History of our church
For many years subsequent to 1946, the Methodist church operated a Chinese mission at 222 N. 10th St. in the Chinatown section of Philadelphia. In 1946, the Methodist work was discontinued and the pastor and some members organized the Chinese Gospel Church, an independent, non-denominational local assembly of born again believers. At that time, the church had no pastor, but was organized by Rev. Robert Downs. On June 6, 1946 the new church was invited by Dr. George Palmer, a Christian radio broadcaster to hold services at 201 S. 13th St. The church officially incorporated itself in New Jersey in January 24, 1947 and members were moved to raise a building fund to build a new church. Rev. Stanley Yu started as the first pastor in 1950 and in 1952 Dr. Palmer's radio family raised enough money and the building at 936 Race St. was completed in April 1953.
Rev. Robert Downs, founded the Chinese Gospel Church in 1954. He continued his service to the Lord and to the many young Chinese members who later went forth. At that time, the service was held mostly in English because the majority of members were American born Chinese.
During the early 1960's a group of Chinese Christian students and professionals from Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China began a weekly Chinese Bible study which was often led by Rev. Downs. Their hearts yearned to have a Sunday service and in 1965, Rev. Downs welcomed the Bible study to hold Chinese services in the afternoon at the church. The afternoon service grew in numbers which gradually surpassed the morning English service. After a while, the two congregations were united and the morning service was held in both English and Chinese. Rev. Hermann Wang became the first Chinese pastor in 1965 and served until 1969. The Lord provided another pastor, Rev. Timothy Chang, who, with a short interruption, served until 1979. The church outgrew its space at 936 Race Street which could only hold about 85 people and had no facilities for Sunday school. In 1975, space was rented at 222 N. 12th St, until it had to move the Sunday service to the Church of the Saviour at 3723 Chestnut St. in the spring of 1976.
In the winter of 1976, the Central Gospel hall planned to close their mission at 222 N. 12th St. and gave CGC priority in purchasing the property. The church sold the property at 936 Race and purchased the present building in December 1977.
The Lord guided Rev Edward Knettler to minister to CGC in 1979. He helped renovate the church quite a bit in the early eighties by adding classrooms for Sunday School.
In the fall of 1990, Rev. Knettler retired and Rev. Kurt Teng was ordained and installed as pastor. In 1991, Rev. Sunny Lee became the pastor for the English congregation after many years of being a coworker. The first floor of the church underwent considerable renovation in 1993. In 1993, the Lord led the church to start forming a cell group church and many members of the Philadelphia Chinese Bible Study which met weekly at the Church of the Saviour left the Bible Study to form a large cell group which subsequently multiplied into several groups. Rev. Sunny Lee left to pastor a Buffalo church in 1996. One cell of leaders expanded to 12 cells in the first four years and continues to grow.
In the fall of 2003, Rev. Teng transfered to pastor a church in Boston.
In December, 2003, renovations on the church building were completed and worship resumed there on Christmas Eve.