The History of Urban Hope…
In 1910 the Third Brethren Church began in a store front on the corner of Lee and Ontario Streets as a Bible study led by Pastor Harvey Cassel. The first building they acquired was a white picket fenced Chapel that stood where the Urban Hope Youth Center is now located.
In 1924, the present church building was built under the leadership of William Steffler. He led the congregation for over twenty years. Other pastors who led the ministry were Robert Cessna (1949-1955), Robert Crees (1955-1958), Robert Kern (1959-1967), Lee Dice (1967-1972), Wayne Baker (1972-1976), Alan Mangum (1977-1985), Steve Blake (1987-1991), and Ralph Robinson (1992-1998).
In October of 1998 The Third Brethren Church celebrated their conclusion as a church. They had seen hundreds of people saved and dozens go into vocational ministries, but the church people no longer lived in the immediate community. However, they wanted to see the ministry begin again with a new vision to reach the immediate community for Christ.
At that time the properties were given to CE National (a Church Effectiveness Ministry). CE National started Urban Hope Training Center in October of 1998 with the goal of reaching the urban family through youth and children and training believers in cross-cultural urban ministry. It continues to be blessed by many prayer warriors. Currently, over 1200 people each year participate in ministry teams at Urban Hope where they learn to share their faith in Christ with people back in their home community by sharing Christ with people here in Philadelphia. Urban Hope Community Church began a public Celebration Service on Easter Sunday of 2007. The church has grown from a handful of teenagers who came to know the Lord through the outreach programs to a group of over 200 that now includes entire families who have turned their lives over the Jesus Christ.