The St. Paul Chapel Baptist Church rang in the New Year with a festive celebration that set the tone to all the blessings that 2012 will bring for the congregation.
The Rev. Jermaine T. Heath Sr. has been the charismatic senior pastor of St. Paul for the past seven years and his enthusiasm for leading his church is still in full bloom. He brimmed with excitement over where God will lead the church in the coming months.
“Our theme for the year is basically great expectations, the journey begins,” he said. “We’re not only expecting something great from God but God is expecting great things from our lives. “
That declaration is also extended to their community as St. Paul is a church that ministers through the word, worship and the liberating and healing power of the gospel.
“We try to help the members understand that number one, the church is you. You are the individual. We are a group of people that make up St. Paul Baptist Church and not the building,” Heath said.
“So when people understand that, that the church is an organism, that it’s a live group of people that go out to spread the message of the gospel, it helps to change the mindset of the people not just looking at a building so much but understanding that’s who they are. We are the church.”
Heath cited his preaching style as a way that he has been able to convey that understanding.
“I believe in my preaching style that not only should your soul be stirred up but your mind should be transformed,” he said.
“I’m trying to educate and give people an understanding of why they should get excited abut what they hear, why they should be excited about Christ,” Heath added. “So, it is illustrative but very centered in the word.”
Others lauded his leadership.
“The sermons that he gives are sermons that speak on not only the word of God and how we should live but also he speaks and tries to reach the heart of people with the Bible and with the message of bringing it into reality.” said the Rev. John A. Crost Sr. “And also, standing on the word. So, others not only accept Christ but they become disciples.”
Crost is the associate pastor at St. Paul and Heath’s uncle. He marveled at his nephew’s growth as a pastor.
“He started it with me at the Church of Redeemer as a deacon and the Lord called him to the industry and he began to grow in the ministry as an associate minister,” he said. “I’ve seen him grow spiritually and biblically in the word. His messages are very uplifting and edifying.”
Crost invited the community to partake in the worship experience.
“The church is a church that welcomes people with open arms,” he said. “You will be enriched and the Bible will be made alive in your heart when you hear the sermons there.”
Estelle Smith, a deaconess, has been a member of St. Paul since 1981. She explained what kept her coming back year after year. She said it was a warm church and everyone knew the other.
“I live in Delaware now, but I come 45 minutes to church for the fact that the church itself meets all my needs, spiritually, socially,” she said. “We don’t have too many in my age group that are still around but I enjoy the youth and they enjoy me and I just like to be a part of stuff, the ongoing things that I take part of.”
Smith also had words of praise for Heath. She was incredibly touched when he visited her in the hospital following her heart attack.
“He’s young, but he also meets the needs of the youth as well as the elderly and I find him to be a dynamic speaker,” Smith said. “He can speak on many subjects and you won’t fall asleep. He’s a preacher that will not let you fall asleep. Some ministers are just there to speak to you.”
Heath said his personal growth has enabled him to gain the trust, admiration and confidence of his fellowship.
“During the seven years, we have gone through a transformation with our church,” he said. “The church, when I first got there, was a much older congregation with about maybe 25 people. Now, we are a well diverse group of people with young adults, children, youth and seniors and we approximately around 170 members. So, it’s been a great change at St. Paul.
“For me as a pastor, I have not only grown not only in the word but also just understanding people and reaching out to people and understanding people,” Heath said.
St. Paul Chapel Baptist Church
1217 S. 21st Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19146
Service: 11 a.m.
Church: (215) 467-4158
Rev. Jermaine T. Heath Sr.
John V. Anderson was the type of person that was very softspoken. He was involved in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), because he believed in justice and human rights. He often said, “Is it me, or is it a conspiracy?”
Anderson enjoyed reading books on Black history and literature. He loved all sports but he was really passionate about baseball. In his spare time, he also enjoyed watching the “Jeopardy” game show. His family was his pride and joy. He would do anything for his children and grandchildren.
Anderson died December 22. He was 69.
Anderson was born September 12, 1942 in Lynchburg, South Carolina, to Freddie Douglas Anderson and Addie Mae Brailey. He came to join his sister, Geneva, in Philadelphia as a teenager and completed his schooling in the Philadelphia Public School District. As a young man, he worked for many years as a truck driver for Eastern Music Systems. He was last employed with United Parcel Service.
Anderson married Andrea L. Dunston in 1963.
Anderson leaves to mourn: daughters, Andrea Jamilah Kennedy, Cheryl Asmahan Luke, Zenzi Anderson Lilley, Angela V. Anderson and Joy Williams; three sons-in-law, Munir Kennedy, Kenny Luke and Eric Lilley; sister, Geneva Lawson; 15 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren; two aunts, Herlene Tilghman and Fannie Bailey-Theodore; mother-in-law, Clarissa Dunston; sister-in-law, Jacqueline Anderson; and two brothers-in-law, Charles D. Dunston and William B. Dunston. He also leaves a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
He was preceded in death by brother-in-law, William.
Services were held December 30. Slater Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Willie Darryl Mitchell was described as loving life and living it to the fullest.
He never lost touch with his family. He would call his sisters just to say, “I love you.” He would take the time to visit many members of his extended family. Even in his battle with cancer he would call others to encourage them with their illness. He died December 21 at the age of 49.
Mitchell was born on June 28, 1962 in Philadelphia. He was the first-born son of Willie C. and Maxine Mitchell. He received his education in both the Catholic School System and the Public School District.
As a small child, when the family traveled, Mitchell could travel from Philadelphia to South Carolina standing in the front seat of the car. He continued to travel with the family this way until his head touched the top of the car.
Mitchell’s family also said that he was also very good at keeping track of his pennies. He would line them up in a single file and if one penny was moved, no matter how well you would try to fool him, he knew that one of his many pennies was missing.
Mitchell was baptized and became a member of Highway Temple of Deliverance.
When Mitchell was called upon to travel to South Carolina to take care of his grandmother, he did so willingly. He helped his grandfather take care of her. Mitchell was by her side until her death.
Mitchell returned to Philadelphia and continued to be a helper to the family. He helped his father in the family convenience store. Mitchell also helped take care of his mother who preceded him in death. He would mow the lawns of the many neighbors on Catharine Street. His house painting skills were excellent, and he was also exceptionally good at mathematical problems.
Mitchell leaves to mourn: father, Willie C. Mitchell; daughter, Tyesha; sisters, Zokie, Sharron, Wilhelmina and Margaret Gibson; brothers-in-law, Clarence Miller (Sharron), and Johnny Graham (Wilhelmina); second mother, Elizabeth Lampley; special friends, Arethia Medley, Micah Davis and Marnell Murphy, and Teresa Adams; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.
Services were held December 30. Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
George G. Williams was a decorated veteran. He received a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, a Korean Service Medal and a Navy Occupation Service Medal.
Williams was known as Mank and Papa George to his family. As an avid reader, he was very passionate about baseball, especially his cherished New York Yankees. He died December 29. He was 78.
Williams was born on January 29, 1933 in Culpeper, Virginia, to Mary Russell Jameson Williams and Gabriel Williams. He was one of four children and the only son born to his parents. He graduated from George Washington Carver High School and at 18, he enlisted into the United States Navy. Shortly after, he married Nancy Vives, the love of his life, in the Bronx, New York. They had one daughter, Dyana Russell Williams.
Williams made two trips around the world on the destroyer USS James C. Owens during the Korean War and served the country from 1952 through 1955.
Following his honorable discharge from the military, Williams was employed at National Steel for a decade and in 1964, he moved to Bayamon, Puerto Rico, where he lived with his family for a year; he then relocated to Manhattan.
Upon his return to New York City, he worked in security for Burns International Detective Agency for 25 years. Upon retiring, he moved to Penn Valley, Pa. to live with his daughter and three grandchildren, Caliph, Isa Salahdeen Gamble and Princess Idia Gamble.
Williams is survived by: wife, Nancy Williams Neuman; daughter, Dyana; grandsons, Caliph Gamble and Isa Salahdeen Gamble; granddaughter, Princess Idia Gamble; three sisters, Dorothy Yager (John), Barbara Jean Ward (Donald) and Minnie Garcia (Robert); nephews, Robert Garcia, Donald Ward Jr. and John Yager; nieces, Pamela Yager, Shelley Windos, Lisa Amoroso, Roxie Biro, Bonnie Chu, Lynn Hearon, Lori Kapcsandi, Tina Wadnik, Cindy Garcia Vasta and Christy Fabian; uncle, John Hoover Jameson; Deana “Kitty” Woodall; friend, Lawrence Johnson and Kenny Gamble.
Services were held January 4 at Flemuel Brown Jr. Funeral Home.
Mary Frances Dicks was a devoted wife and mother known affectionately as “Byrd” and “Mom Dicks” by all of the neighborhood children. She had a special place in her heart for children and would eagerly work to help nurture their spirit and talent. She made sure her home was always open for children in need by offering them a warm, safe place of refuge.
Family and friends knew her as a warm, gentle and cheerful person. Dicks died on December 27. She was 83.
Dicks was born on October 18, 1928, in St. Augustine, Florida, and was adopted by Florrie Mays and James May who later relocated to Williston, South Carolina. She received her early education in the Williston Public School System and graduated from Scofield High School.
Dicks was baptized in 1936, at Frost Branch Baptist, Elko Creek, S.C. where she served faithfully until she married James Monroe Dicks on August 6, 1946, in Williston. They were married for 66 years. After moving to Philadelphia, they had three children: Marilyn J. Dicks-Riley, Carolyn Marie Dicks-Kee and Melinda Dicks.
Dicks was employed at Cuneo Eastern Press for over 15 years. After Cuneo permanently closed its doors, she decided to pursue her undergraduate degree in early childhood education and child psychology at Temple University in 1976.
Unfortunately, illness immediately overtook her in 1976 and prevented her from working full-time as an educator. She did, however, enjoy many years of part-time employment, initially with the Philadelphia Board of Education as a teaching assistant, and then with the U.S. Mint.
Dicks and her family joined the Tenth Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia where she was a devoted member until 1966.
In 1966, she joined the Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church and served faithfully until 2006 when her failing health forced her to become homebound. During her active years of service at Greater Ebenezer, she was a member of several auxiliaries, including the Floral Club, the Missionary Board and the Deaconess Board.
In spite of her long illness, she remained a faithful servant of God. She often remarked “when I look around, my good days outweighed my bad days.”
Dicks leaves to mourn: husband, James; three daughters, Marilyn, Carolyn and Melinda; stepson, Nathaniel Dicks; daughter-in-law, Annie Dicks; two sons-in-law, Herbert Roy Riley and Robert Leon Kee Sr.; adopted brother, Bonnie Perry; eight grandchildren, Tanya Marissa Ward, Marcus Douglass Russell, Marcus Nathaniel Dicks, Demetrius Dicks, Stacey Hunter, Melissa Neurell, Dawn Johnson and Robert L. Kee Jr.; five brothers-in-law, Horace Dicks, Laurie Preston Dicks, Roger Dicks, Gerald Leggins and Ernest Augustus Sr; five sisters-in-law, Vermelle Thomas, Margie Ruth Leggins, Dorothy Dicks, Audrey Dicks and Sadie Dicks; cousins, Gretchen Martinez, Warren Holmes Jr. and Mamie Newton; as well as a host of great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Services will be held January 7 at Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church, 3200 North Broad St. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 10. Choice Funeral Home handled the arrangements.