The First Hispanic Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Rochester, NY had its beginning in 1970 when, under the direction of Rev. Pedro Cabrera, services began to be held in the home of Daniel and Mercedes Montañés. Little by little, adults and children joined this group until a place could be rented in Clifford and St. Paul. With Rev. Cabrera's contribution and great enthusiasm for the work, the group gained the necessary stability to obtain the credibility and support of the Hispanic Board of the Region. In late 1971, the New York Administrative Board sent Rev. Danilo Fajardo to shepherd the group. Brother Fajardo provided pastoral services for one year. Under his direction, the work was recognized as an established congregation and also its incorporation.
By 1972 the small congregation suffered a crisis that threatened it with closure. Due to problems, the Northeast Board stopped supporting the work and difficult days came. Rev. Cabrera insisted on succoring the congregation and fought hard for it. Rev. Cabrera continued to give pastoral services in Rochester. At the end of the year, when some more arrived and joined the church, the 35 Flower Street temple was rented, with an option to purchase. It was then that the Northeast Administrative Board began again to support the work, recommending Rev. Gerardo de Ávila, who was installed as a pastor. During his pastorate the pastoral house of 45 Bouckhart was acquired, and the temple was purchased.
Rev. De Ávila led the church for almost five years. During this time, the work came to its own support. Rev. De Avila stayed in Rochester until 1977 when he felt the need to engage in a larger ministry.
For seven months the congregation was under the leadership of Brother Elías López, who was the president of the local Board. During this time arrangements were made for pastors in the area to preach on Sundays. In mid-1977, Rev. Mauricio Guidini assumed the pastorate of the church.
The congregation first saw the possibility of growing to the level of needing a new temple. In 1979 the resignation of Rev. Guidini was suddenly received, and he moved to Puerto Rico, and once again the church was in the hands of the president of the local Board, who was by that time Brother Wilson Rivera.
Rev. Pedro Cabrera again came to the aid of the church. On this occasion, Rev. Cabrera's contribution was to heal wounds and unite the congregation in order to resist the temptation to surrender. He was able to communicate to the church that he still had a reason to exist and that he had God's help. He assumed leadership interim until August 1981, when Rev. Eliseo Rodríguez assumed the pastorate of the congregation.
Rev. Rodríguez continued the work that Rev. Cabrera had begun. With his humility and patience I raise the spirits of the church and also the attendance to the services. The thought of a new temple began again, and everyone working together and consistently helped acquire the temple at 8 Ernst Street. For five years Rev. Rodríguez provided leadership of wisdom and love and helped the church become a strong and steadfast congregation in its spiritual and personal life. For five years he ministered alongside the church until 1986, when he determined that his time in Rochester had ended and he moved to Amarillo, Texas. The church then called Rev. Jesus Cabrera to be the interim pastor, and pastoring for a year, while looking for a permanent pastor.
In October 1987 the church called Rev. Elizabeth Carrasquillo. After much debate about the validity of a female pastor, the church received confirmation from the Lord that she was the chosen servant for this occasion. Rev. Carrasquillo brought a new perspective to the church, increasing youth participation in all aspects of the congregation. His first task was to reorganize the congregation and define the tasks of each department. Under his pastorate, several necessary and urgent arrangements were made to the temple and the pastoral house, the purchase of a new bus, the addition of various musical groups, and the inclusion of local leaders in components of the Northeast Region. In 1996, Rev. Carrasquillo decided to resign from the pastorate. Later Pastor Gustavo Espinosa was for a year ending in July 1997, when the church was again without a pastor. At that time the Lord united the elders in a very special way so that together they would carry out the pastorate.
In January 1998, Rev. Jesús Cabrera said yes, when he was called to be the interim Pastor again. The following month the “burning of the mortgage” was celebrated, along with the celebration of the church's anniversary. Under the leadership of Pastor Jesús Cabrera, the church entered a period of reconciliation and healing.
Thus, on April 24, 2005, at the General Assembly, Rev. Juan Dávila was presented and elected as pastor. Who arrived on July 20, 2005 in Rochester, Ny, was subsequently formally installed together with his family on October 2, 2005 - until today 2023.
The Lord has helped us to rediscover a new vision and ministerial reorganization; with expectations of growth and consolidation in El Señor; living experiences of affirmation and consolidation of leadership; With contributions such as, a Church with purpose, we supported for five years a missionary project in Indonesia, we walked the process of transition from ICDC (Christian Church Disciples of Christ) to IEDJ (Evangelical Church Disciples of Jesus Christ). Reform of our Constitution and Internal Regulations was carried out, the renovation of the Temple and change of banks and renovation of the pastoral house were carried out, the registration of the legal Name and updating of property titles has been achieved. As well as the certificate of incorporation, and in general terms, a generational and cultural transition has been lived, being now a multicultural church, generating a deep sense of belonging to our new and future generations.
"Today in 2023: With the theme, A Church that does not conform is a Relevant Church!, as we walk through all of our history we have begun to understand the purpose of God and the reason for our Church.
To give everything to the Lord of the Church… Jesus Christ the Lord !!
So the Lord continues to help us !!
Evangelical Disciples Church of Jesus Christ Rochester