Rochester, a city located in upstate western New York. Once home to Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony, birth place of the “North Star” newspaper a link to the underground railroad and a city that assisted over 400 slaves in their escape to Canada. A city where John Brown and Harriett Tubman frequently visited, and yes, there is another history, a spiritual history, one that has been in the making since the early nineteen-hundreds.
Early history recalls that members of the Church of God and Saints of Christ first came to Rochester around 1912. A copy of the 1915 “Weekly Prophet” listed under the Pastors’ Roster, Elder Joseph Percy as Overseer. In 1917, it was recorded that Elder David Merritt was the representative minister from Rochester. It was the reassignment of Elder James Phipps that brought Elder James H. Jeffries to Rochester in September of 1920. Elder James H. Jeffries was elevated to Evangelist in 1929 and served until his demise in 1945.
From 1945 to the present the Rochester tabernacle has been blessed with spiritual guidance from stalwart men of God. Elder Joseph S. Jeffries received the mantel from his father in 1945 and carried it for 45 years. The legacy continued with Elder Jesse E. Brown, Jr., Evangelist Moses Farrar, Elder Kenneth A. Roberts, Rabbi Jesse E Brown, Jr., Evangelist John S. Martin and currently Elder Howard Z. Jeffries, Jr.
The Rochester Tabernacle has a rich history of community involvement. The Daughters of Jerusalem and Sisters of Mercy has consistently and actively lived up to its mission of aiding suffering humanity by feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and for decades The Rochester Acapella Choir has participated in hundreds of local musical programs, in the city and surrounding area.
The congregation humbly worshiped in the home of Evangelist James Henry Jeffries and rented various locations throughout the years until purchasing our own place of worship at 19 Harrison Street, Rochester, New York. Built in 1886, the Shul is the oldest Jewish synagogue in this community and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.