Welcome to Community Fellowship Church
The History of Community Fellowship Church
Community Fellowship Church had its inception the day Rev. R. High Adams agreed to speak at a midweek non-denominational cottage prayer meeting, after being approached by several families, in the spring of 1942. The first such cottage prayer meeting was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Morris. These meetings continued until some of the homes could no longer accommodate the growth. A committee was formed to look into a name for the fledgling prayer group, as well as a Delaware State charter. Mr. Thomas Wingate, Esquire, submitted the legal paperwork, and a State Charter was granted in December of 1942, for the Community Fellowship Church of Wilmington, Delaware, Inc. These home meetings continued over the winter months until April 24, 1943, when the Fellowship was moved into the renovated basement of Mr. and Mrs. Clair and Eleanor Seldomridge on Elliot Avenue, Roselle, between Elsmere and Prices Corner.
The first official Sunday service was held Easter, 1943, with 36 in attendance.
To heat the basement during the winter months, Mr. Morris Seldomridge of Kennett Square, PA, lent the assembly a Heat-trollaTM stove. A chair fund was started to purchase 52 chairs at $1 each from the neighboring Church of the Nazarene(still in Roselle today). Evening services were begun on October 3, 1943, at which time the monthly electric bill increased from $1 to $3. Ten Bibles were purchased for use by visitors and an organ was donated by Mrs. Hickman of nearby Marshallton. In addition, the assembly decided to publicize its services daily in the Wilmington Morning News, as well as, the Evening Journal(now known as The News Journal) at the cost of $1.85/week.
It being the war years, a service flag was placed in the services upon which a star was attached for each member inducted into the Armed Services. A small remembrance and testament were given to each member as they shipped out.
Over the next four years, on some Sundays there was standing room only in the services, with occasionally 100 in attendance. So it was decided to make plans for a permanent facility. A building fund was established, and three lots, at our present location, on the apex corners of Armstrong and Virginia Avenues in Brookland Terrace, went up for a Tax Auction of $171.00. This was only .31 cents over the tax burden due, and no one else bid on the lots! This would be the Lord's location for CFC.
After the purchase, plans were drawn up to fit the diamond shape lots, but because the US was at war, no work began. No materials were available. At the end of the war, Mr. Thomas H. Short Sr.(father of Tom Short Jr., and father-in-law of Helen Short, both life-long members, one a deacon and the other our organist) was awarded the contract to oversee the construction of the church building. He used his small crew as well as a considerable volunteer force to keep the costs manageable. Rev. Adams was succeeded by then Mr. Calvin Waldron, a graduate of The Kings College(also known for its longtime president, Dr. Bob Cook), while he attended the University of Delaware.
The first service in the lower auditorium was held in September 1948. Rev. Waldron's ministry was followed by the Rev. Howard Kinsinger, the church's first full-time pastor. Within four years the upper story was finished under his ministry, and services were moved upstairs and into our current sanctuary in 1952. The construction mortgage was later burned in a special ceremony after 22 years. The succession of men of God unfolded over the years as seen below:
|Rev. R. High Adams
||1943 - 1948
|Dr. Calvin Waldron
||1948 - 1949
|Rev. Howard Kinsinger
||1949 - 1952
|Rev. Hilbert Councell
||1953 - 1954
|Rev. Warren Camburn
||1954 - 1960
|Rev. Calvin Engel
||1960 - 1963
|Rev. John Hibbard
||1963 - 1970
|Rev. Rex Stairs
||1971 - 1973
|Rev. Glenn Neely
||1974 - 1979
|Dr. John McCall
||1980 - 1986
|Rev. David Becknell
||1987 - 1993
|Rev. Jay Hollinshead
||1994 - present
They each contributed by the gracious gifts God gave them to advance the Lord's work in this corner of His kingdom. There was an especially notable movement in ministry and growth under Rev. John Hibbard from 1963 - 1970. His work gave the church great vision.
The deacons directed in the upkeep and additions as God gave them wisdom. The Fellowship Hall was added under the ministry of Rev. Glenn Neely, and our adjacent parking lot grounds were purchased over a number of years and paved during the ministry of Dr. John McCall. Under Dr. McCall's tenure a branch of the New Jersey Bible Institute was established in 1980 and continued while he pastored the church until his retirement in 1987. He was followed by the very evangelistic Rev. David Becknell, who became the church's 11th pastor. The vision both Pastor Becknell and the former pastors and deacons formed, has been inherited by our current pastor, Rev. Jay Hollinshead, and is being carried forward solely by the all-sufficient Grace of God through the lives of our present members and attendees.
The facility has been substantially renovated with extensive exterior and interior upkeep and remodeling. Souls have been added to replenish the ranks of the saints thinned by God's calling some to glory(whom we miss greatly) and others to various fields of service(whom we pray for regularly). And the spirit of unity has deepened significantly ...such as to under-gird the vision of work ahead, as long as the Lord tarries. Thank God for His Faithfulness!
From the beginning, CFC has had a continual missionary vision, and has seen the Lord increase its missionary budget annually. We exist to abide in Christ and cooperate in the advancement of His Kingdom through the Gospel ministry both here at home, and abroad by our missionaries, until the Lord returns. We are especially grateful for our retired missionaries, of whom the Rev. Harry Marshall is a model representation of God's high callings in Christ. May God continue to encourage all His people!