The Rev. David Hicks is the head pastor of Pine Hill Temple of Praise Church which has served the North Philadelphia area for 54 years. Pine Hill currently shares a building with Macedonia Memorial Baptist Church at 4635 N 16th St. Yet despite the pandemic outbreak, Pine Hill is still reaching members and finding a new way to reach members.
“God has done so much for us and we just tell the Lord to thank you for his mercy,” Hicks said. Hicks has pastored the church for 25 years and says the pandemic must be taken seriously.
“We’ve learned that this pandemic is serious, and we must take it seriously,” he said.
Due to the spike of the pandemic, Hicks hasn’t opened his church because he has concerns for his older members. In exchange for gathering in a house, Hicks is worshiping with his congregation over the phone.
“A lot of our members love the conference calls and the fellowship over the phone,” Hicks said.
Many of Pine Hill’s congregation don’t have cars so each month he and his wife make a special trip to visit members.
“We drive by the communities of where our members live and wave to them, and wish them God’s speed, and give them a little gift,” he said.
Hicks has lost loved ones to the novel coronavirus and is taking precautions with his congregation. Because of the recent spike in numbers, Hicks doesn’t plan on reopening his church until December. He wants to make sure that everything is in place before he reopens. Hicks wants to sure everyone is safe.
“We are a church all about love. We love our church and our pastor,” said Shirley Arrington. Arrington is one of the last original members at Pine Hill Temple Church. She has been a member for 54 years. Arrington remembers Pine Hill starting in her aunt’s basement but has known Hicks before he became the pastor.
“He’s humble, respectful, friendly, and easy to talk to,” she said. “You can tell him your secrets and know that it’s safe with him.”
Through the pandemic, Arrington has become closer to God and believes that now is the time to spend more time with the Lord and listen to him.
“I thought I was close to the Lord until the pandemic hit. I believe this is a time for us to slow down and spend more time with God,” said Arrington who says her mornings are more devoted to the Lord. “I find more time now to sit with God and the word. It’s a time for us to slow down and figure out the message he’s sending us.”
Recently, Hicks preached about waiting patiently for the Lord. A message needed for many people during these uncertain times including his church members. Hicks said his church is going through a transitional phase looking for a new home.
“We are in the process of looking for a new building that we can call our own, and sometimes we have to go through some crisis, and with this pandemic, it put us at a standstill in some areas,” Hicks said. ”I want to reassure them that if they just wait on the Lord, the Lord will take away. We might not see a division, but there is an appointed time.”
Hicks continued his message by adding the benefits of waiting on the Lord.
“Sometimes waiting can be hard, but if you just wait on the Lord and listen to that voice God will speak to you, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” he said. “God is faithful to us if we are faithful to him.”