by Rachel Howe
On the first Sunday of 2007, Philadelphia Praise Center (PPC) gathered for Sunday worship in a newly renovated building in South Philadelphia. The building was constructed at the turn of the 20th Century as a home for a Mission Brethren congregation but had most recently housed a Baptist congregation and catering business. Already on the first Sunday, the congregation filled the buildingâ€™s first level to near capacity. The congregation reached record level attendances of 250 over the holiday season at its previous location, a few doors away.
The less than two-year old congregation purchased the building with the assistance of Mennonite Church USAâ€™s Church Extension Services in early November. Renovations started immediately with a goal of worshiping in the new space for Christmas. However, the process took much sweat, prayer and teamwork and on Friday January 5 moving day arrived. The congregation was excited to pitch in and help to move from a leased facility on the same block of McKean Street. Some stayed to early morning hours to make sure all was just right for the first Sunday. The new building now gives more classrooms for Sunday school with a nursery for parents and young children.
Pastor Bastian Yosin spoke on this first Sunday about how this church building, needs to become a house of prayer, house of glory, house of communication and reconciliation and a house of change. PPC desires to reach every nation, every culture and every tribe in Philadelphia for the sake of the Gospel.
I am actually part of that prayer. I came to PPC in September of 2006 and immediately felt the presence of the Lord. The congregation welcomed me with open arms and has not let go. Godâ€™s passion is evident in everyone. It does not matter what language you speak. I have learned so much from sitting, listening and watching.
I am learning a new language and a new culture. This is what Christianity is all about–stepping out in faith not knowing what each day might bring but knowing that God will bring good things to pass. This new building is just the next step of many for us as congregation to reach the city of Philadelphia for the Glory of God. Congregational leader Melkie Tirtaspura said that the church is becoming known as a place where miracles happen among immigrants in South Philadelphia.
On February 11, PPC will celebrate its two-year anniversary. This is a time to celebrate where God has brought us from and where God will take us in the years to come
Rachel Howe is originally from Akron, Ohio, and relocated to Philadelphia this fall. A graduate of Valley Forge Christian College, she is living a dream within the caring community of PPC while falling in love with the City of Brotherly Love.
Church Extension Services: http://www.mennoniteusa.org/executive/church_extension_services.htm