Lovely Baptist Church is turning 100

In honor of the church’s century of existence, a black tie banquet will be held April 28 in the church’s banquet hall.

On Sunday, May 6, the Lovely Baptist Church on 7th and Snyder will celebrate its 100th year of existence.

“It’s been a church that really stays with the Bible,” said Willia Mae Brown, the church’s longest-serving member. “A lot of churches have folded up but Lovely remains.”

The 86-year-old Brown has been coming to the Lovely Baptist Church for the past 70 years — ever since she was 15 years old.

“Lovely is a beautiful church to belong to,” she said.

In honor of the church’s century of existence, a black tie banquet will be held April 28 in the church’s banquet hall. The banquet will feature catered food, music, praise dancing and speeches from ministers.

The church’s secretary, Diana Collins, called the church “family oriented,” and said it leaves people with the “freedom to worship God in a way that he should be worshipped.”

“If someone died in the neighborhood and that person didn’t have a church to have their service in, the doors were always open,” she said. “Rev. [Wilbert] Crew would welcome anyone in. The doors were always open to accommodate people in the South Philadelphia area.”

Interestingly, Crew is one of only two pastors the church has ever had. Lovely was founded in 1918 by Pastor Nicholas Avent, who served as pastor until his death in 1961. That’s when Crew took over, and he’s been serving as pastor for the past 57 years.

“That says something right there,” Brown said of Crew. “Because [pastors] come and go. If the parishioners don’t care for them next thing you know they’re gone. My pastor is not about money. So that’s another good thing about Lovely.”

While Brown loves her church, she said that it, like many churches, is striving to find ways to reach out to young people.

“What we’re trying to do is to get more of the youth to come in so that they will learn about the Bible,” she said. “We want their opinions about what the children want from the church.”

In addition to the black tie banquet, the church will have a service on May 3 featuring the Rev. Edgar Edwards from the Little David Baptist Church at 7 p.m., and a Joy Night on May 4 at 7 p.m., which will feature praise dancing and singing.

May 6 — the actual anniversary date — will feature a service that begins at 11:30 a.m. At 3 p.m., guest speaker Edward A. Thomas, pastor of New Temple Baptist Church, will give a speech.

Tickets to the black tie catered affair on April 28 cost $50. For information about purchasing tickets call Mary St. John at (215) 467–4356. For any other questions or concerns, contact Diana Collins at (215) 924–8459.