On a snowy Sunday in February 1996, many local churches were closed. Twelve believers braved the storm to meet at the office of Ralph Osborne in the Dogwood Professional Center. In attendance were Ralph and Connie Coleman, Dean DeFino, Pat Farrell, Wes and Connie Fegely, Ralph and Beth Osborne, Paul and Anita Stephens, and Doug & Alice Wigfield. At that time, they had no intention of starting a new church. While they were together for prayer and encouragement, God spoke to their hearts to step out in faith and do a new work for His honor and glory. By the end of February, Dean DeFino was the pastor, and a new church was born.
Attendance initially ranged from the teens to 30's, but by April, membership had swelled to over 40, and the meeting place became too small. In May, the congregation secured the Wicomico Board of Education. Average attendance was 45 people and growing. In October, Crossroads called Philip Morris, Jr., an associate pastor at the Westmore Church of God in Cleveland, TN, to be their pastor. With the visit of Overseer Harold Downing the following month, Crossroads officially affiliated with the Church of God with 45 members.
In order to minister to the mindset of an emerging post-Christian America, God chose two men, DeFino and Morris, who were sons of missionaries in the post-Christian European countries of Italy and Germany. These pastors correctly understood that ministries in a post-Christian society had to emphasize the New Testament Church concepts of community over ceremony and relationships rather than ritual. These founding ideas remain today in the first words of the church's mission statement: "We are a community of believers," and the last words of the church's motto: "A place where nobody stands alone." The church's first vision statement begins with the same affirmation: "Focus on building strong personal relationships."
In time, space again became a concern. After considering four of five properties, the pastor and congregation unanimously felt God's confirmation, and agreed to purchase the current Fruitland property in June 1999. For the next several months, committed and faithful servants worked days, evenings and weekends to remodel what is now a beautiful and useful family worship center. In November 1999, Crossroads left the Board of Education and moved to its new facility.
In February 2002, the firsts pastoral change occurred when Pastor Morris was directed by the Holy Spirit to move to Tennessee and assume the pastorate of the Parkway Church of God in Sevierville. Following several months of prayer, the Reverend Daniel Wessell was appointed as the next pastor. After less than two years, Pastor Wessell stepped down as pastor in order to pursue God's calling on his life to serve as a chaplain at a large prison in Arkansas.
Pastor Andrew Stevens was called to pastor the church in October 2003. He served faithfully as pastor for four years until October 2007, when he accepted the pastorate of the Church of God in Milford, DE. On January 20, 2008 the Reverend John M. Kalfayan became the new pastor at Crossroads. He and his wife, Debbie, bring to Crossroads more than thirty years of ministry as evangelist, youth minister, associate pastor and senior pastor in Delaware, Maryland, Michigan and Missouri.
Today, Crossroads Church of God continues to be "the church that love is building....a place where nobody stands alone". Pastor Kalfayan and Elders Kevin McKelvey, Paul Stephens, Allen Ward and Mike White conscientiously lead the congregation in fulfilling its threefold vision of strong personal relationships, relevant, and passionate ministries and ongoing outreach.
Jesus started His earthly ministry with twelve faithful servants who obeyed His call. The members at Crossroads are thankful for the twelve courageous people whom He also called to step out in faith and start this new congregation. That same spirit continues to lead the church in serving a risen Savior, in reaching out to the community and in bringing others into fellowship with Christ through His love shown in the lives of the believers at the Crossroads Church of God.
Dean DeFino (1996) Philip C. Morris, Jr. (1996-2002)
Daniel Wessell (2002-2003) Andrew Stevens (2003-2007)
John M. Kalfayan (2008 to Present)
708 Sharps Point Road // P.O. Box 119 Fruitland, MD 21826