Retired Jewish Businessman Donates New Jersey Land to African-American Church in Need

'It was a feel-good type of thing. I wanted to do it, and I did it,' says James Horowitz.

Pastor Kenneth Applewhite (center) at the future site of the church in New Jersey.
Screenshot/Philadelphia Inquirer

A retired Jewish businessman from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has given away a parcel of land valued at up to a quarter of a million dollars to an Atlantic City church.

James Horowitz, 82, was planning to sell the vacant parcel of land in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, when he was approached by Pastor Kenneth Applewhite of the City of Hope Worship Outreach Center, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday.

Applewhite called Horowitz in answer to an ad in the Atlantic City Press that said to “name your price” for the plot.

The pastor was looking to relocate his African-American church after a young man was killed in front of the church in the crime-ridden neighborhood, the 15th murder in recent years on the block on which the church is located. He told his church’s story to Horowitz.

“It was a feel-good type of thing. I wanted to do it, and I did it,” Horowitz, who had operated a publishing business and a pool business and dipped his hand in real estate, said of his decision in an interview with the Inquirer. “I think people ought to do that more often.”

Applewhite called Horowitz “a blessing to us."

"He saw the need,” Applewhite said. “Everybody believes God has given us grace and mercy.”

The congregation must raise about $300,000 before construction can begin on a church that will be able to hold as many as 200 people. The church holds daily services and events, Bible study, and a food pantry.