They could have continued to call her Harlem #2 Seventh-day Adventist Church, instead, they named her Ephesus. Noted for being the first of the seven churches listed in the book of Revelation, Chapter 2, the name Ephesus was often selected by Black Adventist Churches during the age of segregation instead of the prevailing thought that the black congregation should be called the number 2 church. Black Adventist presence in New York City began around 1904 with the formation of Harlem #1 Seventh-day Adventist Church under the leadership of Elder J. K. Humphrey.

The present congregation began circa 1924 as the Harlem Number 2 Seventh-day Adventist Church under the leadership of Pastor Matthew Strachan. The next several years marked some of the most dramatic moments in the Church's history. Ideological differences led to the secession of approximately 50% of the 600-membership congregation.

The remaining 300 members, with their elected leader, Pastor G. E. Peters, established the new name as Ephesus and on June 18, 1930, marched from Carlton Hall (a former dance hall) at 127th Street and Lenox Avenue to her present edifice at 123rd Street and Lenox Avenue. The Church grew rapidly and by 1945 the membership reached 1,000, the mortgage was satisfied and a pipe organ installed.

A church school was organized in 1947, and has continued to operate without interruption. The present name is the R T Hudson School with grades K-8.The growth of the church continued at a rapid pace and by 1950 overcrowding was fast becoming an issue which needed to be addressed. The response was the establishment of the Youth church in 1955 (See Youth Church History). Designed to mirror the table of organization and function of the Senior Church, the Youth Church has proven to be a magnificent training ground for our youth to better serve their church and community and develop their leadership capabilities.


Perhaps the darkest period in the Church's history occurred on January 9, 1969 when the building was completely ravaged by fire. The entire interior was destroyed, causing Ephesians to be displaced for eight years during which time they worshipped at the St. Andrews Episcopal Church at 127th Street and Fifth Avenue. With the building totally rebuilt at a cost of $2.3 million, a grand march was conducted on Sabbath, April 2, 1977, as the congregation returned home. This mortgage was satisfied in 1983 and in 1986 the church celebrated the centennial of the church building.

Today, the Ephesus Church continues in her tradition of service to God and the community through various activities of the church. Each week worshippers enter her sanctuary from all over the globe, reflecting the rich diversity of the Adventist faith. The Church has always welcomed the world and today she continues to seek ways in which to engage its diversified congregation and better serve the community.