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.
February 6, 2015 |
SEVEN MONTHS after congregants of Zion Baptist Church voted to fire the Rev. Carl A. Prince, a faction that had supported him filed a lawsuit yesterday against the church's board of trustees, its chairman and its deacon board. The lawsuit demands that an $18 million bond deal to renovate Zion Gardens apartments be stopped and that a forensic audit be completed of all finances of the North Philadelphia church. The suit also asks that Prince be reinstated and that Zion trustee chairman Ronald Harper be prevented from handling or disposing of any church assets or books.
January 26, 2015 |
IF THERE'S one congregation in the city that's embraced evolution, it's Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church. St. Matthew's dedicated worshippers have followed it across three locations in the past 15 years, adapting to new surroundings after each move. Naturally, said the pastor, Rev. Steven Avinger, those transitions required some work. Who we are: Avinger's flock numbers just over 400, he said, mostly adults in the 35- to 40-year-old range, who bring their young families with them from across the city to Sunday services.
December 31, 2014 |
IVAN BERNARD HEWITT knew something about the Gospel. After all, he had been preaching it since the age of 14. He also knew something about generosity and compassion, because he had been practicing those traits all his life. As the pastor of Thankful Baptist Church in North Philadelphia for 25 years, the Rev. Ivan Hewitt was always there for his parishioners, no matter their needs. He had a listening ear for people's problems, always ready with advice and hope, and he was there on a more practical level, when he would not only dip into the church's coffers if need be, but his own pocket as well.
August 1, 2014 |
WHEN ALEX JAMES cooked the fish he caught, friends and family gathered around. They were there not only to partake of the delicacies he wrought, but to try to spy out his secret recipes for readying the prizes for the grill, the frying pan or the oven. "You had to watch him," said his daughter, Jill James Idan. "He didn't write anything down. " It was not that Alex wouldn't have shared his recipes. He was a famously generous man. But he was one of those cooks who cooked by instinct.
July 29, 2014 |
LELIA Savannah Smith Holman had a fond memory of the apple tree that grew and flowered on the lot in Germantown where her church was to be built. The tree may be a cherished memory, but when Providence Baptist Church was built on that lot on Haines Street near Germantown Avenue in 1942, Savannah Holman was a founding member. In fact, her name and those of her mother and sisters were placed in the cornerstone when the church was dedicated in 1942. At her death July 19 at age 98, Savannah was the oldest founding member.