Deliverance Evangelistic Church recently celebrated its 50th year in ministry with a celebrating worthy of the occasion.
A series of events had already taken place before the culmination at the Marriott Convention Center. It was a well attended affair of a church with a congregation in the thousands.
Rev. Glen Spaulding spoke of being the senior pastor of the covenant since 2002 in a previous interview with The Philadelphia Tribune. He credited his successor and Deliverance’s founder, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Smith.
“[Smith] taught us to be grounded in the word of God and not just to know it from a head knowledge, but to apply the word of God on a daily basis and to make it applicable. So, that has been the first bedrock in this endeavor and the other has been prayer,” Spaulding said.
“I’m a firm believer in prayer and as pastors and leaders — I think we have to be. We have to want to seek the Lord’s face. We have to want to bring faith and unity in the body of Christ, and all of those things can’t be brought forth without the word of God and without prayer.”
Deliverance Evangelistic Church was organized in 1961 with 10 members who came together in a prayer meeting under the leadership of the late Rev. Benjamin Salters and Essie Salters. That simple gathering grew into a large body of Christ whose mission is to evangelize. Spaulding said that he and the church have remained true to their goal despite how large they have grown.
“I like to think of us as a big, warm country church. That has been my goal; to get away from the mega thinking into making people feel comfortable,” he said.
“One of my greatest compliments came from a visitor once when she came and she said, ‘You know I had my preconceptions about this church but after coming and sitting in the service, you’re a big church but it doesn’t feel like it. I come in and I’ve been able to feel at home just as if I were in a small church.’ And that has been my goal, and I think that comes with the love of God.”
During the 50 years of Deliverance’s ministry, the church has remained steadfast in providing for the least of those in the community. Its various programs involve the homeless, youth and seniors, health, education, prison ministries, foreign and domestic missions and food cupboards. There is also an ongoing community outreach to various target populations and employment through Hope Plaza at 22nd Street and Lehigh Avenue.
The anniversary celebration was a unifying occasion and one for celebration, but neither Spaulding nor the church were going to rest on their laurels.
“At times, I guess it seems as if it could be overwhelming but then if anyone ever goes into this thinking you can do it yourself, you’re in for a rude awakening. So, we just depend on the Lord to give us strength and guidance in all of it because first of all, ministering to people in all walks of life is quite a task that no one can do individually or collectively,” he said.
“You really have to depend on the strength of the Lord to give us his guidance in how to exhibit the love of god to people so that Jesus will be an attraction for them to come and worship him, and we have sought to do that over the six years,” Spaulding said.
Deliverance Evangelistic Church
2001 West Lehigh Avenue
Philadelphia, Pa. 19132
Rev. Glen Spaulding
10:45 a.m. service