The history of the Memorial Church of God in Christ dates back to 1933, when the first meeting was held on a street corner near Glenbrook Avenue in Bryn Mawr, PA. Shortly following the first meeting, the meetings moved to the home of Mother Mary Tunnell, grandmother of Mother Leona Thompson (Memorial COGIC church mother 1978-1997).
A short time later, the small band of believers, including Elder Edward Crudup, Mother Marie Crudup, Mother Henrietta Cousins, Mother Maggie Patterson, and others moved to a small storefront building on Glenbrook Avenue.
When it was noised abroad that the Gospel was being preached, and souls were being converted, Mother Henrietta Cousins, then the church mother, invited Mother Elizabeth Juanita Dabney of Philadelphia to conduct a revival. During this great revival, several families were added to the fellowship; among them were the Wilson family, the Thompson family, and the Cousins family.
With Elder Edward Crudup as founder and Pastor of what was then known as “the Church of God in Christ of Delaware County,” the membership increased until there was not sufficient room enough to hold the people. Elder and Mother Crudup proceeded to search for larger quarters, and in 1934, were successful in locating a plot of land and a building at 747 Buck Lane, Haverford, PA which had most recently been a vacated dance hall and prior to that, Haverford Public School No. 5 - 1876.
Now established as the Memorial Church of God in Christ, Elder and Mother Crudup served and fed the flock of God until late 1946, when they departed to serve in Little Rock, California.
In 1947, the Memorial Church of God in Christ was pastured by Elder Thomas Smith for about one year. Financially poor was the predicament of the small congregation, but they were rich in faith. They exercised their faith in God who promised the strength found in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (KJV)
During each interval while the flock was without an official Pastor, the services and business of the church was conducted under the direction of the associate ministers and the official board of Deacons and Trustees.
In 1954, there was a great spiritual awakening in Haverford for the Memorial Church of God in Christ. It was then that Dr. Ozro Thurston Jones, Jr. of Philadelphia, PA (former Jurisdictional Prelate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Church of God in Christ, and Second Assistant Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ Inc.), was appointed Pastor of the flock. This marked the beginning of a great expansion project. Here was an opportunity to herald the Gospel, and a challenge to bring peace to men, women, boys and girls who had possibly lost hope in life. Here was an opportunity to enhance worship in an attractively renovated place of worship. Dr. Jones led the church until 1964, when he was called to serve at the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia, to continue the work started by his father, Senior Bishop Ozro Thurston Jones, Sr.
In 1964, Elder Leonard Lovett of Pompano Beach, FL, a young man with a vision, was appointed Pastor. It was through his efforts that the Buck Lane Memorial Day Care Center was established. After pastoring for six years, Elder Lovett was called to Atlanta, Georgia, where he assumed the leadership of the Charles Harrison Mason Theological Seminary, an institution of the Church of God in Christ.
On the first Sunday in October, 1971, upon the recommendation of Bishop Ozro Thurston Jones, Jr., Elder Nathaniel W. Porter, Sr., of Jersey City, New Jersey, was asked to come and preach to the congregation. He subsequently returned to preach for the following three Sundays. Elder Porter had no pastoral intentions when he made his first visit, but the Lord was in the plan.
At the Watch Meeting night service on December 31, 1971, Elder Porter officially accepted the appointment to serve as Pastor of the Memorial Church of God in Christ, with his devoted wife, Sister Narcissus Porter, standing faithfully by his side. During his time of service, the church grew spiritually, numerically, and financially. In 1972, the first renovation of the church edifice began. In 1974, the interior of the sanctuary was given a tremendous facelift; a dining area was added on the lower level, along with other improvements. In 1997, major expansion and renovations were completed again on the church edifice.
2014 and beyond
After 42 years of leadership under the pastorate of Elder Nathaniel Porter; the Hand of the Lord moving yet again in the life of the Memorial Church of God in Christ; on Jan. 12, 2014 the mantle of pastoral and servant leadership of the church was bestowed upon Elder Daren K. Miller, a son of the church, with his wife, Evangelist Tasha T. Miller serving faithfully by his side. While we yet remain steadfast, committed, and dedicated to fulfilling God’s mission for us, we, the Memorial Church of God in Christ, are godly proud of what the Lord has enabled us to accomplish in serving Him and upbuilding His Kingdom. As we continue on to the beyond, we humbly submit to His Will, and believe that God shall continue to bless us bountifully as we remain faithful and steadfast in our commitment to Him.
Elder E. Crudup (Founder, 1933 - 1946)