The Grace Center Church

2821 Island ave

Philadelphia pa 19153

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The First Baptist Church of Paschall was formed in 1935, when two congregations merged as

one in order to better serve the community, The congregations that merged were Macedonia

Baptist Church , founded in 1901, pastured by the late S.J. Jones and the Tabernacle Baptist

Church founded in 1918, pastured by William H. Lemon. The ninety-member congregation

chose the Tabernacle Baptist Church building as the First Baptist Church of Paschall edifice.

In 1935, Rev. William H. Lemon was called to pastor the First Baptist Church of Paschall. During

his pastorate, the church mortgage was paid in full (1944), a building fund was established

(1950), and renovations were completed (1953). After twenty-four years, Rev. Lemon accepted

the pastorate of the Crafton Baptist Church in Grafton, Virginia.


In July 1959, Rev. William A. Jones, while still a student at Crozier Theological Seminary was

called as the second Pastor of the Church. His three years of service were characterized by

new ideas and heightened expectations. In 1962, Rev. Jones accepted a call to the pastorate of

Bethany Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York, where he served for about 43 years.

In November 1962, Rev. Samuel L. Taylor was called to be the third Pastor. Rev. Taylor came

with a reputation as a builder rekindling the dream of building a new church. On April 1, 1973,

The First Baptist Church of Paschall officially dedicated a new edifice. On June 7, 1981, Rev.

Taylor celebrated his eighteenth pastoral anniversary. On that same day, the Lord called Rev.

Taylor home.


On Sunday, March 14, 1982, Rev Dr. Randolph Bracy Jr. was called as the churches fourth

pastor. Under Rev. Bracy’s pastorate, a host of new ministries were implemented. In September

1991, Rev Bracy accepted a call to the pastorate of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Churc of Orlando,

Florida. Currently, he is the pastor and co-founder of the New Covenant Baptist Church of

Orlando, Florida.


On Sunday, November 8, 1992, Rev. Khalfani Drummer Esq. was called as the churches fifth

pastor. Rev Drummer, a former deacon of the church enhanced programs previously

implemented by former pastors and implemented some new ministries. Under his pastorate, an

Educational wing was added to the church.


On Sunday, October 10, 2004 Pastor Eric Simmons was called as the churches sixth pastor. A

few months into the Pastorate, the Lord gave Pastor Simmons a vision from (Mark 1:40-45)

about helping people. Out of that scripture the vision for the First Baptist Church of Paschall

became A Church with a Helping Hand for a Hurting Humanity. Approximately seven weeks after God gave Pastor Simmons this vision, the former St. Clements Parrish announced a sale of

their property. To fulfill the needs of the vision the church voted to sell its current edifice at that

time to the African Methodist Episcopal district to help them fulfill their needs, and purchase the

new property. The new edifice covers a four corner city block located between 71st and

Woodland & 72nd and Paschall in the southwest section of Philadelphia. It contains a large

worship center, community center, administrative center. under his leadership the church has

grown from 100- over 1000 members and continues to grow weekly. Pastor Eric Simmons is a

gifted singer songwriter and musician. His current music project " Freedom" is available on

iTunes, Walmart stores, and His debut single " Lord I Thank You"

reached number 40 on national Billboard.