There is a place of worship that believes Jesus came to save, set free and deliver — not just your mind and spirit but every aspect of your life. That church is Greater Enon Missionary Baptist Church located at 1854 N. 22nd St.
Greater Enon has ministries, prayer and Bible study and, yes, traditional Baptist services not unlike most other churches in its denomination. However, Greater Enon has one additional thing — a social justice component that extends out of the pulpits and into the community.
Shepherded by the Rev. Michael Robinson, who just celebrated his seventh anniversary as pastor of Greater Enon, the church has a passion for service. Whether its feeding those who are hungry, providing clothing or addressing social injustice, Greater Enon believes God cares not only about your soul but also about the conditions in which you live.
“Our church mission is to serve and follow Christ,” Robinson said. “That is our church motto and that’s taken from John 12:26. If I was to describe the personality of our church, I would have to say that we seek to always find better ways of how we can serve Christ, and by serving Christ that means serving people.”
Serving people as a service to God is essential to the character of Greater Enon.
“When you read Mathew chapter 25 and it describes how Jesus says to take care of the homeless, to visit those who are incarcerated and to care for those who are sick, he’s really talking about dealing with people who are downtrodden,” Robinson said. “To me, Mathew 25 is a great example of how the Bible has a very strong social justice focus, and that’s Greater Enon.”
In keeping with this focus, Greater Enon gave a financial donation to a nonprofit organization every month in 2018, operates a weekly food pantry to help address the problem of hunger and poverty in Philadelphia, and regularly provides free clothing for those in need.
But there’s more.
“For a small congregation, we’ve done quite a bit,” Robinson said. “Every Thanksgiving we have a pre-Thanksgiving luncheon and we honor seniors who have been active in our communities.”
The church also host events to publicly recognize the sacrificial work of Philadelphia police officers and military veterans.
“We try to do a lot to uplift our community,” Robinson said. “We just don’t want to be a church where people just come, receive the Word of God and do nothing. We’re an action-oriented church in terms of service. That’s what we try to live up to, serving and following Christ.”
Robinson and his wife, Dana, have been married for 21 years and she knows more than anyone that his service to God and his community has deep roots and is something he is passionate about.
When offered the assignment to pastor Greater Enon Missionary Baptist seven years ago, Robinson wasn’t a candidate for the position nor was he seeking it, but Dana Robinson knew something about her husband.
“I knew that he had a passion for the people and that he had a passion to obey the Lord wherever he was called,” she said.
The position was new to them and took some adjusting but with the help and support of the congregation, Dana Robinson said, the transition was seamless.
Pastor Robinson is an outgoing, hands-on minister known to roll up his sleeves to do whatever needs to be done at the church. Whether its cleaning up, offering instruction or counseling, Robinson’s leadership is manifested through service.
As such he sits on numerous boards and committees and is active in many faith-based and community projects and activities. This would be challenging to most couples, but the Robinsons have a strong relationship and complement one another.
“I think we balance one another out because I’m more low-key so I’m able to slow him down and he’s definitely more active,” Dana Robinson said. “I guess I help to center him and support him because I always admired his servant-leadership.”
The Rev. B. Michelle Horton is the executive pastor of Enon and has been a member of the church for five years.
“Initially what drew me to Greater Enon was a friend who invited me to a service to preach,” Horton said. “Once I got there, I felt very welcomed and it just seemed like a great place to be inspired and encouraged.”
Horton said the church serves a significant number of people she described as “transient” and in need of services.
“We have a group of people who are regularly members here but because we live in a high-poverty area we also have people who come in and need help with food, need prayer, need clothing, jobs or social services and we try to help them with those types of things,” she said.
Some visit the church from drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs or having been recently released from prison or reside in local shelters. And some will come, receive services and once their needs are met, relocate elsewhere. That’s no problem for Greater Enon Missionary Baptist.
“Pastor Robinson and the pastoral team basically have a servant’s heart. I would say that that is giftedness that God has given us,” Horton said.
“We both like to see people excel mind, body and spirit; to be encouraged and know that with God all things are possible, so we serve with that mindset.”
Horton said that serving others can have a ripple effect that extends into the community, the city, the nation and perhaps the world, which is so desperately in need of people who care and practice selfless service.
Having been a member for over 20 years, Deaconess Lillie Terry can attest to the congregation’s commitment to serving the people as a service to Christ.
“It’s a church that loves the Lord and the people of the Lord,” Terry said. “We are not a church that put ourselves above other churches, but we try to do the best we can for the Lord.”
Asked how she would describe the congregation of Greater Enon Missionary Baptist, Terry said they were loving people who try to stay in accord with one another and work well together.
And serving the spiritual and physical needs of the community?
“That’s what the Lord wants us to do,” Terry said. “He said go out and witness to other people. We don’t just stay inside the walls, but we go outside the walls.”