In 1962, four Baltimore Community Church pastors wanted to preserve the noble heritage that was transmitted to them by the late Reverend Dr. Wilbur H. Waters (pastor of Emmanuel Christian Community Church, 1937 to 1956) and also prepare the way for more effective cooperation.
They came together and organized the United Council of Christian Community Churches of Maryland and Vicinity. The first session of the Council was held in August 1963 at Emmanuel Christian Community Church.
The four founding pastors were:
What is a Community Church?
In the words of the late Reverend Dr. J. Ralph Shotwell (1927-2010) former Council Executive Director of the National Council of Community Churches:
“A Community Church may be described as a congregation in which denominational loyalties have been made subservient to the local religious program, in which toleration of religious opinion is coupled with earnest faith in Jesus Christ and in which Christianity is thought of as involving a program of character-building and community service.
A community church is one that seeks to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Persons coming from different denominational backgrounds and religious traditions learning to worship and work together, learn to emphasize those beliefs which are held common and not let other differences be disruptive of the unity for which Christ prayed.
More so than in any other church, a member in a Community Church has the right and responsibility of individual conscience.
More so than a church in any other movement, a member church has self-governing rights and responsibilities, autonomy, freedom to structure its own worship, work and witness.
More so than a church in any other movement, a Community Church can promote “Unity without Uniformity.”
Members of a Community Church “agree to differ, resolve to love, unite to serve.”
Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us to Christ Jesus before the world began.
II Timothy 1:9