Charity Ministries

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Persons with backgrounds in various "plain" groups in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, met in 1982 in New Holland to institute a church that would recapture the zeal of early Christianity and the tenets of the Anabaptist movement of the 16th century. Two key leaders were Mose Stoltzfus (1946- ) and Denny Kenaston (27 April 1949-4 July 2012). The new group became known as the Charity Christian Fellowship. In the late 1980s the group began an extensive tape ministry, making available sermons and teaching on cassette tapes. The delivery of these resources later changed to compact discs and electronic files on the Internet. As other churches became connected with the group, it became known as Charity Ministries. The polity is congregational in form.

The group has not identified itself as Mennonite, but has resembled conservative Mennonites in doctrine and practice. Their congregational confessions reflect fundamentalist beliefs while retaining traditional Mennonite practices such as the prayer veiling for women, the holy kiss, the non-swearing of oaths and opposition to military service. Women wear a cape dress, or a jacket-type upper garment. The group has been charismatic and acknowledged the various gifts of the Holy Spirit. They have also stressed the active work of Satan in the world. Most children have been home schooled.

The Fellowship carried on an active evangelistic program among Amish and Mennonite groups, and attracted persons of non-Anabaptist backgrounds as well. Mission work has been carried out in Africa (Ghana) and Asia. 

By 2018 Charity Ministries was described by one observer as a "movement," not an organization. Congregations that considered themselves "Charity Churches" were not accountable to any central body, and there was increasing diversity of expression and polity among these congregations. Much of the change took place after the death of Dennis Kenaston several months after he was diagnosed with cancer of the brain.

In 2012 there were 41 congregations associated with Charity Ministries:

Congregation City Province/State, Country Members in 2012
Abide Christian Fellowship Ste. Anne  Manitoba, Canada  60 
Agape Christian Fellowship  Manistee  Michigan, USA  50 
Allen County Christian Fellowship  New Haven  Indiana, USA  310 
Berea Christian Fellowship  Leetonia  Ohio, USA  92 
Berne Christian Fellowship  Berne  Indiana, USA  35 
Buffalo Valley Christian Fellowship  Lewisburg  Pennsylvania, USA  30 
Cambridge Christian Fellowship  Byesville  Ohio, USA  44 
Charity Christian Fellowship  Leola  Pennsylvania, USA  108 
Cheyenne Christian Fellowship  Cheyenne  Wyoming, USA   
Christian Light Fellowship  Bedford  Pennsylvania, USA  96 
Cleveland Believer's Fellowship  Cleveland  North Carolina, USA  75 
Cornerstone Chapel  Dorchester  Wisconsin, USA  20 
Dayspring Christian Fellowship  Amherst  Virginia, USA  34 
Ephrata Christian Fellowship  Ephrata  Pennsylvania, USA  140 
Faith Christian Fellowship  Dundee  Ohio, USA  100 
Faith Christian Fellowship  Seminole  Texas, USA   
Finger Christian Fellowship  Finger  Tennessee, USA  75 
Gospel Light Christian Fellowship  Yuba  Wisconsin, USA  80 
Grace Christian Fellowship  Bainbridge  New York, USA  100 
Harmony Believer's Fellowship  Harmony  North Carolina, USA   
Harmony Christian Fellowship  Myerstown  Pennsylvania, USA  75 
Hesson Christian Fellowship  Hesson  Ontario, Canada  45 
Immanuel Christian Fellowship  Stover  Missouri, USA  20 
Immanuel Fellowship Church  Wooster  Ohio, USA  26 
Interlake Christian Fellowship  Arborg  Manitoba, Canada  53 
Light and Hope Fellowship  Heavener  Oklahoma, USA  30 
Little Flock of Christ  Randolph Center  Vermont, USA   
Living Hope Christian Fellowship  Mohnton  Pennsylvania, USA  140 
Millbank Christian Fellowship  Millbank  South Dakota, USA  52 
Pikeville Christian Fellowship  Pikeville  Tennessee, USA   
Pilgrim Christian Fellowship  Monterey  Tennessee, USA   
Prairie View Christian Fellowship  Bow Island  Alberta, Canada  25 
Remnant Christian Fellowship  Mt. Vernon  Ohio, USA  60 
The Church at Cleardale  Cleardale  Alberta, Canada  34 
The Church at Kane  Lowe Farm  Manitoba, Canada  90 
The Church at Niagara  Niagara-on-the-Lake  Ontario, Canada  12 
The Church at Stonewall  Lockport  Manitoba, Canada  75 
The Church at Vienna  Vienna  Ontario, Canada  40 
The Pilgrim Church  Comber  Ontario, Canada  28 
Valley Christian Fellowship  Halsey  Oregon, USA  18 
Zion Christian Fellowship  Wellman  Iowa, USA  60 

See also Restitutionism


Charity Christian Fellowship. "About us." Web. 21 March 2012.

"Dennis "Denny" Gene Kenaston." LancasterOnline. 6 July 2012. Web. 18 August 2018.

Scott, Stephen. An introduction to Old Order and Conservative Mennonite groups. Intercourse, Pa.: Good Books, 1996: 197.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published August 2018

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Steiner, Samuel J. "Charity Ministries." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2018. Web. 2 Aug 2021.

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Steiner, Samuel J. (August 2018). Charity Ministries. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 August 2021, from

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