Delaware churches — one white, one black — find new life by merging

Leaders say it’s impossible not to see God in the circumstances that brought these two disparate congregations together.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

WILMINGTON, Del. — In its heyday, the 75-year-old Cedars Church of Christ sometimes topped 350 in Sunday attendance.

Many Christians came from the Bible Belt to work for DuPont, the chemical company headquartered in this Mid-Atlantic city.

Those workers and their families formed the core of the congregation, which was active in mission works, from the Blue Hens for Christcampus ministry at the University of Delaware to a Bible college built in Ghana.

“When DuPont was moving people in and out of here, the congregation was quite large,” said Boyd Reed, 53, a data analytics architect with the company. “But there were a lot of layoffs with DuPont, and a lot of people left.”

Others retired and returned to hometowns in places such as Texas and Tennessee.

Those changes left an older, mostly white church of 80 to 100 people with an uncertain future. When preacher Brad Carman stepped aside because of a serious health issue, the congregation wasn’t sure it could afford to hire a new minister.

Doug Mattis, one of the Cedars church’s three elders, put it this way: “We were a dying church.”

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This story appears in the March 2018 edition of The Christian Chronicle.

Author: Bobby Ross Jr.

Award-winning journalist Bobby Ross Jr. has reported from all 50 states and 14 countries in his 28-year professional career.