ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Demolition on the church officially began Tuesday.


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) —The remains of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Jefferson Avenue are scheduled to be torn down this week after the historic building was destroyed in a fire on Christmas almost one year ago. 

People who live off Jefferson Ave. are heartbroken to hear this news because this Church was highly active in the community and always gave back. But leaders concluded rebuilding was too expensive, so their only option was to move.

For over 150 years, the building structure where the Seventh Day Adventist church met has stood giving the surrounding neighborhood a historic look. Neighbors were heartbroken to hear it would all be torn down.  

“Programs went on there as well like healthcare,” Polly Archie, who lives off Jefferson Ave. told us. “I was a part of that, the healthcare program they teach about your heart and whatever was going on at that time they taught a class. It’s a big loss to the community.” 

“They always took care of the property, they were good neighbors,” neighbor Melvin Chatman added. “They invited some of the neighbors a couple times of the year. They were always real friendly.”  

Senior Pastor Hanson Drysdale explained the decision to tear down what was left and relocate was not easy, but they did not have enough funds to rebuild off Jefferson Ave.  

“It was much more than what we got from the proceeds in our insurance coverage,” Pastor Drysdale said. “So, we looked also at buying land and rebuild from scratch. That too was cost prohibitive.” 

After discussions with his congregation, Pastor Hanson found out the Parkminster Church off Chili Ave. was selling the property and agreed to close a deal with them to permanently move there. 

“We have a lot of members who live out on this side,” Pastor Drysdale continued. “It’s just a 10-minute drive from our Jefferson Ave. location. So, it doesn’t pose such great of a problem. Most of the members believe it was an ideal location.” 

Despite moving, the church still plans to keep its community house open to feed the homeless and give out clothes along Jefferson.  

The Pastor added, “We were called to serve that community, and the community misses our presence there So, we want to remain there even though we have a new property, and we have a new church, we will be doing some sort of ministry at Jefferson Ave.”  

Right now, The Seventh Day Adventist Church still meets at 36 King St. while they do renovations and move stuff into the new Chili Ave. location. They expect to hold gatherings there by late Spring next year.  

Those who live off Jefferson hope the property is turned into something the whole neighborhood can benefit from. It has still not been determined what caused the fire.