January 11, 2016 |
Members of Zion Baptist Church voted overwhelmingly Saturday against reinstating the Rev. A. Carl Prince as pastor of the historic North Philadelphia church. The vote was 298-54, with three ballots declared invalid. Church members had complained that soon after Prince arrived at Zion, he began behaving as a "dictator" and was often rude and arrogant in speaking to members. A four-page "Letter to the Joint Board," presented by deacons to a board of officers, outlined dozens of complaints from members who said that Prince "closed off three rooms" in the church for his exclusive use, that he spent large sums renovating his office, and that he began charging $300 in cash for funerals on top of the normal fee. Ballots were cast between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday according to a detailed procedure worked out in a court-approved settlement in September between several Zion members who had sued to challenge the July 2014 vote that ousted Prince and church officials.
January 5, 2016 |
THREE DAYS BEFORE Christmas, the Rev. Adolphus C. Prince, the ousted pastor of Zion Baptist Church, filed a lawsuit against the historic church of the late Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, seeking $50,000 and reinstatement as pastor. The suit seeks temporary and permanent injunctions to stop the congregation from having a second vote, scheduled for Jan. 9, on whether Prince should return. In the Dec. 22 filing, Prince asks Common Pleas Court to overturn the July 2014 vote, saying that he "was pastor of Zion Baptist Church from January 2012 until he was illegally removed on July 12, 2014.
December 11, 2015 |
VICTORIA LEAVY never left the house without being stylishly dressed, from her signature hat down, all perfectly matched. And, oh, yes, every hair in place. In fact, when Victoria lived in the Saunders House retirement home in Wynnewood, she was without a doubt the best-dressed resident, bar none. "I used to visit her there and make sure she had all she needed to be perfectly dressed," said her daughter, the Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall Blake. "She was a real cover girl. " Victoria Elizabeth Leavy, a child-care worker, active Baptist churchwoman and a devoted family matriarch, died Monday.
October 22, 2015 |
The night before Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper left the church that had meant everything to them, relative after relative streamed into their rooms, crying. Megan Phelps-Roper was trying to pack when a beloved cousin walked in, stone-faced, and told her she was going to hell. The Kansas sisters, in their 20s, wondered if they had made the right decision, if they were even sane. But after four months of questioning the Westboro Baptist Church - the provocative religious community known for staging antigay demonstrations at military funerals and other sites - they knew the only way to go was out. The sisters, granddaughters of the church's founder, spoke Tuesday morning at the Anti-Defamation League's ninth annual Youth Leadership Conference held at the University of Pennsylvania.
August 22, 2015 |
Moments after a judge delayed the possible demolition of First African Baptist Church's 109-year-old building, two opposing groups formed around lawyers Thursday outside Courtroom 446 at City Hall. Parishioners of the state's oldest black Baptist church are split over the building at 16th and Christian Streets. Preserve its history, some say. Keep it, others insist, and the church is financially doomed. An elderly woman had one request: "Let us pray," she said. In the middle of the fourth-floor hallway, 19 people - including the lawyers - held hands in a circle.
August 20, 2015 |
The Rev. Terrence Griffith, pastor of the oldest black Baptist church in Pennsylvania, was sweating in the early-morning heat. Alone in the cavernous sanctuary of First African Baptist Church, he lamented the lack of air-conditioning. Outside, a chain-link fence protected pedestrians from a church wall that he said could collapse at any moment. The church, Griffith said, can no longer handle the burden of its 109-year-old building at 16th and Christian Streets. "I'm not going to preside over the death of a church," he said.
August 18, 2015 |
Even on a steamy summer Sunday, Vitaly Korchevsky typically would be buttoned up in suit and tie, preaching from the pulpit at the Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church in Brookhaven. But Sunday, another pastor took his place and read a letter to the congregation from the now-jailed Korchevsky. "Brothers and sisters," the stand-in pastor read softly, as babies gurgled and some worshipers' tears started to flow. Some bowed their heads in prayer. Others shot stern looks at children to hush their playing in the pews at the packed church on Edwards Avenue, a quiet residential street in this Delaware County suburb.
June 2, 2015 |
FOR MOST OF us, having a street named after us would be a pretty big deal. When the 6400 block of Emlen Street, between West Upsal and West Johnson Streets in West Mount Airy was named the "Dr. G. Daniel Jones Way," the honoree's response was, "Oh, how nice. " Dr. Jones, pastor emeritus of Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, wasn't about to do cartwheels because, as he said, he didn't go into the ministry for self-promotion, but to serve God. "I don't see myself as having done that much," he said at the ceremony designating the name change in March 2014, "for I serve for the glory of God, not for self-aggrandizement, prizes or rewards.
March 9, 2015 |
THE REV. Vaughn Wilson left his Chester church in 1988 because "the people did not want to follow the word of God" and came to Southwest Philadelphia with his family, one prospective member of his future congregation and no church. He found a vacant building on Woodland Avenue near 71st Street that had last existed as a candy factory in the '70s. "We rented one room," Wilson said. "We painted, hung curtains and found chairs. It was winter. There was no heat. "So every Saturday, I rented an old construction heater at Front and Hunting Park, strapped it on the back of my car, carried it to Woodland Avenue, filled it with kerosene and heated up the room," Wilson said.