Life on the River: 1981-2008
Changepoint began in 1981 as a church plant from Abbott Loop Community Church in Anchorage, Alaska. For the first few years of its life, the group of Christians moved their meeting location around the Mid-Hudson Valley, and the church went through a rapid succession of names based on our location: White Plains Christian Center, Yorktown Christian Center, Southern Dutchess Christian Center, Hopewell Christian Center. In 1996, the church moved to Poughkeepsie and adopted the less geographically specific name of The River Church.
Moving out of the suburbs wasn’t easy. Not everyone is comfortable with visiting the city even now, and in the mid-1990s, crime was at an all-time high. The transition was accompanied by a loss of about half the congregation. Over the following fifteen years, however, we grew roots in the community and adopted a mission of practically serving the city that continues to this day.
Church Without Walls: 2008-2011
About ten years after settling in Poughkeepsie, The River Church began to develop a stronger vision of expanding outward with purpose and becoming a community that identified more with a special mission than a particular location. We called this concept the “church without walls.” It didn’t take long for the developing vision to become a vivid reality: On October 30, 2008, a massive fire gutted the main portion of our church building, destroying our auditorium and heavily damaging the rest of the facility.
With our meeting space leveled, our only option was to restore the remaining portion of the building. The reconstruction process took about a year and was carried out almost entirely by volunteers from the congregation. In the meantime, The River Church was given a temporary meeting space thanks to the kindness of our neighbors, the Poughkeepsie Reformed Church.
Looking Forward: 2011
In the aftermath of the reconstruction process, the vision for the church has continued to grow, along with the congregation. Now that our meeting space had been significantly reduced in size, it became clear that greater changes were just around the corner. We want to reach more people for Jesus in more places, and we’re exploring the idea of planting satellite churches in the not-too-distant future.
In May of 2011, we marked the continued evolution of the church by adopting a new name: Changepoint Church. Changepoint is a reminder that the life of a Christian community is a continual process of growth and transformation— as stated in Romans 2:4 “The kindness of God leads us to repentance.” A phrase that we adopted after the fire is "We Never Stop Moving".
A City Not Forsaken: 2014
In the summer of 2013, Changepoint finalized the purchase of 260 Mill Street. Formerly the First Baptist Church, this historic landmark at the corner of Mill & Market is literally at the heart of Poughkeepsie, clustered with the central bus depot, the Civic Center, the Bardavon, Post Office, Court House and Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. The renovation of the building included the development of the Praise House Auditorium, an immersive multimedia experience that has to be seen to be believed. Mill & Market, our mid-week service, is Changepoint’s testament to its commitment to the City of Poughkeepsie; a divine opportunity to reach more people from every facet of society with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Changepoint exists as a vibrant community of Jesus-lovers embracing the time-tested truth that God loves us too much to keep us in one place—we’re growing, maturing, and rising to the challenge of becoming more Christlike every day. But just like a river, we keep moving with a purpose, following the path set for us years ago: “Working together in loving the Hudson Valley to Christ.”