Our History

And it came to pass, on the Seventh Day of the First Month in the Year One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Eight, on the Sabbath Day a small group of believers from the First Church in Montclair, Morristown church and Trinity Temple crossed over territorial lines to meet in worship for the 1st time as a group of eager Pilgrims. This gathering of 40 members was the  culmination of weeks of planning and the search for a rented meeting place to worship – the Church at the Crossroads, East Orange. This first meeting was truly an occasion for gratitude, gladness and rejoicing – the idea of establishing a Branch Sabbath School in the Oranges had finally become a reality. This attitude of gratitude was evident throughout the day and also resounded in our Divine Worship Hour in song – “We’ve Come This Far By Faith…”

From a humbling beginning, this small group filled with faith, hope and love would be guided over the succeeding years by 9 lead shepherds and 5 under-shepherds. These Pastors share in the spiritual nurture, growth and development of the membership and the establishment of a permanent church home, which would become a beacon to the Oranges.

1978:

Pastor James Clements, Jr., first shepherd of the new company and shared with First Church of Teaneck, had a unique way of bringing together people of various backgrounds. His pastoral doctrine was amplified by his favorite song – “In Christ There is No East Nor West, In Him No North Nor South; But One Great Fellowship of Love, Throughout The whole Wide Earth.” By April 1978, the membership of the small group, by the blessings of God had grown to 55. Elder Meade C. Van Putten, Executive Secretary of the Allegheny East Conference came on that date to organize the group into a “Company,” but upon finding a larger group than anticipated, he instead officially organized the group into a church – “The East Orange SDA Church.”

1979 – 1980:

Pastor Roy R. Brown accepted the call from the California Conference to be our first full time Pastor. The young church quickly became a magnet to dormant members in the area, or who were not attending for some time, any church of their belief. A vibrant “MV Society and Pathfinder Club” also drew scores of young people who came to church for Sabbath School and remained throughout the day, which frequently ended with social activities on Saturday Night. Kamp Kiamesha & Blue Berry Hill, Promised Land and Spruce Run, pictorial History, remain riveted into the memory of the members during those early years.

1980 – 1984:

Pastor Harold L. Lee, well known in the Northeast USA and South Caribbean, as a strong advocate of the stewardship principles of Time, Talent & Treasurers was our third Pastor. He successfully stimulated the growing “Church Building Fund” into six figures. The Church was energized into community outreach, held its first Evangelistic Crusade for the Oranges and realized a membership spurt growth. The most significant accomplishment under his pastorage was the search for the acquisition of our present Church home. In 1983 the Beth Torah Temple (former name of our church) was appraised for $1.5 million, but God’s blessings were upon this young congregation of now 300 members and made the Temple, this House of Worship, available to us for only $0.5 million. The Baptistery, change rooms and Treasury Department were subsequently added. “To God Be The Glory For The Things He Hath Done.”

1984 – 1987:

Pastor J. Glenn Roberts, former Caribbean Union Officer and Pastor of the Hanson Place Church, brought to us the doctrine of “Love.” The SDA Church of the Oranges, during those years, came to be known as “A Place Where People Care About People.” How could it be otherwise, after the Pastor’s weekly seminars on “Love Relationships.”

 Also of significance during this time period was the completion of our church’s first Pictorial Directory, and the expansion of our community outreach programs such as: Food Basket & Clothing Distributions and Senior Citizens Lunch Programs. Through various in-reach, outreach and home visitation programs, our membership grew in accordance with the great commission and under the blessings of our Divine Commander, to 400 members.

1987 – 1993:

Pastor John A. Trusty, “A Young Peoples’ Pastor,” came to us from Chester PA, to be a beloved Pastor for all ages. During these years the membership was caught-up in Evangelism, that went beyond tract distribution and tent meetings. The late Mable Barbar, our first bible worker, worked closely with the Pastor in baptizing many new members. The Church of the Oranges, for the first time, telecast its Sabbath Services on Channel 32, at 10:00 AM, Sunday Mornings. The most significant accomplishment for our congregating during this time period was out Mortgage Burning and Church Dedication on September 12, 1992. For this grand celebration, most of our former Pastors and Charter Members returned home to sing with us “Now Thank We All Our God with Heart & Hands & Voices…” It was also during these years that the young congregation “came of age,” became a mother church, giving birth to two young congregations – one “The Spanish Church of the Oranges,” the other, Berea Church in Maplewood. At the Farewell Reception on October 23, 1993 for the Trusty Family, the Membership was challenged by Pastor Trusty to “Press Towards the Mark, Moving Onward in Faith.”

1994:

Pastor St. Clair Phipps, Interim Pastor, came to us from Allegheny East Conference Office where he served for many years as Conference-wide Director of the Sabbath School Department. He brought to our congregation his many years of administrative experience. Pastor Phipps’ multi-cultural background uniquely qualified him to be a successful advocate and facilitator of relationships among members. During his one year stay, work on the long promoted sanctuary air conditioning project began.

1995 – 2006:

Pastor Samuel G. Campbell transferred to the Church of the Oranges from the North Philadelphia Church. PA. Soon the membership would realize that our Pastor was an administrator, a teacher, a computer wiz, and possessed a functional knowledge of contemporary technology. Upon his arrival at Orange, the Air Conditioning Project was completed. Preparations for down-linking Net ‘96, ‘98 and Metro ‘99 became the major evangelistic thrusts that included the entire membership. Small Group Ministries were introduced and implemented with success among many groups. The acquisition and renovation of 294 Reynolds Terrace (the first church house) provided a new home for our Community Services Department and the Pathfinder Club. “294” also provided an extended parking facility. This “Mother Church” again gave birth in July 1998 to her third congregation – “The Irvington SDA Church.” Since this birth, the membership has increased beyond 700. The Worship Service has been restructured; utilizing computer projection screens and the addition of a Praise Session to the Divine Worship Hour.

 The years 2000 – 2005 were also a significant blessing to our congregation. Just to name a few, here is a snapshot of what happened:

  • Pastor Alfred Johnson III and his wife Jayne’ joined our congregation in January 2000 as our first ever Assistant Pastor. He was transferred to Trinity Temple in July 2001.
  • “Renovation Project 2000” was completed and the church was rededicated on September 23, 2000.
  • Pastor Andre J. Campbell and his wife Tanisha joined us in August 2001 as our new Assistant Pastor.
  • Baby Hope was added to the family on June 25, 2003. A great loss was realized when Pastor “AJ” accepted a call to California effective December 21, 2003.
  • Our Community Outreach Vehicle (COV) was acquired.
  • 308 Reynolds Terrace was acquired in July 2003 to replace 294 – the space has since been utilized for parking.
  • Pastor Paula Olivier became the first female Assistant Pastor of our congregation in 2004. Her passion for not only ministry but for young people and their commitment to Christ has lit a fire that has never been extinguished in many of our young people.
  • “Youth With Purpose” became not only a group name for AY, but a lifestyle for the young and young adults within the church beginning with Pastor “AJ” Campbell and continuing with Pastor Olivier.

2006 – 2014:

Dr. D. Robert Kennedy became our congregations 8th Senior Pastor in August 2006. Having over 35 years of experience ranging from education to pastoring churches throughout NY, Canada, the Caribbean, and NJ. Upon his arrival, one of areas that received his immediate attention was the prayer life of the church. Understanding that prayer is the frontal attack agency for all ministries, special attention was placed on properly training bible workers and lay workers within the church. He has been a quite prolific author of many books including “Silence of the Soul:A Contemporary Reflection on Themes from the Book of Revelation”  and “Silence in Heaven”additionally  he blessed us on a weekly basis  with his prose “From The Pastors Heart”. Since Pastor Kennedy’s arrival, the church has accomplished great things, including:

  • Purchasing of a bus for ministry wide use and community outreach.
  • The front signage of the church was obtained and has been seen as a point of attraction for community members to our church.
  • A Music Enrichment Academy was formed to teach our young people the value of music and utilizing their talents for the Lord. Since its inception, people of all ages have enrolled in the academy and numbers continue to grow.
  • Soul winning has been placed back in the forefront of the church, the work of our bible workers and lay persons saw a record number of 75 baptized in 2012.
  • A New Believers Sabbath School Class is formulated to ease newly baptized members into their new walk with Christ. The success of this class is measured by the growing numbers each Sabbath.
  • A new fourth congregation is formed out of our large numbers. The Living Faith SDA Church in West Orange was officially dedicated in November  2011.

2010 – 2014:

We were blessed with a new Assistant Pastor, Joseph V. Thelusca and his lovely wife Marthine who joined our congregation and were a dynamic pair while engaging the youth of the church is various ways.

2014 – Present:

Dr. Errol T. Stoddart becomes the 9th Pastor of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of the Oranges on November 1, 2014. He has served as a minister of the gospel for over 20 years, pastoring in New Jersey, Washington D.C., Virginia, and Baltimore Metro area for a greater part of his ministry.  His most recent assignment was the Senior Pastor of the Miracle Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. He has taken on the position as the Senior Pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church of the Oranges in Orange, New Jersey.

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