What to Expect

Hey! So you made it here, and you want to know a bit more about us. Well, here it is!


We want to build a bridge into our community and beyond so that all people can find hope, find love and find God.


  • We rely on the Bible as our ultimate source for all we do.
  • We believe everyone is valuable and is destined to make a difference in the Kingdom of God.
  • We long to reach each generation through the Father-heart of God.
  • We value the sacrificial love of Christ as we serve the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical needs of others.
  • We cooperate with the Holy Spirit for supernatural power in all we do.  We welcome all manifestations of the Holy Spirit so we might accomplish God’s will.
  • We apply standards of excellence to all we do so that God is honored and glorified.
  • We emphasize the importance of character, integrity, faithfulness and holiness as we lead.


1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God (2Tim. 3:16, 17).

2. We believe in the triune Godhead as eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son & Holy Spirit (2Cor. 13:14).

3. We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in Hi sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed Blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His present priestly ministry (Rom. 1:4, Matt. 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:21; Matt. 4:23,24; Rom. 3:25,26; 1John 1:7; Heb. 7:25).

4. We believe in evangelistic and missionary fervor and endeavor (Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15-18)

5. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential. We further believe in the keeping power of God (Heb. 9:22; Jude 24,25; Tit. 3:5).

6. We believe that sanctification, holiness, and the overcoming life are God’s design for the Church, which is the Bride of Christ (Eph. 5:25-27).

7. We believe that sexual purity is a necessary expression for all of God’s children, and requires abstinence from adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, and other sexual relationships forbidden by Scripture (Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 6:18; Lev. 18:1-30; Gal. 5:19).

8. We believe that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime, and a sacred institution established by God (Matt. 19:4-6).

9. We believe that since mankind is created in God’s image, human life is of inestimable worth and significance in all its dimensions, from conception to the grave (Gen. 1:27; Ps. 139:13,14).

10. We believe that water baptism is for all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and is to be administered by immersion, thus bearing witness to the gospel of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for us, and for our new life in Him (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:4).

11. We believe that communion, when shared by believers, witnesses to the saving power of the gospel, to Christ’s presence in His church, and looks forward to His victorious return (1Cor. 11:23-26).

12. We believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as on the day of Pentecost, and in the continuing ministry of the Holy Spirit, as evidenced in charismatic gifts and ministries, and in the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer (Acts 2:4, 10:46, 19:6; Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:8-11; Gal. 5:22,23).

13. We believe that divine healing is obtained on the basis of the Atonement (1 Pet. 2:24; Matt. 8:17).

14. We believe in Christ’s imminent personal return in power and great glory, and in His present and everlasting dominion (Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7; Dan. 7:14).

15. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto eternal life, and they that are lost unto eternal punishment (John 5:28,29; Rev. 20:15).

16. We believe that it is the duty and privilege ofe very believer to, within his ability, support the local assembly with his regular presence, giving and service (Heb. 10:25; 2 Cor. 8,9; 1 Pet. 4:10).

17. We believe that tithing, accompanied by free-will offerings, is God’s ordained method to finance the spreading of the Gospel and the needs of the local assembly (Mal. 3:8-12; 2 Cor. 8,9).


In the early 1970′s, during the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement, a prayer meeting grew up in the Rochester area, attended by members of several area Catholic churches. This group functioned under the leadership of Al Gerhardt and a core group of people. They met at various locations around the city, including Mercy High School, Holy Angels and the Health Association.

In 1982, when New Covenant Church in Penfield, NY donated a church building in Bushnell’s Basin to the group, they decided to incorporate as New Jerusalem Community Church (NJCC) with Al Gerhardt as pastor. At this point they shifted from attending Catholic Mass on Sunday mornings and meeting in the evening as a prayer group to holding Sunday morning services as a church.

Following the influence of leaders such as Bob Mumford and Derek Prince in a movement known as New Wine, NJCC committed themselves to discipleship and covenant relationships in the context of a Christian community under the headship of Christ. Pastor Al was ordained through the New Wine movement in 1983. It is these committed relationships which form the building blocks at the very core of the church’s foundation.
In September of 1986, encouraged through his affiliation with Elim Fellowship, Pastor Al Gerhardt prayerfully decided to make the move back to the city, purchasing our current building, the former Profetta Funeral Home. For the next 18 years, NJCC reached out and impacted the neighborhood and the world at large.

In the spring of 2004, while fighting an illness, Pastor Al decided to retire and the search for God’s replacement started. At the same time Pastor Tony, who was overseeing a growing church in New Jersey heard the Lord speak to him that he was to move back to Rochester and to minister in the city itself. Pastor Tony was a good friend of Pastor Al and when he heard that the church was looking for a new shepherd he believed that was where the Lord was bringing him, though he did not speak of this until he was selected.

Pastor Al was glad and blessed Pastor Tony and not too long after, the Lord took our beloved Pastor Al home in peace. A new season began for us in June 2004 with the installation of Pastor Tony. The name of the church was changed to Joy Community Church in September of 2004.
At that time the Lord began to speak of ‘enlarging our tent’ and that the growth that He had spoken of for many years was about to start. Joy then began to experience much growth and refreshing newness and plans were put in place for expansion. Next door to the church was a run-down building, housing a bar, a burned-out laundromat, sub shop, and apartments. Once a landmark, this early 20th century building had become a crime-infested, neglected corner of darkness.

But Pastor Tony had a vision. He challenged the congregation of Joy Community Church – “we are going to “LIGHT THE NIGHT”!!” In 2005, Joy Community bought the two-story, 8000 square foot building and began its transformation. The renovations, through much toil, trouble and money, took place over the next 2 ½ few years and today it houses a food pantry (The Hope Shop), a medical clinic (Joy Family Medicine), a computer lab and classroom (The Learning Center), a crisis pregnancy center (Place of Hope), a baby item resource center (Bundles of Joy), an addiction recovery group (James’ Place) and a place where teens can come and learn about Jesus (Cross Culture Youth Center).

Recently in September 2014, Pastor Tony retired after over 30 years of life changing ministry. God brought to us Pastors James & Greta Laughlin who are ready to take the combined visions of Pastor Al Gerhardt & Pastor Tony Martorana and see God take Joy Community to the next level in the years to come. Their vision is to equip Joy to be a bridge that others may continue to find hope, find love and find God on the corner of Bay & Goodman and beyond.