How It All Began
The Negro members hip had grown to the degree that the necessity of making a singular appeal to this largest minority within the American population became apparent. The number of people won to the church in communities such as Harlem and the Bedford-Stuyvesant area in Brooklyn was not commensurate wit the vast opportunities available in a city such as New York. The existence of such a situation here and else ware was recognized by the General Conference and resulted in the organization of what came to be known as Regional Conferences.
On October 3, 1944, the Negro constituency of the Atlantic Union Conference came together in New York to organize the Northeastern Conference and elected Louis H. Bland as president; Lionel Irons, Secretary-Treasury; Jonathan E. Roache, secretary for the educational and Missionary Volunteer departments; and James J. North, home missionary and Sabbath School departments secretary.
Temporary quarters on 127th Street, New York City, served the conference until a building could be purchased at 560 West 150th Street, which housed the conference office, Book and Bible House, church school, and another congregation – a nucleus from the Ephesus church – that assumed the name of City Tabernacle. This congregation has experienced such steady growth that its membership exceeded 800 in 1974.
The Ephesus church, the largest, soon grew to 1600 members, and with an expanded program of evangelism, composed of health lectures and Sunday night meetings, to which were invited diplomats of several African and Asian countries, the membership grew to 2,200 in 1962.
Since it began to operate (January 1, 1945), the Northeastern Conference has made continued progress. The membership at the close of 1945 was 2,468, with a working force of 21 plus 27 colporteurs; at the close of 1961 it was 7,179, with a working force of approximately 45. In 1952 there were 163 baptisms. In 1973 there were 1,437. The period 1963-1973 showed very prolific growth within the Northeastern Conference. The membership doubled, increasing from 8,097 to 16, 328. During the compiling of this information (1975), the membership was more than double that of any other conference in the Atlantic Union.
In the spring of 1975 the Northeastern Conference moved its headquarters from 560 West 150th Street, New York City, to its present office building.
Information courtesy of the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia