Meet Our Leadership

Senior Pastor

Rev. Victor R. Patterson

Rev. Victor R. Patterson, MDiv, is a dynamic and dedicated leader with a passion for serving both his faith community and the wider society. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, he comes from a lineage of clergy, with his mother, Rev. Debra Patterson, carrying on the tradition. Sadly, his father, the late Rev. Gerald Patterson, passed away, leaving a legacy that continues to inspire Rev. Patterson’s ministry.

Education has been a central focus in Rev. Patterson’s journey. In the spring of 2022, Rev. Patterson obtained his Masters of Divinity from Northwest Nazarene University, where he specialized in Youth, Children & Family Studies. As he seeks to continually deepen his knowledge and expand his impact, he is currently pursuing his Doctors of Ministry in Black Leadership and Ministry at Nazarene Theological Seminary in his hometown, Kansas City, Missouri.

Beyond his pastoral work, Rev. Patterson has an extensive background in various fields. He has served in the United States Army, achieving the rank of Sergeant and being deployed to Iraq. His dedication to community involvement and volunteering earned him the prestigious Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, a testament to his commitment to making a positive impact.

Rev. Patterson’s multi-faceted background, combining faith, education, service, and literary achievements, makes him a remarkable individual whose leadership and compassion continue to enrich the lives of those he encounters. With a heart dedicated to building bridges and making a positive difference, he stands as an inspiration to his congregation, community, and all who have the privilege of knowing him.


What We Believe

We Believe in God the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.

He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.


5th Avenue African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

The origin of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Troy was born out of a meeting July 7th in 1828 and is traceable to a class connected with the State Street Methodist Church, called the “colored class”. This was led by John Dungy, who in 1831 became the Pastor of the small congregation which that year became known as the African Methodist Church of Troy.
In 1832, the name was changed to Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Zion Church of Troy, and this same year the society organized and joined the African Methodist Episcopal church connection. The word “Zion” was added to the connection title in 1848 – it was taken from the name of the Mother Church of the Connection in New York City.

The first meeting house of this church as a small wooden dwelling on Fifth Street, north of Liberty Street, which was fitted for a house of worship and first used in 1832. In 1841 the organization purchased a lot and building on Fifth Street, and altered the structure into a church. This property was sold about the year 1863 and in the Spring of 1864, George Bristol purchased for the congregation, the property on the east side of Seventh Street, between State Street and Broadway, the title of which was afterward conveyed to Joseph Hillman, Reuben Peckham, and Adam C. Fellows as Trustees. The name then became Seventh Avenue African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. This Seventh Avenue site was the location of the Church for 92 years. It is interesting to note that this property was acquired before the end of the Civil War, and during the administration of President Abraham Lincoln. It was the place of worship of several

During the pastorate of Rev. J. A. S. Cole, 1907, substantial renovations were made. The organ and choir loft were moved from the center of the back of the church to the northeast corner, and new pews and carpeting were installed.
Extensive alterations were again made in 1922 during the administration of Rev. H. W. Morrison. A new addition was made to the rear of the building which consisted of a church kitchen and a new kitchen for the parsonage. The choir loft and organ were moved again, this time to the center of the front of the building. New carpeting was laid.
During the pastorate of Rev. J. W. Findley, 1943, the Church mortgage was completely liquidated. New floors and a new Altar rail were installed. The New York Annual Conference was entertained in Troy for the second time – the first time being in 1916.
Rev. George W. A. Laws became Pastor in 1953. During his administration, new strides were made. Outstanding among them were the purchase of the church building on Fifth Avenue and Jay Street and the sale of the Seventh Avenue property to a Black Baptist congregation.
In January, 1957, transactions were completed for the purchase of the Fifth Avenue and Jay Street site from the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. The property consisted of three buildings – the Church, the Church house, and the Parsonage.
On February 26, 1957, this Church was dedicated to Zion Methodism by Bishop W. J. Walls, who was guest speaker at the dedication service. This service marked the official transfer to the site and the official change of the name to “Fifth Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church”.
In the spring of 1969, the Church was  completely destroyed by fire. The cause was never determined. Out of the phoenix of the Fifth Avenue and Jay Street destruction, the congregation rose stronger and more united. They continued to worship and they held their services at a nearby catholic church rectory. In 1972, they purchased the current site located at the corner of 5th Avenue and 103rd Street. During the pastorate of Rev. James Thornton, 5th Avenue AMEZ became “An Exciting Place to Worship”. The church also purchased a van to provide transportation to those members who were without transportation. Rev. Linda Thornhill became the first female to pastor 5th Avenue AMEZ and brought forth the motto of “The Church Where God Will Do A New Thing”! During her brief pastorate, she began the process of moving the church toward a professional accounting system.

Rev. Robert Linder, who is not new to the Western New York Conference, directed the congregation to “Walk By Faith, And Not By Site”. Rev. Linder completed the process of getting the church organized financially by creating a central treasury. The youth (children 12 years of age and younger) looked forward to Children’s Moment held on Sundays during the morning worship service. In 2013 the Rev. Oscar L, McLaughlin was appointed as Pastor. Under his leadership, the kitchen underwent a major renovation and a Men’s Ministry and Fellowship was formed. Our motto remained “We Walk By Faith and Not By Sight”. At the July 2017 Annual Conference, Bishop Dennis Vernon Proctor appointed Rev. George William Whitfield as Pastor. Under his leadership we have become the church of “Radical Hospitality”. His emphasis is on Ministry, but more importantly, community involved in the life of the church.

 In December of 2020, after Rev. Whitfield accepted an appointment that moved him closer to hometown in the Ohio conference; it was the Godly judgment of Bishop Dennis V. Proctor to appoint the Rev. Xavier Hunter to carry on the work at Fifth Avenue. Under it’s second millennial pastor in a row, and a few years younger than his predecessor; Rev. Hunter came and led the congregation to higher heights during the midst of the COVID pandemic. The church completed a much needed and awaited roof renovation in just under four months time, along with other work on the parsonage. Fifth Avenue is in a new season, and has been moving forward as one body under Rev. Hunter and moving from grace to grace as they walk in ordered steps.

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