.