Church of the Open Door

Our Heritage and History Highlights

The roots of our congregation began in 1865, when we were organized as a Sunday School Class in Philadelphia, PA.

 Church of the Open Door, Fort Washington, PA - old building 

1868—The class was formally recognized as the Central North Broad Street Presbyterian Church. The church building was located on the corner of Broad and Green Streets in Philadelphia.

1930—Dr. Merril T. MacPherson, and his wife, Ruth, came to pastor Central Broad Street Presbyterian Church.

June 10, 1936—Dr. Merril T. MacPherson and some of his congregation got locked out of the prayer meeting at the Central North Broad Presbyterian Church for placing God’s Word above the opinions of man.

June 14, 1936—After deciding to reform the congregation as an independent church we needed a new name. That Sunday, the pastor preached from Revelation 3:7-13; all agreed on the name, “Church of the Open Door.” (At this point the church was meeting in the Lu Lu Temple.)

Fall of 1936—COD outreach, Light of the World Chapel, opened to juvenile delinquents by Carmel Kline on 785 S. Second Street, Philadelphia.

 Church of the Open Door, Fort Washington, PA - old building

Thanksgiving Day, 1940—First official building completed at 5455 Old York Road.

1944—A goal is set to win 500 to Christ in that year. Our slogan was, “Witness more in ’44.” COD joins the Independent Fundamental Churches of America during this year.

Dr. Jack Murray accepted as co-pastor in September of 1951. He was instrumental in starting the Military Evangelism whereby many servicemen were contacted and many found the Lord as their Saviour. Christmas Caravan was also a project of Dr. Murray; many gift baskets were made and distributed to shut-ins and institutions.

Mrs. Jack Murray became Choir Director of the church. During this time the choir gave many concerts during the Christmas and Easter seasons and one year presented a musical program in the Grand Court of the Wanamaker store during Christmas. They also traveled to New York City to the NBC studio to make three TV programs for Frontiers of the Faith. 

In 1958, Dr. MacPherson felt he should resign as Pastor and Jack Murray became pastor of the church with the title of “Founder” being given to Dr. MacPherson.

Jack and Eleanor Murray served in the church until December 1959, when the Lord called him back into the evangelistic field and he started Bible Evangelism.

In the late summer of 1960, God called unto Himself the founder of this great testimony, Dr. Merril T. MacPhearson.

March, 1961—Rev. Milton P. Achey of Mountainside, New Jersey was called as the third pastor of Church of the Open Door. Achey served until October 1965.

June 15, 1966—Under Pastor Coon’s leadership, the congregation voted to move to Fort Washington, PA and purchases 10 1/2 acres of land.

July 25, 1966—Rev. Richard S. Coons was formally called as our fourth pastor, serving until October of 1977.

November 10, 1968—Our new church building is dedicated. The memorial window, “Christ Knocking at the Door” is dedicated to Dr. & Mrs. MacPherson.

December 16, 1971—Ground is broken for “Open Door Estates.” Pastor Coons wanted to provide appropriate housing and care for elderly ministers and church members.

1973–1974—The congregation grows to almost 700 in the morning service and 400 in the evening. Numerous programs were in full bloom: evangelism, outreach, Bible clubs, radio ministry, and more.

September 1975—Open Door Christian Academy is started.

November 13, 1977—Rev. John Emmans installed as fifth COD pastor.

1986–1993—Rev Paul Hatmacher served as our sixth pastor.

1995– until 1999—Rev Dave Rogers served as our seventh pastor.

January 2001–Present—Dr. Glenn T. Jago currently serves as our eighth pastor.

Download a detailed history of Church of the Open Door 1936-2020 (19 pages)