Hi, I’m Butch Norton and I get to serve as the pastor of Cornerstone Community Church. I really struggle with exact dates but I can remember that I have been here since the spring of 98 (I believe). I was born in Camden and spent my very early years there. Most of my growing up years were spent in Pennsauken. I graduated from Pennsauken High in 1969.
I spent many summers working at Camp Sankanac which is near Pottstown, PA. I received a B.S. in Bible in 1976 from Philadelphia College of Bible (now Cairn University). I think I got the degree because it was the easiest way to get rid of me. I started speaking and doing youth ministry while still in college. Then I served about 13 1/2 years at Manahawkin Baptist Church, followed by 7 1/2 years at Ocean City Baptist and 18 months at Hilltown Baptist. At that point I returned to Ocean City (Thank you God). I came to Cornerstone as the youth pastor and after a couple of years was drafted to be the pastor.
I married Dona Jennings in 1977 and she has put up with me ever since. This is her on vacation dreaming about when we’ll get back home and I’ll go back to work.
I love it here in Ocean City and at Cornerstone.
Hi, My name is Mary, I’m the CS office manager and this is my story.
My husband is Joe (Yes we are Mary and Joseph and no I am not joking). We have two beautiful girls together, Nikita – 30 and Sierra -23 and a grandson Kalani. We are all life long residents to Ocean City and love it here. Although we’ve ventured out to try other places, including Canada, we’ve always found ourselves making our way back to OC. The ocean and everything that comes with it is in our blood and we can’t see ourselves any place there isn’t a massive body of water. Our girls and I came to Cornerstone in 1997. Sierra being only 11 months old didn’t have much of a say in where we would go however, after long prayer and church hopping to find the right church for us, Nikita and I settled on Cornerstone. We stumbled across a sign advertising for Sunday morning services inside the department store I once shopped and worked in. Curiosity got the best of us, I suppose. We attended that first weekend in December and I wasn’t turned off completely by CS but not convinced either, Nikita, on the other hand, was sure this was our new church. I decided to give it a second chance to see what she saw and I was missing, I was convinced and we’ve been here ever since. In the fall of 2008 as we were sending Nikita off to school in Florida, for her first year at PBAU, God did his work on Joe and he joined us on Sunday mornings stating, “Someone has to fill Niki’s shoes”, what ever works, and he’s been coming ever since. Now, as “empty nesters” Joe and I continue to attend with the seats around us, and our hearts a little emptier on most mornings.
Cornerstone quickly became an extension of our family. Before we knew it we were being invited to assist in the gatherings and take part in CS outings. We got to know people and learned we were being cared for long before we felt it. A couple years in I was asked to help teach and volunteered to help with youth center. I greatly enjoyed working with the pre-teens and teens. Not a scary thing to me at all, rather lots of fun, they keep you on your toes. Plus, you can torment them and they keep coming back (and they like you). One of the main reasons we remained at CS is the emphasis put on the importance of our youth. Children are meant to be seen and heard.
Cornerstone Community Church is just that, a Community Church. Over the years we’ve offered so many things to our community and I am so pleased to have been able to take part in them. Many things have changed since we first established residency on the 2nd floor of the Stainton’s building. One of the major changes has to be our thrift store. We opened the 2nd Chance Thrift store in August 2009 and what started out as a possible way to earn extra money for our community quickly took over the the 2nd floor. In 2013, with the work beginning on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Stainton’s building, we were asked to vacate for safety reasons and in March 2014 God partnered us with Macedonia United Methodist Church. Here we borrow a little space and time on Sunday mornings and have established a special relationship with the Macedonia family. In April of the same year, we opened our doors to the “2nd Chance Boutique” at 733 Asbury Ave, we called this home for 3 years before moving once again. Now at 801 Asbury Ave our customers still can’t believe we are a thrift store and are in awe at the beauty of the “Old Bank” space we’ve taken residence in. With our move we’ve watched as so many regular customers followed us down the street as we continue to develop and strengthen relationships with them. With our coffee nook back in play, we have friends who come in for just a little conversation, a cup of Joe, some just to see what’s new. With the stock changing daily they never know what to expect. I love our outreach to the public and the store has allotted me the opportunity to meet so many from our neighborhood and surrounding areas as well as people from ALL walks of life.