Saints' Memorial Community Church of Willingboro was established in 1968 when a small group of people, led by Rev. Norman H. Davis, met to organize a new community-based, non-denominational church. Their initial meeting took place on December 11, 1968. It was during this meeting that this charter group committed to start the church and extended the call to Rev. Davis to become the Founding Pastor.
Saints' Memorial Community Church held its first public worship service on January 19, 1969, at Buckingham Park School (now Bookbinder School) in Willingboro. The congregation rented various schools and other public facilities during the next nine years. God blessed the fledgling congregation to grow steadily during those early years. Soon, SMCC became a vital part of the spiritual and cultural life of the township.
Land to build a sanctuary on John F. Kennedy Way was acquired on November 15, 1973, followed by receipt of a building permit on October 17, 1974. Over the next three (3) years, the land was cleared and basic ground work for the church building was laid. Funding was precarious but the congregation pressed forward believing God as the ultimate supplier.
During the Fall of 1977 Rev. Davis submitted funding proposals for a construction mortgage to various banks. Initially, none of the banks was willing to provide funding. This resulted in a temporary cessation of the building efforts in late 1977. Later that year, God moved on the hearts and minds of officials at Riverside Savings and Loan Association to grant a primary mortgage in order that construction could be resumed.
As construction moved forward and additional monies were needed, God created an avenue through which Friendly National Bank would provide funding to complete construction of the building. August 6, 1978, marked the date of the first worship service held in the new church sanctuary and fellowship hall at 11 South John F. Kennedy Way.
That day of great joy and triumph featured Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. (affectionately known as "Daddy King") who blessed the new edifice and preached the first sermon. The crowd overflowed the capacity of the building. Many stood outside the doors just to be present on that historic day.
Several years later, the church established Better Daycare Center as a special outreach to working parents who lacked a safe, affordable place to care for their children while they worked. The Center which catered to infants to shcool-age children was often filled to capacity. The Center provided transportation to and from school so that parents' work schedules would not be hampered. Better Daycare center continued to operate until Willingboro became an Abbot District.
When Rev. Davis was called home to Glory on February 19, 1986, the congregation turned to Rev. Eddie L. Durham to serve as Interim Pastor, then Pastor. Rev. Durham had served as Assistant Pastor during the tenure of our Founding Pastor. Rev. Durham provided stalwart leadership during a time that was crucial to the existence of the Saints' Memorial. Using his management and financial background, he guided the congregation through difficult times while improving our spiritual, financial, and operational systems. We were able to complete building renovations, purchase a coach bus, renegotiate our mortgages, and install security systems, among other accomplishments. Pastor Durham resigned from his pastoral role in December 1989.
After a considerable period of searching and prayer, the congregation called Rev. Leamon Wells to the pastorate in August 1990. Rev. Wells remained as Pastor until March 1994 when he resigned. Again, Saints' Memorial felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to turn to Rev. Durham as Pastor. His stellar leadership and spirit of service endeared him to the congregation. Rev. Durham agreed to return as Interim and then as Pastor. He resumed serving as Pastor during the Spring of 1994.
Many prominent speakers have preached and worshipped at Saints' Memorial Community Church. Included amongst these notables are Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., Mohammed Ali, Dr. Wade Wilson, Mrs. Coretta Scott-King, Ray Charles, and Reverend Dr. W. Wilson Goode. In addition, Saints' Memorial also served as the site of the first annual installation of the Willingboro Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Saints' Memorial Community Church continues its concerned for and involvement in the spiritual, social, and physical welfare of the community. We remain committed to being a beacon of light and hope to all whom God allows us to serve. We are delighted to be part of a community that is committed to the growth, development and vitality of all of God's people.