The South Presiding Elder District is one of four presiding elder districts in the Philadelphia Annual Conference. This is the mother conference of the First Episcopal District and of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
New Bethel AME CHurch - Germantown
Pastor Allan R. Robinson
6153 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19144
11 AM - Worship Service
Pastor Allan R. Robinson
Allan R. Robinson, is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting in 2005. Deeply discerning a call to ordained ministry, he received his Master of Divinity degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. During his sojourn in North Carolina, Reverend Robinson worked as a Pediatric Chaplain Resident with Duke University Medical Center. In addition to his work as a Chaplain Resident, he simultaneously served St. Joseph’s A.M.E. Church and Flat Rock A.M.E. Church as a Youth Minister and Associate Pastor respectively.
Reverend Robinson served as a Pastoral Resident with Charles Street A.M.E. Church where the Senior Pastor, Reverend Dr. Gregory G. Groover, is his teacher, mentor, and friend. As an integral part of the Pastoral and Administration teams, Reverend Robinson provided leadership and assistance to the center’s myriad of educational and art programs for children and adults. He initiated, lead and designed its’ current website.
On November 13, 2010, Reverend Robinson was appointed as Pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Bay Shore, NY. Through his effective and innovative leadership, he lead the congregation to develop evangelistic investment efforts necessary to creating a passionate worship experience, transformative outreach ministry and a radical spirited-filled hospitality environment. Among the evangelistic investments were an outdoor church sign, Hammond Organ and Leslie, all of which will enhance the church’s worship experience.
In June 2014, Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram appointed Reverend Robinson as Pastor of New Bethel A.M.E. Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, PA where he continues his passion for serving God’s people. As a servant leader, Reverend Robinson has brought healing and stability to the congregation since his arrival. There is a spirit of oneness and hope for the future. With the assistance of the church’s leadership, Pastor Robinson restructured the staff and rebuilt the church’s financial accounting system. Recently, Reverend Robinson began to lead the church through a strategic planning process that includes learning from past, strengthening the present and planning for the future.
A Brief History of New Bethel AME Church - Germantown
New Bethel Church of Germantown (which was formally known as Center Street Church) was birthed in 1858 by inspirational, innovative, and imaginative leaders living in the Germantown community. Inspired by God’s Called, they organized the congregation at home of late Amanda Montier and Ann Hilton on 302 Rittenhouse Street (which was known as Center Street). With an innovative spirit, worship services were held in their homes until God struck the trustees’ and faithful disciples’ imagination to move forward with faith. With faith, New Bethel moved forward to search for a property to purchase and build the church. In 1859 New Bethel, the only African American pre-civil war church in Germantown was erected at East Rittenhouse and Morton Street. The congregation realizing that the church exist to serve the community opened its doors in 1874 to Joseph E. Hill to provide space for the Hill school classes. The Hill school was established that year for the formal education of Black students. Bethel also shared its space with Janes United Methodist Church for their church services until the completion of Janes’ new church structure in Germantown.
The congregation worshipped and served its community there until it moved to its current location at 6153 Germantown Avenue.
In 1958, the faithful congregation again moving forward with faith purchased its current location, a former movie theater. The purchase of such a building showed the congregation was radical and creative in their thinking about how and where the people of God could worship. Where churches had traditionally had pews in which to sit New Bethel offered movie seats and plenty of them. Rev. James K. Baldwin had a vision for a greater Bethel, one that could fill a theater to praise and worship God. It was realized on Sunday, June 17, 1962. Special services were held that day for laying the cornerstone. The congregation grew and over 300 souls worshipped there regularly. The faithful continued to grow its church. New additions were made to the physical structure. The Chapel and the Bell Tower were added. Properties were purchased. The altar was enlarged, the choir loft extended, two vans, a Hammond organ and Grand piano were purchased. The property at 6149 Germantown Avenue was purchased. The $80,000 mortgage on the church was burned. The renovation of the kitchen and dining room was completed as was the elevator project, and many improvements were made to the sanctuary.
Through many years New Bethel moved forward with faith growing and serving the community under the visionary and dynamic leadership of Reverends Carl D. Ogden, Willie G. Williams, Maurice Hughes and Khalil James. New ministries were organized to encourage younger members to take leaderships roles in the church so that it would survive as a place for future generations to worship and serve. The Mass choir, the Voices of Praise and New Directions were organized to support that vision. The faithful continued to minister to the community. Programs such as the after school child care, Saturday science, math, and SAT classes were held. New observances included the Combined Good Friday service and the annual Unity Day celebration. The Wednesday soup kitchen and clothing give away started operation, as well as the revival of activities such as the biweekly food bank and clothing give away. The Thanksgiving Day luncheon and Christmas Toy giveaway/luncheon were held. The youth Liturgical dancers began performing at New Bethel and also in the community.
In 2015 New Bethel A.M.E. celebrates its 157th Church Anniversary under the leadership of Rev. Allan R. Robinson. This enthusiastic and visionary man of God was sent to pastor his disciples at a critical juncture in the life of this church. Today we face many challenges with membership, the physical structure, finances and outreach. Today we are a small but committed flock. We are an aging church and we have lost many of the faithful souls that had supported our ministry. Throughout our history we have faced obstacles and God has always shown us the way. Jesus told Peter that that the church will never die. “And I also say to you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.” Biblically Bethel is where Jesus found the stone and historically Bethel is the place that has always been a haven for the people as they sought a better life. With such significance and purpose in our name and the rich legacy of our past we are moving forward with faith, knowing that we will experience the rebirth that is needed for our church and the community that we serve. Our energetic and spirited pastor has provided clarity and transparency for the road we must now travel and has blessed us with his teaching. Moving Forward With Faith with the help of God, New Bethel will experience the rebirth it needs to continue to serve the community and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.