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NEWS
April 2, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
ODELL REED was all about helping people, a passion that went in several directions in her long life. Working through her church, Tindley Temple United Methodist, she fed the homeless for 15 years as head of the soup kitchen. She made sure the needy people who came to the church were taken care of. Every Christmas, some 150 to 175 needy people each got a gift, as well as a hot meal. On Thanksgiving, there was roast turkey with all the trimmings. Throughout the year, the church fed hundreds of homeless and underprivileged people every week.
NEWS
March 30, 2015 | By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
It was the eve of Holy Week for the spring-cleaning crew at St. Helena's in Olney, a group of parishioners on a mission to deliver a near-spotless church for the most important week on the Christian calendar. So while the Vietnamese women's group prayed downstairs, a funeral of a onetime Anglo member concluded in the lower church, and the Spanish-language choir prepared for rehearsal, Joseph Mensah stopped polishing the floors long enough to talk about how the church helped him after he emigrated from Ghana.
NEWS
March 24, 2015 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
JOHN WISNIEWSKI, 60, says he has been with St. Laurentius Church in Fishtown all his life. His parents and grandparents were married there, and he was baptized there. A.J. Thompson, 38, left another church two years ago to join St. Laurentius, a church he found "welcoming," he said. Now, both men are furious with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which announced yesterday that it would proceed to demolish the 133-year-old building at Berks and Memphis streets, the oldest Polish church in the city.
NEWS
March 24, 2015 | By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer
With its vaulted, sky-blue ceiling, and a towering altar screen lined with gilded angels and saints, the interior of St. Laurentius Roman Catholic Church in Fishtown had a heavenly look. But the cracked and ice-damaged brownstone exterior of Philadelphia's original Polish parish has doomed it. On Sunday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that St. Laurentius, whose Gothic, copper-clad towers have been a landmark in this working-class neighborhood since the turn of the 20th century, would soon be demolished.
NEWS
March 18, 2015 | By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
Bertha Jackmon worked for six years to win national recognition for a padlocked Devon church where the plaster is peeling and the walls have yellowed with age. The Mount Zion A.M.E. Church historian scanned documents and squinted at microfilm between working as a project manager and raising teenagers. "Many times I thought, 'Let me just do one more click' " on the computer, said Jackmon, of Paoli. "Then it's five hours later. " Jackmon was fascinated by the story of Mount Zion, a church whose role in the fight against school segregation came 20 years before the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education . In January, the recognition that Jackmon and her team had long sought was granted when Mount Zion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
NEWS
March 10, 2015 | BY JASON NARK, Daily News Staff Writer narkj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5916
WHEN CHURCH was over yesterday afternoon in North Philly, Jomo Brown walked over to a Lehigh Avenue shopping center and entered a Rite Aid, not really knowing what he was looking for or how it would help heal his pain. Brown, 45, looked over the shelves in Aisle 3, at the plastic Easter eggs and stuffed bunnies. He grabbed a red teddy bear, likely a leftover from Valentine's Day. He bought the $9 bear, which held a heart that said "I Love You," and the cashier put it in a black plastic bag. Brown took the bear outside, bent down and placed it amid a makeshift memorial of candles and flowers outside the GameStop store where Philadelphia Police Officer Robert F. Wilson III was fatally shot during a robbery Thursday afternoon.
NEWS
March 10, 2015 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
It's called a "famine church," built by Irish who fled starvation in their homeland to make new lives in Philadelphia. The history of St. Malachy Parish is carved into its walls and ceilings, evident in the shamrocks on the altar and the tilework based on the Book of Kells. Now, more than 160 years after its founding, its heart beats strong but its bones need work. On Sunday, parishioners gathered for the third annual Hibernian Mass and Concert - and the start of a campaign aimed at raising $200,000 for critical maintenance during the next five years.
NEWS
March 10, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
FATHER FRANK did all he could. But trying to keep the historic St. Laurentius Roman Catholic Church in Fishtown from closing was a lost cause. It was the familiar story of a changing neighborhood, declining enrollment, financial problems and all the rest. In the case of St. Laurentius, the Philadelphia Archdiocese claimed the ancient building's infrastructure was crumbling. The empty church with the massive gray stone, the soaring Gothic spires and arched stained-glass windows now sits empty and forlorn at Memphis and Berks streets.
NEWS
March 10, 2015 | By Sarai Flores, Inquirer Staff Writer
Parishioners of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church mourned slain Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III on Sunday, embraced his grieving fellow officers, and collected money to help support his two young sons. Wilson, 30, was killed Thursday in a GameStop holdup just two blocks down the street from the gray stone church that serves the Swampoodle neighborhood of North Philadelphia. The death of the officer - who was buying a video game for his 9-year-old son, Quahmier, as a reward for good grades - rocked the region.
NEWS
March 9, 2015 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
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.
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