The TLCF History
In October of 1996, four families and a couple of interested saints gathered together to discuss what everyone felt was the leading and indication of the Holy Spirit of God — the time to organize a new fellowship had come, and the time to step out in faith was upon them. The group began to pray and seek God, not wanting to move in their own strength. After all, anyone could “start” a church, and proclaim God’s blessing upon it without ever hearing from Him. This group didn’t want to make that mistake, so they moved cautiously and prayerfully.
In January of 1997, the group of saints unanimously decided that their undershepherd should be Ronson C. Hall, and Jodie E. McGarity, Sr. as his assistant. They also agreed on a name for the church – True Light Christian Fellowship. This name has a biblical base that refers to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and found in the book of John, Chapter 1, Verse 9. (and it reads…)
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (King James Version)
The saints prayed, planned, and then agreed to hold the first official worship service on Palm Sunday, March 23rd. Along the way, Pastor Hall and Brother McGarity obtained helpful instruction and bless-ed counsel from Rev. Jim O’Neil and Rev. Dick Dickson of Alamo City Christian Fellowship, Rev. Louis (Louie) & Beverly Kaupp (Cop) of Covenant Church, Rev. Charles McIntyre of Pool of Siloam Baptist Church, Rev. John Kyle and Minister Jack Jennings.
The church reached an agreement with Ella Austin Community Center to use their auditorium each Sunday, and shortly thereafter began to have Bible Study in various members’ homes on Wednesday nights. True Light Christian Fellowship’s “charter members” were: Pastor Ronson Hall, his wife Cathy and their four daughters; Associate Pastor Jodie McGarity, Sr., his wife Vanessa, and their four children; Chris & Joann Knox with their two children; RosaLinda Draker joined by her husband, Mark, and The Schoellhorn family, David & Lisa, with their two children.
The church grew in attendance under the leadership of Pastor Hall and the love, hard work and diligence of the members. When the agreement between TLCF and Ella Austin expired, Rev. Jodie met with a gentleman named Anthony Nicholas regarding a building where his family ran their barbecue restaurant and found a potential new home for True Light! The church members agreed to the location at Lubaby’s Barbecue at 335 Austin Rd. behind Ft. Sam Houston. TLCF held Sunday Worship in this location from June 23, 1997 until the restaurant closed in February of 1999.
While at Lubaby’s, the church experienced steady, strong growth and God opened another door of opportunity. After spending one Sunday at the Copernicus Recreation Center on Lord Rd, the Lord mightily blessed TLCF to reach an agreement with Pastor Jim Grant and the members of Beacon Hill Baptist Church to take up occupancy in the “Educational Wing” of their campus. After some reasonable repairs, hard work, old-fashioned “elbow grease” and a lot of love, TLCF held its first service in the facility on February 21, 1999. For the first time, the church enjoyed enough room in a facility to hold all its activities in one building. When the congregation of Beacon Hill Baptist Church changed leadership and reclaimed use of its facilities, TLCF relocated and began meeting in the basement of the main building. This was “home” for nearly seven years.
But, TLCF has always had strong roots in the East and Northeast areas of San Antonio and prayerfully trusted in God to create an opportunity to ultimately re-locate back to that area. In February of 2006, TLCF purchased a 1.5 acre tract of land on Eastover and its building process was underway. For over 3 ½ years, the TLCF congregation continued to grow despite its nomadic status and had to move to several other locations to accommodate the growth while also celebrating several key milestones in the building project to include:
Aug 1, 2007 – Moved to Hawthorne Suites on IH-35 N between Rittiman & Eisenhauer Rd.
Feb 22, 2008 – Ground breaking ceremony at the Eastover property
Jul 1, 2008 – Moved to Starcrest Village (Loop 410 & Perrin-Beitel)
Oct 2008 – Actual site work begins on new Eastover facility
Mar 1, 2009 – Moved to Lou Hamilton Center; Ladybird Johnson Park (Nacogdoches & Wurbach Parkway)
Nov 27, 2009 – Building completed
Nov 29, 2009 –1st service held in new facility
Since its genesis, True Light Christian Fellowship has had several “firsts”, reached many milestones, and overcome several obstacles along its 13 year journey. Like the children of Israel, as described in 1 Samuel 7, True Light can look back on each Ebenezer as a reminder and, as a testimony of God’s favor over this congregation and work.
True Light Christian Fellowship, under God’s anointing and the direction of the Holy Spirit, continues to thrive; seeing men, women, boys and girls come to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through clear, direct preaching and teaching, an array of outreach ministries and the sweet fellowship of the saints, TLCF holds its 13th year of existence up to the Lord to thank Him for His many blessings toward us. We humbly and earnestly resolve, as a part of the “called out assembly”, to continue to “Illuminate the soul by rightly dividing the Word!”