Christ Community Baptist Church, Inc. celebrated its 40th anniversary with a weekend full of festivities. The anniversary included praise and worship through a concert and banquet held at The Drexelbrook.
The Rev. Arthur R. White, senior pastor of CCBC, presided over the celebration.
“It felt great and I felt it lifted the whole congregation,” he said. “These events this weekend helped to bond us and helped to connect us more deeply and give everybody an essential pride over how we got from South Philadelphia to here and why has the community emphasis been so consistently put before the congregation.”
The late Rev. Dr. Laurance G. Henry founded CCBC in 1972. Services were initially held on the dance floor of the Musician Hall. A recognition service was held on Feb. 21, 1972 and in the summer, the church bought a former synagogue and made it their new home. Since then, CCBC has made it its mission to be a presence in its East Parkside Neighborhood.
White became the pastor in 1978 following Henry’s death. White, who has a doctorate in ministry, spoke of his 30 years of service to the church and community. One of CCBC’s mantras is that God sends them on a missional assignment for their neighborhood and beyond.
“I’ve been able to bring them together more and to focus them and clarify what the mission is in the community and why the church exists,” White said. “What has sustained me is a sense of purpose and a sense of knowing that God has sent me there to serve.”
White said he has tried to be a pastor that would make his flock obedient to their purpose of being Christ centered.
“The church understands itself to be on assignment,” he said. “She’s on assignment by God to deliver the gospel where we are situated in very concrete ways and to minister to the community and be there. The church is small, but not too small, but small enough so that there can be a sense of connectiveness and people knowing your name.
“The church is committed to trying to express Christ in the most simplest ways that we can,” White added. “So, it’s a friendly church. It’s a community church. It’s a loving church.”
Christine H. Lindsey is one of the founding members. In fact, her brother was the late Henry who helped to organize the church. The anniversary celebrations took on a greater meaning for the 85-year-old congregant.
“It was a lively church service,” she said.
Lindsey is a deaconess at the church now and felt the anniversary captured the church’s spirit. She also spoke highly of her brother’s successor.
“He’s a good teacher,” she said. “He gives you a good message and its biblically based but as a pastor, he is for the people. He visits the sick every week.”
Marjorie Ferron has been a member of CCBC for more than 26 years and is the church treasurer. She shared in the compliments for White. She said he was honorable and stood by her side through difficult times.
“He pays attention to each individual,” Ferron said. “He knows their names and families. He’s committed to us and will travel far to take care of us.
“He lives by the word. He teaches us by the word and he sets a great example for everybody to follow,” she added.
Ferron invited others in the community to come and worship with the church and experience White’s preaching for themselves.
“It’s a loving church and we get that from him,” she said. “He shows love and chare for all of God’s people.
“The church is a very loving, open-hearted church,” Ferron added. “When you come in the door, you’ll feel the love when you come in the door. When you come to our church, you’ll feel welcomed. You feel like you’re at home.”
Khalil Bundy is a youth minister at CCBC and credited the church for helping to turn his life around.
“Pastor White is a dynamic preacher,” he said. “He’s taught me a lot about the word. He’s taught me a lot about the word because my background wasn’t in the word of God for most of my life. That wasn’t really what I was into.
“And just to come to Christ Community and here the words of Pastor White every week is a privilege and it’s not to be taken lightly,” he said.
Bundy was one of the co-chairs of the 40th anniversary committee.
“We wanted to highlight the church’s history and how far we’ve come and we wanted to highlight members who had been there that whole time and people who had sang on choirs and did various things,” Bundy said. “Also, we wanted to move into the next generation and that was the whole point of having young adults on the committee.
“I couldn’t be more proud of being a part of Christ Community just because what it would stand for,” he said. “We’re talking about 40 years and that’s quite a while.”
Bundy joined CCBC in 2008 and shared his excitement about helping to shape the church’s future.
“These things that we’re going to be doing, the goal is to not only build up the church but more importantly build up the word of God and do the great things in the community,” Bundy said.
“Most importantly, we’re going to give you the word of God and it’s not a show. It’s a true worship of God. It’s not about one man. It’s not about come see Rev. White work a miracle. It’s more about come see how members of the body of Christ come together and learn.”
Christ Community Baptist Church, Inc.
1224-30 North 41st Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19104
Fax: (215) 215-877-4080
Service: 10:45 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Arthur White