World Changers Church New York buys historic Bronx theater

World Changers Church New York (WCCNY) is a non-denominational church founded by Pastor’s Creflo and Taffi Dollar. Over the past 8 years, WCCNY has grown to over 10,000 members. Since the very first service on October 30, 2004 at Madison Square Garden, WCCNY has held weekly services at many of New York City’s premiere venues including Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, Manhattan Center, and Meadowlands. Like any church, WCCNY was intent on a place to call home. The obvious challenges was finding a location adequate for accommodating the growing congregation and facilitate the vision of the ministry.

According to a June 2011 article in the New York Post, Pastor Creflo Dollar pitched a bid for The Kingsbridge Armory in The Bronx. Details of the property could be found at the Request for proposals Database. The news rapidly spread as visions of the Armory etched into the minds of members. Almost a year later, WNYC radio, and other media reported a lack of interest from Bronx Borough President, Rubin Diaz for WCCNY to occupy the Armory. Regardless, Pastor Dollar and WCCNY members eagerly held their faith. It was on October 20, 2012, that Pastor Creflo Dollar took the opportunity to proudly announce that WCCNY finally had a home at the Loew’s Paradise Theater in The Bronx. The celebration included a deluge of balloons as WCCNY celebrated their new home. The historic theater originally opened in 1929. Information on the theater was shared by members via social media from the New York Public Library and history posted on Flickr. Notable events held at the theater since renovations 6 years ago include a concert featuring Boys to Men, and a recent BET taping of Black Girls Rock.

Loew’s Paradise Theater in The Bronx | photo – Christopher Gray

Pastor Dollar is often depicted as a materialistic “prosperity preacher.” Interviews with members of the church paint a contrasting picture. Larry and Dee Price are members of WCCY and a part of the Media Ministry. I asked Larry’s opinion. He declares, “Prosperity is only the beginning.” He continues to say, “He teaches us how to be successful in all areas of our lives using the bible. Pastor’s teachings are for now; his heart is for the people. He sees a need for community-intervention and involvement and he doesn’t hesitate to get his ministry out there to get it done.”

Rodney Berger leads Deaf Ministry at WCCNY | photo – Andrew Siu

Chris Quinones plays the bass during a service at WCCNY | photo – Andrew Siu

The feeling is mutual among members who have joined over the past 8 years. Tina Williamson is a choir member. She says her most memorable personal life experience since joining WCCNY was when her daughter at the age of 7 and her son at the age of 11 both gave their lives to Christ, on their own. Rodney and Cyndi Berger work with the hearing impaired. Rodney shares their story. “After the first night we visited, I said to God, “In one year, no one started a deaf ministry. What’s up with that?” Right away, he answered, “I was saving it for you.” Chris Quinones is a musician. Chris humbly sums his feelings after the announcement of the new theater. He said, “I felt a feeling of accomplishment, being able to see the church grow throughout the years in every department. My first thoughts after hearing the announcement was, ‘praise God we made it’ followed with a smile.