Tenth Memorial Baptist Church is the spiritual hub for hundreds of Philadelphia’s faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. With multiple ministries, a socially civil rights-conscious senior pastor and active community outreach, Tenth Memorial abounds with integrity within the Christian community.
For 38 years, the Rev. William B. Moore has been the senior pastor of Tenth Memorial. During his tenure, he has preached the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ, he has led rallies in support of economic uplift for the disenfranchised, and he has been a spiritual father for many other pastors, locally and nationally. This North Carolina native is dearly beloved by his family, friends, congregation, politician, and business leaders. Moore is even beloved by the Joe Sixpacks he greets on the corners when he participates in the weekly prayer walks that his male ministry leaders conduct in North Philadelphia neighborhoods.
Commenting about his longevity in ministry, Moore said, “God strategically called me into ministry, and then secondly, God strategically places men where he wants them to be. And I also believe that when he gives us an assignment, he gives us a season This is my season.”
And what a season it has been. Moore is a visionary and a man who earnestly desires to see his community uplifted. In 1984, he had the vision to form the Tenth Memorial Nonprofit Development Corp. One of its most notable achievements was the development of a 60-unit low-income apartment complex (William B. Moore Manor) for seniors and families in North Philadelphia. According to 2011 tax records, the complex generated $909,760 in revenue in 2010, which translated into jobs and economic opportunities for minorities and small businesses in the North Philadelphia corridor where Tenth Memorial is located.
Moore commented on some of the challenges he believes are confronting the church body universal, “I don’t think they are too much different from what they’ve always been, I think that they are a lot more complex now. I do think that, just in terms of the sheer numbers of people, that there is less of a commitment to the church. People are more isolated and more into seeking, I think, new forms of expression of their faith … I think the biggest challenge is, we struggle for the time and the attention and the resources of the people to keep the ministry vibrant and alive.”
Moore, a former principal and public school teacher, is a graduate of Fayetteville State University, a constituent college of the University of North Carolina. From there, he started his theological education at Shaw Divinity School and interrupted those studies to come to Philadelphia to pastor Tenth Memorial. He completed his theological studies locally at the Lutheran Seminary, earning his master’s of divinity degree.
Moore credits North Carolinians the Revs. Peter Dickerson and. O. A. Hester, two dear departed men of God, for his pastoral development. The latter licensed and ordained Moore. “I’ve been preaching for 51 years now,” he said. “And of course, I have a tremendous amount of respect for (local pastor) the Rev. William J. Shaw; he’s been a model for me for integrity and commitment to scholarship.”
Pauline Moore is the first lady of Tenth Memorial and she oversees the Women’s Ministry. The Rev. Tamieka Moore is the daughter of the pastor and his wife. She is an in-demand preacher who travels frequently for preaching and speaking engagements locally, nationally and internationally. Tamieka is the Youth ministry leader and the national youth director of missions for the National Baptist Convention. The Moores also have a son.
“I’m over the Young Adult Ministry, basically 18 to about 35,” peer group, said Jerome Scott. Scott, 24, also leads the Young Singles ministry. He is a very articulate and spiritually rooted young leader of Tenth Memorial who has been actively engaged at the church for 16 years. He and his father share the same name, “My father is a minister (at Tenth Memorial). He pastored for eight years at Resurrection Baptist Church in Philadelphia.”
Scott said one of the biggest challenges facing young singles is “the battle within ourselves.” Some young people believe that to be faithfully committed to Christ, you have to be old, Scott begs to differ, “I think the goal (for young adults) is to show people that you don’t have to be old to get involved. You don’t have to be old to be a part of the Kingdom. A lot of people have the misconception that when you get older, that it’s time to start working (in the ministry). What motivates me is the goal to change that. A lot of times young adults don’t see the importance of being involved early. We need to look to the older people to guide us, but we have the energy, so we need to get involved now.”
Jeanette Scott, 58, the mother of Jerome, has been a member of Tenth Memorial since the age of 13: “I sing with the mass choir … I am also a part, with my husband, of the Couples ministry.” She is also active with the Scholarship ministry and the Balm in Gilead ministry, the latter a support group and outreach service for abused women. “I’ve always enjoyed coming to Tenth Memorial, it’s really a part of my life; I don’t separate it from my lifestyle.”
Jeanette admires Moore’s community outreach. “Right now, he’s doing an outreach to individuals coming back to church. He now has men going out on Saturdays and they’re talking to individuals in the communities” about Jesus, prayer and salvation.
“I am a trustee — I’ve been a trustee for about 30 years,” said Charles W. Horton. Horton, 67, served as chairman of the trustees for approximately 25 years until recently, allowing new leadership to succeed him, “This is my first year not being chairman,” he said.
“A lot of Christians don’t understand the operations of the church, they don’t realize that it’s a humungous-size household. You’re managing a large household. The job of a trustee is to maintain the properties of the church and the finances,” Horton said. He is a military veteran. He attended Community College of Philadelphia.
Commenting on Moore’s leadership and ministry, Horton said, “Oh, he’s a great leader, a great pastor. Some of the great speakers here that I come in contact with, once I get comfortable with them, I say, ‘You’re the second-best preacher I ever met. And the next question is, ‘Who is first?’ Horton agrees with many others that Moore is a greatly esteemed man of God.
Marjorie Jet-El, 63, has been a member of Tenth Memorial, “I guess, at least 33 years.” She is the new chair of the trustee board. The ministry of Tenth Memorial has transformed and influenced her profound ways. “It has helped me to define what role I would play at the church, in how I can bring my gifts to the body of Christ.”
Jet-El said the Tenth Memorial Nonprofit Community Development Corp. also worked with the city in building some houses across the street from the church, and helped people get ownership to become homeowners.” Jet-El is a board member of the William B. Moore Manor and serves on the board for Tenth Memorial Nonprofit CDC.
Willis Ross is in his second year as chairman of the Deacons Board. What does Ross like most about Tenth Memorial, “It’s the quality of ministries. God has enabled us to reach out to all ages. I believe that the spirit of God places churches in certain strategic areas of the city to do ministry.”
Ross, a member of Tenth Memorial since 1978, said, “Pastor Moore has this love for all people. A lot of people who have been disenfranchised by society and have had some serious issues. Pastor has reached out to them, and those people feel free to come to our congregation because they know they are welcomed.”