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. http://charitychristianfellowship.org/ccf/about-us
"Dennis "Denny" Gene Kenaston." LancasterOnline. 6 July 2012. Web. 18 August 2018. https://lancasteronline.com/obituaries/dennis-denny-gene-kenaston/article_1533fa90-1e36-5cb0-98ee-ae9b5649b992.html.
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|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Samuel J. "Charity Ministries." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2018. Web. 9 May 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Charity_Ministries&oldid=164996.
Steiner, Samuel J. (August 2018). Charity Ministries. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 9 May 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Charity_Ministries&oldid=164996.
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