Wilmington

 

Bethel A.M.E. Church
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Bethel A.M. E. Church in Wilmington, founded in 1846, first worshipped at 12th and Elizabeth streets.  After a few years, the congregation was forced to seek a new home.  In 1853, the church erected a new building on Penn Street above Sixth, where it remained until 1865.  The congregation then bought the former German Lutheran church on Walnut Street above Sixth.  After several years, a new church was built on the site in1878.  This church was destroyed by fire on January 1, 1935.  A new church was completed in 1936.  Since then, the church has added to the building and continues an active ministry.


Bethel A.M.E. Church, Wilmington
Ca. early 1930s
Courtesy of Bethel A.M.E. Church

 

Bethel A.M.E. church, ca. early 1930s

 

 



Bethel A.M.E. Church, Wilmington
Ca. late 1930s-early 1940s
Zebley Collection, Delaware Historical Society

 

Bethel A.M.E. Church, Ca. late 1930s-early 1940s

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St. Matthew's Episcopal Church
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St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Wilmington began a Sunday school for blacks in 1846 that grew into a mission church by 1891.  A church site at 1201 Chippey Street was purchased that year and the church building opened in 1900.  By 1915 the congregation had run into difficulties.  The church building was closed and services were held sporadically at other locations for a number of years. In 1926 a house at 706 French Street was adapted into a church.  In the late 1940s, the church acquired land at 700 Walnut Street and a new church was completed in 1950.  In 1996, St. Matthew’s formally joined with St. Andrew’s Church to form the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew.


St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Wilmington
Ca. late 1930s-early 1940s
Zebley Collection, Delaware Historical Society

 

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Ca. late 1930s-early 1940s

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Shiloh Baptist Church
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In 1874, First Baptist Church in Wilmington (now Immanuel Church), a white congregation, began a Sunday school for blacks that grew into Shiloh Baptist Church, the first African American Baptist church in Delaware. Shiloh first met in the former Masonic hall on Twelfth Street between Market and Orange.  In 1877 the church purchased a lot at Twelfth and Orange where it gradually built its first church during the next decade.  This building served until the mid 1940s, when Shiloh purchased and renovated the former East Baptist Church at Fifth and Walnut streets and sold its former building to the DuPont Company.  Wilmington’s redevelopment needs forced the church to move again in the 1970s, and its current building opened at 23rd and Washington streets in 1972.  Several other Baptist churches throughout Delaware are outgrowths of Shiloh, and the church plays a vital role in the community.


Shiloh Baptist Church, Wilmington
Courtesy of Shiloh Baptist Church

 

Shiloh Baptist Church, Wilmington

Shiloh Baptist Church, Wilmington
Courtesy of Shiloh Baptist Church
  Shiloah Baptist Church
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St. Joseph Catholic Church
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The Society of Saint Joseph (Josephite order) founded St. Joseph’s Colored Mission in 1889 and erected a church on French Street near Eleventh in 1890. From 1893 until 1928 the Josephites ran an orphanage, the first such facility for African American boys in the United States.  It closed in 1928.  A parochial school operated from 1928 until 1956.  The church was renovated in 1934 but burned in 1945.  This photograph shows the church that burned.  A new building was erected.  The Josephites ran the parish until 1993, when it was transferred to the Franciscans.  St. Joseph’s is the only African American church still on French Street, the historic main street of the East Side community.

St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Wilmington
Ca. late 1930s-early 1940s
Zebley Collection, Delaware Historical Society

 

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Wilmington

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Eighth Street Baptist Church
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A Sunday school started in 1892 grew into Eighth Street Baptist Church, Delaware’s second oldest black Baptist congregation.  In 1893, the church erected a small building at Eighth and Scott streets, replaced by a larger sanctuary in 1911.  Many of the church’s early members came from King William County, Virginia.  A fire destroyed the church in 1975.  The rebuilt church was completed in 1977.  Eighth Street hosted the first Alcoholics Anonymous group at a black church in Delaware beginning in 1983.  In 1998, the church moved to 3301 North Market Street where it has experienced great growth.  The church became nondenominational during the 1990s.  Eighth Street formally changed its name to The Resurrection Center in 2005. A second church opened recently in Middletown.



Eighth Street Baptist Church
Ca. late 1930s-early 1940s
Zebley Collection, Delaware Historical Society

 

Eighth Street Baptist Church, Wilmington_Ca. late 1930s-1940s





The Resurrection Center
Ca. 2010
Courtesy of The Resurrection Center
 

Resurrection Center, ca. 2010

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The Church of God and Saints of Christ
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The Church of Good and Saints of Christ is an African American Jewish group founded in William Crowdy in Kansas in 1896.  Its worship and beliefs combine Jewish and Christian elements.  The Wilmington congregation was founded in 1905 and worshiped at 841 Walnut Street from 1912 until the mid 1950s.  After a few years on Apple Street in the 1960s, it has been at 717 East Seventh Street since 1969.


Church of God and Saints of Christ, Wilmington
Program for Harvest Extravaganza, I, Ltd.
November 19-20, 1983
Jim Baker Collection, Delaware Historical Society

 

Church of God and Saints of Christ, Wilmington

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Masjid Muhammad
American Muslim Center of Wilmington

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The Nation of Islam began in the 1930s and came to Wilmington in the late 1950s.  The first meetings were held at the black Odd Fellows Hall at 12th and Orange streets, then at 511A East Fourth Street.  Muhammad’s Mosque of Islam No. 35 was located at Sixth and Tatnall in the 1970s and 1980s.  Now called Masjid Al Kauthar, it is located on Northeast Boulevard in Wilmington.



1st Annual Islamic Educational Forum and Banquet
May 24, 1980
Delaware Historical Society Collections

 

Masjid Muhammad of Wilmington/American Muslim Center of Wilmington_Program












5th Annual Educational Banquet
September 1, 1984
Delaware Historical Society Collections
 

Masjid Muhammad of Wilm/American Muslim Center of Wim/5th Annual Banquet

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New Destiny Fellowship, Wilmington
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Apostle Thomas Wesley Weeks, Sr., founded Greater Bethel Apostolic Temple, now New Destiny Fellowship, in Wilmington in 1980. The church met at several locations before settling at 504 East. 11th Street late that year.  In 1982, the church moved to larger facilities at 29th and Van Buren streets and enjoyed rapid growth.  The church moved to its present location at 906 East.16th Street in the 2000s.  New Destiny Fellowship was originally affiliated with Pentecostal Assemblies of the World but left that denomination in 2000.  Apostle Weeks started New Destiny Fellowship International, which has several hundred affiliated churches in the U.S. and around the world..


New Destiny Fellowship, Wilmington
Ca. 2006
Courtesy of New Destiny Fellowship

 

New Destiny Fellowship, Ca. 2006

 

 

 

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