Bible Union Fellowship Church was founded by the late Bishop John W. Lewis, in April of 1976. After a time of discord in the Body of Christ a group of believers desired to follow then Elder Lewis and implored him to form a new ministry. After much prayer he along with those loyal saints began our new church. Pastor Lewis would often express how the Lord had given him the name of our new church. “Bible” because he believed the people of God must be rooted and grounded in the Word of God. “Union” because as the Body of Christ, we should be united with one purpose and one mind. “Fellowship” because he firmly believed that the “tie that binds” becomes even stronger when we establish intimate relationships with each other by spending time and breaking bread together.
After initially meeting in various member homes, an old friendship with the late Bishop Gabriel Hardeman facilitated use of the chapel of Hickman Temple AME church, where worship services were held for several months. Scheduling conflicts at Hickman Temple forced us to look for another place to worship. Determined to worship together, we moved our services to a nightclub called “The Cozy Nook”, located near 52nd and Baltimore Avenue. The church worshiped there for many Sundays and it was not an easy task. It required “sanctification” of the premises before each service. While renting the facility, the church had to clean up the stench of liquor and cigarette smoke, and move the piano every Sunday. This weekly process made us feel like the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness.
In God’s own time, 1977. He heard our cry and answered our prayers! Following the direction of the Holy Spirit, we bought a rug cleaning plant called “Victor Rugs” at 6049 Pine Street. When first seen, it was hard to imagine that such an edifice could become a House of Worship. Everyone took part in remodeling, cleaning, and cooking – young and old, men and women alike. We remained steadfast, unmovable, and motivated! Our members worked tirelessly to renovate the building into a beautiful church home.
Under Pastor Lewis the church continued to grow and many souls have been added to the faith. Bible Union Fellowship has become an anchor in West Philadelphia, making an impact in the community. The church follows the mantra of our founder who often stated, “How can we follow Jesus and not catch fish.” The church and Pastor Lewis became stalwarts in the United Holy Church. Over the years the church has hosted many district and sub-district events, and Pastor Lewis was elevated to the bishopric in 1985.
Bishop Lewis transitioned from labor to reward in 2005, and the church seamlessly moved forward in unity under the pastorate of Elder Rebecca DeLoach. Pastor DeLoach celebrated her 10TH Anniversary in 2005 and she has been elevated to District Elder in the Eastern Pennsylvania sub-district in the United Holy Church of America.
In 2015, after ten long years of praying for the property next door, we have finally taken ownership and we are expecting GREAT things from God as we continue to expand our walls and our presence in the community. The past year has seen several community outreach events which were well received by our neighbors, as we continue to reach the loss at any cost. Marching forward in our 40th Year, we are pressing toward the mark of the high calling in Christ and working in the vineyard until He comes.