Black Church Continues Legacy as a Pillar of Philadelphia From Its Founding in 1872

Founded in 1872, Janes Memorial United Methodist Church at 47 E. Haines Street has been serving up heaping helpings of the gospel in the Germantown section of the city for 147 years and shows no sign of stopping.

Throughout those years, many things have changed but one thing remains the same, Jane memorial continues its legacy of service and ministry to both its members and the wider community.

“The pastors that have gone before me, who have been leaders in the community, are shoulders that I stand on as I pastor now,” said the Rev. Gregory G. Holston, pastor of Janes Memorial.

Holston describes Janes Memorial as an “older church” but one that “truly believes in education”.

“Many of its members were teachers and principals and other education leaders throughout the city of Philadelphia,” he said.

“One of its former pastors who was here for 40 years, [the] Rev. Nichols [Henry H. Nichols] served on the School Board of Philadelphia and so it [Janes Memorial] really believes profoundly in the need for education and higher education particularly for African-American people. This is a proud, historic African-American church and proud of its legacy and history that it looks to seek to move forward.”

Inside Janes Memorial you’ll find members who have attended for decades, some who have worshipped at the church all of their lives. In fact, the longevity of its members helped forge a close-knit family bond among its congregation that persists throughout time.

Yet, members of Janes say that being close-knit isn’t being CLOSED-knit. The circle is tight yet widens to include all who would become a part and extending into the wider community.

“Some of the community services that we are involved with is working with the neighborhood to provide clothes and food to the people in the community as well as working with A.A. [Alcoholics Anonymous] and N.A. [Narcotics Anonymous] who use our education building for their programs as well,” Tolston said

The anti-gun violence organization ‘Every Murder is Real’ not only calls Janes home but conducts its activities from the church.

“They [Every Murder is Real] ministers to over 500 families and so we are deeply involved in the community and growing in that capacity in every way and trying to be a place that’s open for people of all ages as we move forward in the 21st century,” Holston said.

Janes Memorial didn’t earn its place in history by being a Sunday-only-church. It is thriving with activities including the traditional choir, prayer ministry and ushers’ ministries others you would expect to find, it also includes ministries which center around worship, community and meeting the needs of people in need.

In fact, there are over 20 active ministries at Janes Memorial.

But what about the members?

“They are really friendly. They are just wonderful folk who have been in this community for a long time and deeply believe in the work in Germantown and Mt. Airy and the advancement of the African-American people as a whole,” said Holston.

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Source: Philadelphia Tribune