Community Fellowship Church in its early history is largely the story of God’s workings in the Paul Knopp family. After serving for a number of years as a pastor in several different churches in the Midwest, Paul, a native of Staunton, returned with his family in 1962 to pastor a congregation meeting at Oak Grove Chapel and to work with his brothers in a lumber business.
Over the next several years, Paul and his wife, Christine, sensed the Lord redirecting their ministry. In January of 1971, services were not held at the Chapel on three consecutive Sundays because of deep snow. Instead, the Knopps, with their nine sons, worshipped together in their own home. Paul and Christine felt impressed by the Lord to discontinue the meetings at the Chapel and to continue the services at their own residence. During this time, the Knopps met Dr. Frank Wilbur, a biology professor at a local college, who was having a positive Christian influence in the lives of a number of college students. Frank, his wife Wendy, and several students began coming to the Knopp home to worship. From that time the Lord steadily began to draw in people who shared the desire to grow in Christ.
In December of 1982, after eleven years of meeting in the Knopps’ home, the church began holding its Sunday morning meetings in the former Stonewall Jackson School building, located at 217 W. Beverley Street in Staunton. Other meetings were held in homes during the week. The building at that time housed the church’s new and growing ministry of Grace Christian School. In addition, CFC, along with two other churches, sponsored and housed the newly formed Pregnancy Help Center (now Comfort Care Women’s Health).
Meetings continued at the school building for about ten years until the church and school ministry outgrew the facility. For several years various facilities were leased. Then, in 1995, the church purchased the present building on S. Market Street for both church and school usage.
CFC has always operated under a shared leadership. Pastors (or elders) operate with unique gifts and yet are co-equal in authority. Paul Knopp went to be with the Lord in 2008. Current co-pastors are John Morrison, Clay Sterrett, Bob Robson, John Hagen, and Brian Fitzgerald.
In 2001 God made possible the purchase of the former Beverley Manor School complex on Thornrose Avenue to accommodate the growing elementary and middle schools needs. The church and high school share the building on S. Market Street. While we are grateful for the buildings, our desire is always to keep the primary emphasis on the people of God, rather than the structures we use. “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood. . .” (I Pet. 2:5) “And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” (Eph. 2:22)