The History of Cornerstone
In 1980 Bill Curry and some students from Philadelphia College of Bible started a Thursday night ministry (Teen Club) for teenagers at the Kensington Neighborhood House (3068 Frankford Avenue.) Many neighborhood teens attended, enjoyed the games and activities, and learned God’s Word. Teen Club still continues to serve young people on Thursday nights – almost 40 years later!
In 1987 a children’s ministry (Kids Club) was started by Bill and PCB students on Tuesdays for children ages 5-12. This program quickly grew and blessed many children. They loved the singing, games, Bible lessons and refreshments. Kids Club stills meets on Tuesday nights – over 30 years later! Thousands of children and teenagers have benefitted from Kids Club and Teen Club over the years.
In 1988 Joe and Laurie Darrow moved into Kensington and began to serve the Kensington community. Joe became the director of this inner city ministry. Joe worked to obtain a new building for the ministry called the Hewitt Center at 3058 Frankford Avenue. This enabled the youth ministry to expand considerably. The Darrows have served in Kensington for 30 years!
In 1994 Andy and Shannon Schultz moved into Kensington to serve this community. They had served with the Kids Club as volunteers and now they devoted their full-time energies to youth ministry. They have served full-time with our inner-city youth for almost 25 years!
Also in 1994 we were given a church building to meet in. Allegheny Avenue Baptist Church was located at the corner of Frankford and Allegheny Avenues. The pastor of Allegheny Avenue Baptist Church had helped Bill Curry start the Teen Club in 1980. He was called to become a missionary in Nicaragua. Allegheny Avenue Baptist Church had its own rich history of ministry in the community since 1883.
Having obtained a church building, Cornerstone Community Church was planted. Sunday services and Bible studies began. Pastor Joe Darrow directed our ministry and Pastor David Grainge did the preaching. Our youth ministries grew even more with this larger building.
Extensive renovations were done over the next 10 years as the building had deteriorated significantly. God provided the funds and volunteers to do a dramatic rehab. We were excited to have a beautiful baptismal pool and our first baptisms. Our first wedding was Pastor Bill and Patsy Curry in 1995.
Our ministry grew rapidly. In 1996 we started Family Night on the first Tuesday of each month. Family Night serves many families in our community and still continues to this day. In 1997 we organized our first Block Party as a creative way to bless and reach our community. Today the annual Block Party continues with well over 1000 participants.
In 1998 we purchased a large lot next to the church and built an amazing playground and picnic grove. God gave us a wonderful place to play and fellowship!
In 2002 we welcomed our first official members. In 2004 Bill Curry became the lead pastor at Cornerstone. Our church was rapidly growing and more people joined our staff. More new ministries were started.
In 2006 we bought the house next to the church at 2058 E. Allegheny Avenue. The house is the center for our many adult Bible studies throughout the week. Eventually it also became the base for our food cupboard. About 100 families receive bags of food each week to help them get by.
The Lord amazingly provided us with a new building in 2007 next to the Light House which we call the Miracle House. This house had been a drug and prostitution haven for many years. The city of Philadelphia sold us the house for $1. It is now base for our addictions recovery ministry.
Our Thrift Shop was opened in 2007 at 3058 Frankford Avenue. This blesses our community by offering very inexpensive clothes, furniture, household items and more. The proceeds from the Thrift Shop benefit our seniors ministry.
Over the last almost 40 years God has touched so many lives. People of all ages have had their lives transformed through the power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hurting people have been restored, the enslaved have found freedom, marriages and relationships have been restored, and broken families have been healed. Physical, emotional and spiritual needs have been met.
We are amazed at all the Lord has done throughout the history of our ministry. There is so much more we could write of His great works. We give the Lord Jesus Christ all the glory for what He has accomplished!