Bushwick Church Thrift Shop sells antiques and curios to fix the leaky roof


Huge arched windows. A seemingly unknown labyrinth of rabbit treasures. A pastor at the top of a ladder. And glimpses of the sky through an uneven church roof.

The thrift store run by the church Antiques on Bushwick at 1170 Bushwick Avenue might just be one of Brooklyn’s most unique thrift stores.

On a recent Wednesday – as Nat King Cole’s voice echoed through a giant vintage amp – restoration worship temple pastor Owen Loftman was working hard to build a new Christmas section at the east end of the church .

Owen works “eight days a week” to run the thrift store. Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader

Loftman is drilling something, he’s busy, and he doesn’t have much time to talk.

“I’m running in my head, there is so much to do, it should have been done two weeks ago,” he says apologetically.

While the pastor may seem gruff at times, he has a lot to do. In addition, it is part of the charm of the place.

“The building is falling apart, so we have to find ways to raise funds,” Loftman says. “The place is a mess as you can see so every moment is so precious.”

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader

An idea to raise money

Right now, Loftman is busy curating hundreds of Christmas decorations, nativity figures, wreaths, and Santas in all shapes and sizes so that the Christmas Shop can open on Friday.

When he’s not doing that, he travels around New York City and the highways buying items in bulk at real estate sales, assembling them, and selling them at the store.

“I’m here eight days a week, I work hard.

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader

This is all part of the plan to raise enough money to repair the building, so that the inhabitants of Loftman’s Restoration Worship Temple can congregate there again.

The temple purchased the Bethesda Baptist Church building in 2013 for its worshipers to worship there. But four years ago, the services had to temporarily relocate, as the 19th-century church fell into disrepair.

Instead of leaving the space unoccupied, the Temple decided to open a thrift store in the meantime. Every dollar goes towards the gigantic amount needed to repair the church, Loftman says.

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader

“We need half a million to fix the roof. We are far. I trust God. I trust Jesus.

The church has a long history. Built in 1896, it features high skeleton windows and a bell tower. There used to be a basement with a bowling alley, and the interior was furnished in oak with a capacity of 750 people, Brown stone reports.

Five days before Christmas in 1997, the church, at the time an “art-filled sanctuary,” according to the New York Times, was devastated by fire. It has since been rebuilt.

Repair the leak

Outside, there are few signs that the great old church, with its beautiful Romanesque arcades, is collapsing.

In the grassy front yard is a church letter board filled with the temple’s slogan: “The road to spiritual success is still under construction.”

The sign takes on added meaning as you step inside and realize that you can glimpse the sky through the church’s sky-high ceilings.

The building was constructed in 1896. Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader

“Is it leaking?” It’s like Niagara Falls here when it rains, ”Loftman says.

As a result, the entire Christmas display is covered with a tarp, as it sits flush with one of the most damaged areas.

In addition to fending off leaks, Loftman says he also needs to fend off real estate prospectors.

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader

He says the developers tried to pick him up, and even the city “wants to steal the damn building.”

The church is behind on their taxes, and that’s why every dollar counts right now. When asked what the community can do to help, Loftman is blunt.

“Come shopping.”

Large curio shop

Loftman may have more pulpit experience than auction houses, but the store is thrifty heaven.

Step into the church’s opening arch, browse a tangle of books and hats, and you’ll find yourself among a vast expanse of furniture, clothing, art, technology of all ages, glassware and of trinkets.

There is no unused space. A potted plant straddles a ceramic elephant, next to a bust of Caesar. There are boxes of sunglasses, boxes of shells, boxes of 8-track cassettes.

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader

On the vintage amplifier are two kitchen mixers perched. To the left, a wall of printers, fax machines, typewriters and cassette players.

There are four industrial style chairs covered in ocher leather, $ 10 each. A wicker basket of assorted bells.

To the north, a mural of two cherubs is hidden behind a mid-century cabinet featuring porcelain figurines, including an 1844 statuette of a British army captain, in mint condition, and a decorative plate with the words ” To the mother. “

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader

And that only scratches the surface. Loftman says he doesn’t have the time to research how much the items are worth and that he doesn’t want to price too high in case people don’t buy him.

“Everyone’s looking for a deal. And if they find a fortune, they won’t tell me.

However, the church is grateful for every sale. The thrift store is open every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Christmas store opens this Friday, October 22.

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader

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