The urban congregation of the Lord's people in Baltimore City has been struggling in its efforts to promote Christianity in the inner city and surrounding areas. The history of the Central Church of Christ dates back to April of 1940 when Allen and Elsie Blackwell, with their three children, relocated from Statesville, North Carolina. The Blackwell family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, at 230 N. Stricker Street. Because of circumstances beyond Brother Blackwell's control, he began worshipping in his home on the Lord's Day. His faith and conviction about New Testament Christianity was the motivating factor which separated the Blackwell family from their religious neighbors.In 1943 a store-front building was rented at 1310 N. Calhoun Street with the assistance of Brothers in Christ from the congregation located on 12 West 22nd Street.A few Christians from other areas migrated to Baltimore and began assembling together with the church. Samuel and Inell Roney, with their son Samuel Jr. came from Florida and began worshipping with the Saints in August, 1943. Worship services were again moved to the living room of Allen Blackwell who was at that time
residing at 230 W. Calhoun Street in 1943. Later, the Christians, for a short time, also shared a building on 29 W. Vincent Street. During the church's infancy ongoing efforts were made to win people to Christ. Marshall Keeble, a legendary gospel preacher, held a gospel meeting in 1942 on Pennsylvania Avenue, in a rented hall. Few people attended the meeting however, and no one responded to the preaching of the gospel. Shelton T. Gibbs conducted a tent meeting in the vicinity of Fremont Avenue and Laurens Street. Later, Henderson Pope conducted a meeting and assisted in preaching the Gospel on the Lord's day in the late 1940?s and early 1950?s. People were beginning to listen to the Gospel of Christ, a few responded, and the church began to grow. In April of 1958, two Texans, Humphrey Foutz and Annie Jewel Foutz began worshipping and serving with the Gilmore Street Church of Christ. Several methods of outreach were implemented through the vision and determination of Brother Humphrey Foutz to teach the lost. Cottage classes were held using the filmstrip series, Bible correspondent courses were sent out, and the gospel was preached on the radio program, "Hearing for Eternity," on WEBB each Saturday morning. In 1959, under the leadership-of Brother Foutz, the congregation moved to 1602 Bloomingdale Road. The facilities were much more conducive to meeting the needs of the growing congregation. The church was growing more rapidly than ever.
With the continual growth of the urban church, the time was right for the church to purchase its own building. That building was known as the Fremont Avenue, Branch #1 of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and was the largest of four original branches in Baltimore City. Branch #1 was formerly opened on March 15, 1886 and it was officially closed on March 16, 1957. Renovations were begun to convert it into a place of worship. For the first time in the history of the congregation we were going to have our very own baptistery, conveniently located within our sanctuary. Prior to the Pitcher Street building converts were baptized in various places, among those being the Long Green Pike River in Glen Arms, Maryland, and the facilities of several other local congregations. In 1963 the congregation moved to 664 Pitcher Street, and by 1974 the membership had grown to approximately 375 members. Moving to 4301 Woodridge Road in 1974 opened more doors for the Lord's people. The gospel was taught each weekday on the radio program "The Morning Bible Study." WBGR, the bus ministry began, and young faithful men were disciplined for the ministry of
preaching and leadership. Christians campaigned in Cambridge, and Annapolis, Maryland, Wilmington, Delaware and York, Pennsylvania. "The Community Bible Study" was started and continues to be held each Tuesday morning. In the outreach ministry of the church every effort is made to preach and teach the gospel. People are being brought to the worship services and Bible studies Christians spread the "Good News" of God's Love, and people are added to the "Body of Christ".
As the number of Christians multiplied, at the Central Church of Christ three worship services were held to accommodate the hundreds of Christians worshipping in a building with a seating capacity of approximately 350 persons. The Christian population on Woodridge Road had outgrown its existing building. In 1988, plans were made to erect an adjacent building which would accommodate the whole congregation at the same time. April 22, 1990 was the date when the Christians began worshipping together in the new sanctuary.
After serving the Central congregation for 48 years, Bro. Humphrey Foutz departed this life on April 13, 2006 after a lengthy illness. Ministers from across the brotherhood attended the memorial service on April 22, 2006 including officiating ministers Dr. Roosevelt C. Wells, Dr. Eugene Lawton, Dr. Jack Evans, and Dr. William F. Washington.A ministerial search committee was established to assist in the process of selecting a new minister to lead the congregation.
On Sunday, September 14, 2008, Bro. Willie Rupert Jr. was installed as the minister of the Central Church of Christ. Bro. Rupert and his wife of 23 years, Celeste, and their two children, Emmanuel and Kimberly Symone, were welcomed to the Central family with much love.
On December 31, 2008, Bro. John Wilkie was installed as the assistant minister of the Central Church of Christ. His wife of 16 years, Juanda, and their three children, Na'Cara, Shawn, and Nile were welcomed into the work and fellowship of the Central family.
Glory be to God and our Lord Jesus Christ who has used faithful people throughout the years to accomplish his mission to save the lost. We are grateful for the faithful Christians who worked together to promote Christianity in our city and other areas.