“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen”. ~ Hebrews 11:1
Faith alone was the basis of the founding of Cornerstone:
We began meeting in homes in early 1996 to pray for the Lord’s guidance in beginning a new work in the West End of Monroe County. A total of 13 people were members of First Baptist of East Stroudsburg. Our goal was to begin an evangelical church which would serve the West End community where we all live. Our vision was to help establish a church of authentic believers where “they shall know we are Christians by our love”. During the Spring of 1996, we bathed our new effort in prayer and faith as we did not know how we could entice a pastor to come to our small area with no real financial resources other than those offered by our C.B.A. church planting program. In the meantime Pastor Kevin Green was praying over a map of the United Sates asking God to send him where he was needed. Pastor Green felt led to an urban area in New Jersey, but that door closed, just as the door to our new church in Brodheadsville, PA. opened up. We asked Pastor Green to come and speak with us, but first he had to find Brodheadsville on the map! After meeting and interviewing him, we were sure that he was the man that God sent to help us to plant our new church. He found a home in a short time and moved his family here from Michigan. We began meeting throughout the summer in order to launch the new church in September, and thus, Cornerstone Community Baptist Church had begun.
Our first service took place on September 29th, 1996, at the West End Fire Hall where 29 people attended. With God’s grace, we began to grow. We moved from the Fire Hall to a store front on Rt. 209 & Kevin Lane in Brodheadsville in the winter of 1998. After some renovations we had a new home in which to expand our ministries and to accommodate more people. In early 1999, Pastor Green informed us that he was a “church planter” and that it was time to call our first pastor to Cornerstone. Dr. Don McKenzie of the C.B.A. provided us with names of possible candidates for our first pastor. Pastor Stuart Szmaciasz and his wife, Valerie were interviewed and spoke before the congregation, and once again, we knew that he was God’s man for the task. Pastor Stuart and his family of 3 children moved to Brodheadsville from Suffern, New York. Pastor Stuart has been faithfully leading our church since September of 1999.
In October of 1999, Cornerstone became fully incorporated and a self-sustaining church. Our church continued to grow and it soon became apparent that we needed to build our own “lighthouse” in the West End. Under Pastor Stuart’s able leadership we established a building committee, searched for land, interviewed architects and building companies, and began a financing program. The process was long, but the Lord was faithful through it all. In time, He brought us to the perfect setting of 12 acres on Polk Township Road next to the Pleasant Valley Elementary School. Many men and women put in countless hours of “sweat equity” and many sacrificed financially to see this vision become a reality.
We moved to our new church facility on Easter weekend of 2005. Our last service at the storefront was held on that Good Friday. We physically moved all of our furnishings on the following day. Easter Sunday we celebrated our risen Savior, Jesus Christ with an Easter breakfast and a glorious celebration service in our new church home! God has continued His grace and faithfulness to His work at Cornerstone. We have been blessed to build a pavilion for interchurch volleyball leagues, basketball camps and picnics. We have created a ball field/soccer field for interchurch softball. We have been able to reach out to our community and invite West End Little League and West End Soccer League to use our fields and host Christian sports camps during the summer months.
In May of 2011 Cornerstone Community Baptist Church prayfully decided to change our name to Cornerstone Community Church so that we could open more doors and better reach out to our West End friends and neighbors.
Currently we are beginning to outgrow this building and we are contemplating our options for the future. We know that God’s faithfulness will always provide our needs as we continue to serve our community in the West End of Monroe County and beyond.
To quote one of our founding members, the late Gail Godshall, “Coming to Cornerstone is the highlight of my week. Each time I enter the building and see what the Lord has provided for us, I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. When I see the diverse group of talented people who have been drawn by God to Cornerstone, my heart overflows. Each week my heart is edified by the inspiring teaching of Pastor Stuart and by the love and witness of my brothers and sisters in Christ. If I accomplish nothing else in my lifetime, being a part of the establishment of Cornerstone has given my life fulfillment and purpose. Jesus has been my life’s Cornerstone and praise the Lord, He has become the Cornerstone of many lives through His church.” .