August 2, 1970, fourteen young people feeling led by the power of the Holy Spirit met at War Memorial Parkin Martinsburg, WV with Ralph McFadden, Mid Atlantic District Executive for the Church of the Brethren, to explore the possibilities of starting a new congregation of the Church of the Brethren (COB) in Berkeley County, West Virginia.
Eight days later on August 10th, seven who were at the first meeting and three others met at the home of Clifford and Bessie Honsaker. They decided to search for a permanent place for meetings. Fred L. Grubb Jr. was selected as temporary chairman, and Helen Decker as clerk/secretary.
On August 26th a progressive supper with 30 participants began at the Hunsaker’s and concluded at the Grubb’s. It was announced during this function that the Tuscarora Presbyterian Hall could be rented for meetings for $15.00 per Sunday. The group decided in favor of this meeting place, to name the new congregation, Church of the Brethren Fellowship, and to select Phillip Decker as Treasurer.
September 6th, the first Worship Service was held at the Tuscarora Presbyterian Hall with 40 in attendance. Rev. William C. Crowe, of Rescue Mission was the speaker. The first offering was $286.00. It was reported that the Mid-Atlantic District held 30 letters of membership in escrow. Fred L. Grubb Jr. and Gerald Stocker Sr. and their wives were chosen as the first deacons and deaconesses.
December 27, 1970, Robert Alley, a student at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Virginia was called to be the part-time pastor effective January 1, 1971. He would stay in the home of Eldridge and Addie Kenney. During the summer he became full time pastor and continued to live with the Kennys.
June 29, 1971, thirteen individuals including Pastor Robert Alley, after a season of prayer, voted to purchase 4.86 acres of land south of Martinsburg at approximately $25,700.00.
August 13, 1971, Richard Smith was chosen as the first Moderator. Fred Grubb Jr. was chosen to represent the fellowship at the 1971 District Conference. The church was renamed “Fellowship Church of the Brethren” from “Church of the Brethren Fellowship.” Wallace l. Files, Clifford E. Honsaker Jr., and Gerald W. Stocker Sr. were chosen as the first trustees.
Sept. 8, 1971 Fellowship requested formal recognition as a fellowship of the to the Mid-Atlantic District with the right of delegate status. Formal recognition was granted. Pastor Alley became full time pastor July 1, 1972.
August 22, 1973 Fellowship made request to the District to be recognized as a full-fledged congregation. The request stated that there were now 58 members representing 23 families. The District Conference granted the request to be recognized as a full-fledged congregation at Fall Conference held Oct. 13, 1973.
Some of the chartered member family names were: Alley, Anderson, Cline, Crim, Files, Gornall, Grubb, Honsaker, Mason, Miller, Rogers, Stocker, Turner, and Wright.
The Spirit of God was moving among the people of this young congregation as they met and fellowshipped together in homes and rented space at Tuscarora Presbyterian Hall. They continued to grow numerically and with strength of purpose.
May 10, 1974, a master plan for a building was concluded and John Oliver Company was hired to build a building on acreage previously purchased. To finance the building the District granted $35,000.00 and a loan of $60,000.00. The estimated total cost for the building was $96,800.00.
Sunday, Sept. 15, 1974 was chosen for Groundbreaking at the property on Blossom Drive, Martinsburg, WV. Pastor Dewitt Miller, chair of the Mid-Atlantic District Board offered prayer and brought greetings from the district. Irvin Blair gave greetings from the John Oliver Company and Gerald W. Stocker, Sr. chair of the building committee expressed the hope and vision of the congregation as their vision was becoming a reality.
At 4:00 p.m., instead of the customary shovel for groundbreaking, 90 persons assembled. Each took hold on a long rope attached to a plow and everyone pulled. Gerald Stocker, Irvin Miller, Dewitt Miller, and Pastor Robert Alley were assigned to steer the plow.
February 9, 1975 Gerald Stocker reported at a business meeting that the building was well under way. May 11, 1975, 80% of the building was completed with a steeple and cross illuminated. Furniture items and pews had been ordered.
August 3, 1975 was set as Entrance Sunday. The congregation had been worshipping for nearly five years in Tuscarora Hall in Nollville, WV. They met there for roll call at 9:45 a.m. and held a short final worship service. A motorcade was formed at 10:15 and proceeded to the new church parking lot. At 10:45 a.m. the congregation entered the new building singing "Praise God”. Donald Rowe, District Executive, was the speaker for this thrilling occasion. (The new church building had been started and completed in less than one year.)
September 21, 1975 was set as Dedication Sunday, a Dedication of Life and Property, the 5th anniversary of the Fellowship Church of the Brethren. The morning speaker was Paul Mundey, a seminary student from Eastern Mennonite College. He spoke on “Rededication of Life.” Everyone shared meal together, followed by the Dedication Service. Rev. Wendell Bohrer, former pastor at Moler Avenue Church of the Brethren spoke first, followed by Rev. William Crowe, Director of Martinsburg Rescue Mission (he also preached the first sermon for the group on September 6, 1970). Rev. Donald E. Rowe, District Executive, gave the concluding message. The program was directed by Pastor Robert Alley.
September 16, 1990, 2:00 p.m. a service of mortgage burning took place. The congregation celebrated 20 years of ministry. Pastor Robert Alley spoke on "What It Means To a People" and Rev. Ron Petry, District Executive spoke on "A Look To The Future". Co-Pastors Carol & Duane Strickler served as worship leaders. Judy Honsaker designed the bulletin cover.
A building committee formed in 1989 began the process of planning for the future and brought to church council a proposal for an addition to the original building. Groundbreaking was held on Palm Sunday April 4, 1993.
There were 9 people who worked on the committee until the building addition was completed: Scott Honsaker, Olivia Chapman, Leighton Miller, Cheryl Ruckman, Kenny Hildreth, Bill Poston, Mike Kincaid, Mary Kay Durst, and Elizabeth Staubs. The cost of the new addition was $223,900. A loan for $190,000 was taken out at Old National Bank, with the balance being raised by different fund raisers. The loan was paid off on December 2006.
The congregation also raised the money and paid for a new Allen Organ in the fall of 1995.