125 Years Later… A 21st Century Church

125 Years Later… A 21st Century Church


Resurrection is defined as to “rise from the dead, to surge again”. The Resurrection Center Church has indeed gone beyond not just being resurrected, but continuing to fulfill its mission and expanding its timeline and place in Wilmington, Delaware history with moments evolving with the times to the benefit of individuals, the community and many generations.

On March 11th and 12th, The Resurrection Center will celebrate its 125th anniversary with the theme “Living Stones”.  The theme speaks to living stones that have built up and continue to build this spiritual house.  The celebration begins with a concert Saturday, at 6:00 pm at the church featuring special guest J. J. Hairston and Youthful Praise and the 9:00 am worship service on Sunday will feature Reverend Silvester Beaman of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Wilmington, DE as the guest preacher.  Community partners and leaders will be recognized as well for their role in the evolving history of the church and partnership on behalf of the community.

The Resurrection Center has been led by its ninth pastor, Bishop S. Todd Townsend, Sr.  By the mid 2000’s the leadership structure added Dr. Cleo Vilina Townsend as co-pastor. Vision and innovation is a part of their legacy and what drives their service to the congregation, visitors and the community.

Originally known in the community as The Eighth Street Baptist Church the first worship service started as a Sunday school on December 21, 1892 in Wilmington, DE under the leadership of Reverend Henry Clay Jones. The formal church and physical structure began in 1893 and in 1911 in the Baptist Chapel near Scott Street.  Even more innovative and forward thinking was the inclusion of women in 1930 in congregational leadership.  The Resurrection Center also boasts one of the longest running Girl Scout Troops in Delaware which begin in 1948.

The church continued to progress over the years and though the Civil Rights Movement, but devastation hit the church in 1975 when fire damaged the church and all its contents. Because of the fire, the congregants reached out to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and they provided a place of worship for the Eighth Street Baptist church for 2 years as the physical church was rebuilt. On Palm Sunday 1977, the Eighth Street Baptist Church marched back into a rebuilt sanctuary and named the new building “The Resurrection Center”.

In 2004, The Eighth Street Baptist Church officially changed its name to The Resurrection Center. However, to maintain their rich history, the church operates as the Eighth Street Baptist Church doing business as The Resurrection Center.

Today, The Resurrection Center continues to be a pillar in the community, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and focusing on generational growth. The church continues strong Christian education through various weekly bible study groups and a new partnership with Eastern University. Strong benevolence partnerships with other organizations exist to feed the hungry, the church has a 30 plus year history of offering mental health and substance abuse counsel to those in need, providing educational scholarships, economic development opportunities, promoting home ownership and entrepreneurship, reaching the incarcerated, focusing on our youth, Seniors and fostering opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle with its new Movement Center.

The Resurrection Center Church is a non-denominational, church located at 3301 N. Market Street in Wilmington, DE and has a secondary location in Middletown, DE, which is led by Pastor Melvin Moore. For additional information visit www.trclive.org.