Our Journey

Celebrating 124 Years of God's Faithfulness

(1892 - 2016)

 

 

1892

The Rev. Henry Clay Jones organizes a Sunday school in the home of Mr. J. W. Dorrell of Silverbrook.  Membership grows and a mission congregation is started at Ninth and Union Streets in Wilmington, DE.

 

 

 

1893

A lot is purchased at Eighth and Scott Streets in Wilmington, DE.  A small frame building is erected.

 

 
 

1894

The mission officially becomes a Baptist church with 23 members who pledge to "worship God and serve mankind."

 

 

1911

First sanctuary is constructed at Eighth and Scott streets.  Clergy and choirs from three other black congregations - Shiloh Baptist, Bethel AME and Mount Joy Methodist Episcopal churches, join in the laying of our first cornerstone.  Over the next 23 years the congregation is one of the few black churches to invest in World War I Liberty Bonds, as a way to finance the first mortgage.  Male and female usher boards and Junior Choir are formed.

 

 
 

1925

The Rev. Harold M. Chapman becomes the second pastor, with the retirement of Rev. Jones.  Junior Usher Board and Baptist Young People's Union formed.  The congregation becomes affiliated with the National Baptist Convention.            

 

 
 

1928

Rev. Jones suffers heart attack while riding the Shellpot trolley.

 

 
 

1929

Rev. Chapman resigns.  We are without a pastoral leader for nine months.

 

 

1930

The Rev. William Price of Charlottesville, Virginia becomes the third pastor.  Pastor's Aide and Progressive League are formed.  Ladies are now allowed to address the congregation on spiritual matters from the front of the church.  During these early years, many of our original members were migrating north from Virginia.  A majority of our first families - the Quarles, Braxtons, Roanes, Gardners, Garlics, Banks, Dusons, Browns and Jacksons were from King Williams County, VA.

 

 
 

1939

Rev. Price dies.

 

 
 

1940

The Rev. Arnold E. Gregory, a native of Barbados, becomes our fourth leader.

 

 
 

1946

The Rev. Hilton L. James, another Virginia native, becomes the fifth pastor.  Social and Dramatic Club organized.  Electric cross and new hymn board purchased.

 

 
 

1948

Rev. James resigns to become pastor of Berean Baptist Church Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

The Rev. James Leonard Morgan becomes our sixth pastor.  Daily Vacation Bible School, Male Chorus, Boy and Girl Scout Troops are formed.  The entire church is redecorated and modernized.

 

 
 

1966

Rev. Morgan resigns to accept an administrative position with the Wilmington Board of Education.  The Rev. Arthur R. James serves as interim pastor.

 

 
 

1967

The Rev. Reginald A. Mercer, a Howard University divinity graduate and pastor of a Winchester, VA church, becomes the seventh pastor.  Tithing and percentage giving introduced.  Lenten and Passover Seder shared with members of the Jewish community. 

The first woman is licensed to preach.

 

 
 

1975

 

A devastating fire leaves us in exile after heat and smoke damage the church contents.  Worship takes place at St. Anthony's Catholic Church's Fournier Hall for the next two years.  Three local lending institutions refuse to finance our rebuilding.  American Baptist brothers and sisters provide the mortgage loan.

 

1977

On Psalm Sunday we marched back to our new building and became known as "The Resurrection Center".

 

 
 

1989

Rev. Mercer was called from labor to rest.

 

Rev. Dr. M. Samuel Pinkston, a retired American Baptist clergyman, becomes our interim pastor.  Three American Baptist Women Missionary Circles were organized.

 

 
 

1990

The Rev. Dr. Christopher A. Bullock, a graduate of Colgate-Rochester Theological Seminary becomes the eighth pastor. 

 

The twice-a-month 7:45 a.m. service becomes weekly services.

 

1997

The congregation made a sacrificial decision to move from our original site to 3301 North Market Street, (the Former Odd Fellows Hall).

 

 
 

1998

In the summer, the congregation moved into new sanctuary.

 

Later in the fall, Rev. Bullock announces his relocation to Chicago to become the pastor of the Progressive Baptist Church.

 

 

1999

Rev. Roy L. Thompson, church developer for the American Baptists, becomes interim pastor.  Six new Deacons are ordained.  Scholarship fund established to assist the associate ministers in their theological study.

 

Congregation ends the century with the election of its ninth pastor.  The State Department of Election, for the first time in its history, assists by providing    electronic voting machines to tally the ballots.

 

Pastor S. Todd Townsend, Sr., of Second Antioch Baptist Church in Philadelphia is elected after one round of balloting.  Townsend, a Pastor/Teacher was an adjunct instructor at the Philadelphia College of the Bible.  He is a son of Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

 

 
 

2000

Pastor Townsend preaches his inaugural sermon on the first Sunday of the new millennium.  Within the month, a Bible Institute begins with over 100 students.  Wednesday night prayer meeting and Bible Study outgrows the fellowship hall and moves to the sanctuary.  Campaign to eliminate mortgage is revitalized.

 

Formal installation of Pastor S. Todd Townsend, Sr. takes place at the Victory Christian Fellowship Church in New Castle, DE to accommodate the large audience.

 

 

 

2004

Though the official name of the Church is The Eighth Street Baptist Church: The Resurrection Center, the congregation agreed to change the official name of the church to The Resurrection Center.  To maintain our rich history, we are the Eighth Street Baptist Church doing business as The Resurrection Center.

 

 

2006

The Resurrection Center began a transition from its Baptist tradition to a non-denominational church.  As a result of the transition, the church adopted a new structure adding the position of Elder to the church leadership. 

 

Moreover, Pastor S. Todd Townsend, Sr. was consecrated as a Bishop and his wife Cleo V. Townsend was consecrated as Co-pastor and Elder, joining the leadership of the Church. 

 

During the consecration, the Church ordained Elders, Ministers, and Deacons, now known as the Levitical Order.

 

As a result of the leadership structural change, the church instituted the Executive Council, whose primary role is the fiduciary responsibility of the church, including all business affairs and finances.

 

 

2010

The Resurrection Center paid off the mortgage 19 years ahead of schedule and the church became debt-free.

 

 
 

2012

The Resurrection Center celebrated its 120th anniversary.  As part of the celebration a documentary was created that chronicled the Church's activity through the 1900's and its involvement with the Civil Rights movement.

 

Also during the celebration, the church ordained over 100 Elders, Ministers, and Deacons as part of the Levitical Order

 

"From Everlasting to Everlasting Thou Art God."
Psalm 90:2

 

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube
--->
©2015 - 2016 The Resurrection Center - All Rights Reserved.
3301 N. Market Street Wilmington, DE 19802