For the past six years, the Rev. Darin Croft has led New Gethsemane Baptist Church, located at 1274 S. 23rd Street, with a faithful heart. He has used his calling from the Lord to lead his congregation through prayer and diligence.
Croft, a native of Amityville, New York, a village in Long Island, and a Temple University alumni, grew up in the church serving as a drummer boy and fulfilled other church duties including, the choir.
In June 2020, New Gethsemane Baptist Church recently celebrated 60 years of service. Croft calls New Gethsemane a ‘family church’ something he and his wife longed for, for years.
“It is a family environment here,” Croft said. “When my wife and I got here, we were kind of frustrated with past experiences with leadership. We felt the love that was here, and we felt the family atmosphere.”
New Gethsemane, has moments of disagreements, but at the end of the day Croft said New Gethsemane is one unit and one family.
Due to the pandemic, the church has been closed since March.
“We are serving a God who is letting us know how real this pandemic is that we’re dealing with,” Croft said. “Even when you’re being as careful as possible you have to be careful with yourself and others around you.”
Croft admits the pandemic has dampened the morale of the church. But Croft is using this time to focus on the testimonies from his congregation.
“While we may not be able to come together as a church as we want to, we serve a God that’s still healing, and he’s letting us know he’s still very much alive,” Croft said.
Through God’s healing, New Gethsemane has been virtually for the majority of 2020 spiritually uplifting each by practicing social distancing. During Zoom church service, members update their church family members on recent events, COVID updates, and some even shared encouraging words.
Recently, Croft’s Sunday sermon focused on self-discouragement.
“We know that the enemy is a master at wrecking our confidence,” Croft preached to his online congregation. “The enemy is a master at pulling stuff up from your past to make you feel like you don’t matter. He tries to hold you back from being pushed or catapulted into the next dimension of your life, whether it’s your family, faith, or finances.”
The Rev. Dawn Kennedy, the associate pastor at New Gethsemane Baptist Church, joined the church alongside Croft as a member seeking a new home church and found a home that was not only a place to worship but the place God called her to be.
“It was a no-brainer for me to go sit under his leadership, and I soon joined after he became pastor,” she said.
Kennedy and Croft have a unique relationship. Kennedy’s cousin, first lady Tiffany Croft, is married to Croft. Kennedy, who has known Croft for years, calls him ‘kindhearted’ and ‘sweet”.
Kennedy said Croft helped her to accept her calling as a pastor.
“He pushed to my calling,” she said. “He confirmed it!”
Kennedy has been an associate pastor for two years at New Gethsemane and received her ministers’ license in 2019 from New Gethsemane Baptist Church.