For many years, the church has consistently ranked as the top or one of the top donors to the Foreign Missions Board of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., frequently donating upward of $50,000 annually in support of missions work in 11 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, and in the U.S. The Rev. Samuel Jordan Jr., is the senior pastor. His father, the Rev. Samuel Jordan Sr., was senior pastor for 50 years.
New Gethsemane is a family church dedicated to advancing the community through evangelism. The church was organized in 1926 under the leadership of the late Rev. Pinkney Burnam. New Gethsemane is a church that worships God through Jesus Christ according to his holy word, as written in both the Old and New Testaments. New Gethsemane’s highest concern is to promote the religious and moral advancement of the community.
“I got the right hand of fellowship, June 1985,” said David Dunn, a deacon at New Gethsemane since December 1992. Dunn has many memories of being a member, but the building of the new church edifice is one of his fondest. The construction project cost over $1 million.
“In 1988, we moved into the new church, with everything paid [by the members],” he said.
Dunn is elated about how well the young members are representing the church in the community. He said the young people go out into the neighborhood to conduct outreach and evangelism.
Dunn also had high praise for his pastor.
“I like pastor because he’s very truthful,” said Dunn, whose first pastor at New Gethsemane was Jordan Jr.’s father, the Rev. Samuel Jordan Sr. “I spent from ’85 to 2009 with the pastor [Jordan Sr.] and since then, the Rev. Jordan Jr. took over. I’m very proud and happy about [Jordan Jr.’s] preaching. [He]consistently delivers “a very thorough message, a very clear message.” Dunn is married to Carol A. Dunn; they celebrated 29 years of marriage last month. His tip for a successful marriage: “You have to negotiate with your wife. (Marriage) is not one-sided. Compromise with your wife, and listen to what she has to say. Find ways to try not to argue, and praise Jesus. The Word of God tells you to be obedient to his word, and to be obedient to your wife. You and your wife are one.” Dunn said being involved with church helps the marriage.
“When he joined in June of ‘85, I joined two weeks after him,” said Carol Dunn. She’s been a member of the Convention Club and the Senior Choir but “right now, I’m just a deaconess. I like the idea of doing fundraisers to help the church, to improve the church. Whatever I can do, in that order, I do my best.”
She said two signature fundraising ministry fellowships are New Gethsemane’s All White Service and Family Day Service.
Under Jordan Jr.’s ministry, she said, “I’m learning a whole lot more, because I go to Bible class on Wednesday night prayer service. I get a lot out of his teaching.”
She said his preaching on Sunday is relevant.
“It hits home,” she said. “A lot of things he talks about, I can relate to it in my own everyday living.”
Her marital tip is: “You have to give and take. Prayer is the key to it. You have to pray for each other, you have to pray for your marriage.”
The Dunns are retirees. She was a 27-year employee of Bell Telephone, and he was an employee of the City of Philadelphia. Carol Dunn said anyone considering membership at New Gethsemane would find the members to be very friendly.
“We teach about Christ, it helps you with your everyday living,” she said. “You get a good education about the Bible. The Bible is the key to happiness. We are a family church.”
Tameka Thompson Jordan, 33, is the pastor’s daughter.
“I’ve been a member since I was born,” she said. “I am on the board of our Youth Revival Committee; I serve on the youth choir, the Combined Choir, and the Intermediate Choir.
Right now, our focus is really getting the youth involved with our church.”
Tameka is keen on the programs and initiatives being implemented to attract and engage more youths from the community.
Randolph Chadwick is chairman of the deacon board of New Gethsemane.” He’s been a deacon since 1988, and chairman for about two years.
Remarking about the pastor’s preaching, he said: “He preaches the Gospel. And he does try to do his best toward the people. What I like about his ministry work is, he doesn’t cut corners when it’s time to do a project or job around the church. He likes to have the job done correctly.”
Katherine Outlaw, 85, a long-time member, is proud of her church affiliation. She’s been a member for more than 40 years. She too said that New Gethsemane “is a family church.
“We all love one another and we all work together. I sing on the Inspiration Chorus, and I’m also president of the Missionary Ministry.” Her leadership of the Missionary Ministry has helped position New Gethsemane as one of the top donors locally and nationally to the Foreign Missions Board of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
“I’ve been the senior pastor for three years. I served as co-pastor for 14,” Jordan Jr. said. He is a graduate of Philadelphia Biblical University [now Cairn University]. He’s been married 26 years to Barbara Jordan.
Some of Jordan Jr.’s proudest accomplishments are, “Ordaining a couple deacons. Doing the repairs that the church required, on our new edifice; we put on two brand-new roofs. We refinished one of the parking lots, and we didn’t create a bill, everything is paid for.”
He said he learned from his father to pay for such things in cash, to avoid credit purchases and bank loans.
“I guess I just inherited that same philosophy,” he said.
A true student of the Bible, Jordan Jr. frequently attends Bible conferences, and he is a staunch supporter/subscriber of the Rev. Dr. Tony Evans’ Urban Alternative ministry conferences.
“I hold many certificates from the Urban Alternative, down in Texas, with Tony Evans’ organization,” he said. “I probably have everything he ever taught. Basically, all I do is study; I go to all the conferences. My main conference is at Moody Bible College every year, I go to that one. And I go to the conventions, depending on where they are, for the National Baptist Convention USA Inc. I also participate in their board meeting, and I stay active with the Congress of Christian Education.”
His advice to new pastors and younger pastors leading congregations: “Keep a humble mind and a humble heart, and you’ll make it through.”
Barbara Jordan is adjusting to being the first lady of a church.
“It’s a learning experience, but I’m growing into it,” she said. “I’m just delighted to be by my husband’s side.”
She said husband, “Teaches the Word, he preaches the Word, and he loves his congregation.”
Barbara Jordan also revealed a little-known secret about her husband’s personal life, “He likes some cartoons.” She said it’s one way he releases stress.
New Gethsemane Baptist Church is located at 917 E. Chelten Ave.
Carol Dunn offered s encouragement for those considering joining New Gethsemane Baptist Church: “You can’t go to heaven, unless you come by New Gethsemane.”