Cornerstone Church was founded in 1936 by Dr. Howard W. Ferrin in Providence, Rhode Island. At the time, he served as president of the Providence Bible Institute, an academy for training young Christians in the Bible and Christian service. His purpose in establishing the church was primarily to preach the gospel, but also to provide a place for Bible Institute students to attend where the gospel was preached in its fullness, and the Bible believed from cover to cover.
The church initially met on Stewart Street in Providence, leasing a building from the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Dr. Carlton Booth served as Music Director, and led a choir largely made up of students from the Bible Institute. A vibrant radio ministry featured prominently in these early years, with Dr. Ferrin and the staff of the Bible Institute broadcasting daily on WEAN.
In the summer of 1939, property was purchased on Reservoir Ave consisting of land and two houses, with the hope of eventually being able to construct a new church building there. Tent meetings would be held at this property for the next three summers, and the houses would be used for all weekly meetings once the Stewart Street lease expired in October 1939.
In the fall of 1941, the church began renting the auditorium at the Plantations Club in downtown Providence to hold weekly services, while still gathering at Reservoir Ave for Bible School and other weekly meetings. During this time, a Junior Church ministry was started, along with an early form of bus ministry.
In the fall of 1943, Dr. Ferrin resigned his position in order to focus on his responsibilities as president of the Institute, and the Rev. Paul Jackson took his place. Shortly after, the church resumed meeting at the Stewart Street location, again renting the property from the Christian and Missionary Alliance. After a few years, Pastor Jackson felt called to pursue evangelistic work, and so resigned his position. Joseph Bodie was named the third pastor of Cornerstone in late 1949.
Soon after, the church purchased the Stewart Street property, where they would be headquartered for the next 14 years. Burton Leich was then called to be pastor in the spring of 1955.
In January 1962, the city of Providence launched one of its largest urban renewal projects to date in order to develop the Central and Classical High School complex, impacting 395 buildings over 67 acres of land. Included in that space was the Stewart Street property where Cornerstone gathered. So in late 1962, the church purchased land on Elmwood Ave in Warwick where a new building would be constructed.
Cornerstone relocated to the Elmwood Ave property in December 1963, and would remain there for the next 57 years.
Pastor Leich left in the summer of 1964 to serve at Quidnessett Baptist Church in North Kingstown, and was replaced early the next year by the Rev. Frederick Spreeuwers. Pastor Spreeuwers resigned in 1968, and was replaced by Rodney Keim who would serve as pastor until 1985.
Pastor Bill Krawczyk came to Cornerstone in 1986, and oversaw a period of significant growth. The church began broadcasting twice weekly on WARV, and started featuring weekly Bible studies on public access television. The Elmwood Ave property was expanded with the completion of an education wing in early 2002.
Pastor Krawczyk left in the fall of 2002 to serve at the Church of the Open Bible in Burlington, Massachusetts, and was replaced by Pastor Rob Clark who has faithfully served as senior pastor since then.
Cornerstone moved to our current home on Cowesett Road in December of 2020, where we look forward to seeing God continue to change lives through the gospel of Jesus Christ.