The New Beginnings Sanctuary of Praise Church of God in Christ was begun in April 1999 when the congregations of the Good Samaritan Evangelistic Church of God in Christ and the New Dimensions Church of God in Christ came together after the death of Elder Edward L. Smith, Sr.
The New Dimensions Church of God in Christ was born out of struggle and disappointment and out of God’s revelation of His word to Pastor Joseph A. Conner, Sr. In April 1986, Reverend Conner was appointed pastor of the Unity Temple Church of God in Christ, by Bishop O. T. Jones, Jr., then Bishop of the Church of God in Christ/Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Jurisdiction. In November 1993, with the full support of our Jurisdictional Bishop, and because of the expanding vision given by God, Pastor Conner established the New Dimensions Church of God in Christ. The New Dimensions congregation continued to follow the leading of the Lord often, as He led Abram “to a place that I will show you.”
The Good Samaritan Evangelistic Church began as a Bible study in the home of Pastor and Mrs. Edward L. Smith, Sr., in October 1985 with three members–Pastor Smith, Sister Juanita Smith, and Father Thomas Smith. The Bible study group grew to six members and became the Good Samaritan Evangelistic Church Sunday, April 6, 1986. The Church grew and, in 1987, worship services were moved to 5722 Christian Street. As the need for even more space became evident, the Lord blessed the congregation with the property at 317-319 N. 52nd Street, a move that required much faith, something Pastor Smith was known for and encouraged others to have.
In July 1998, Pastor Smith, learning that he had a serious illness, sought the assistance of the Office of the Jurisdictional Bishop to plan for the future and on-going pastoral care of the church and the saints of Good Samaritan. With prayerful consideration, Superintendent Benjamin J. Ravenel, then First Administrative Assistant to the Bishop, expressing the desire of the Bishop and of the Board of Superintendents, asked Pastor Smith to consider that Pastor Joseph Conner would assume pastoral responsibilities of the Good Samaritan Church and to facilitate the union of the Good Samaritan and the New Dimensions congregations.
In April, 1999, at the request of the Office of the Jurisdictional Bishop and with the consent of Pastor Smith, Pastor Conner initiated the implementation of a marriage between the Good Samaritan and the New Dimensions Church families. The congregations began worshipping together Easter Sunday morning, April 25, 1999.
Pastor Smith had transitioned from this life April 24, 1999. His anointed rendition of the song, “New Beginnings Are Not Just for the Young,” inspired Pastor Conner to name this new congregation, the New Beginnings Sanctuary of Praise Church of God in Christ.
Since 1999, the Church has been active in the West Philadelphia community by providing after school programming at the church and at the James Rhoads Elementary School, summer day camps, vacation bible school, community health and information fairs, movie nights, clothing giveaways, back-to-school nights, the distribution of Christmas and Thanksgiving baskets to needy families and to residents at the Kirkbride Center.
We praise God for His continuous blessings to Dr. Joseph A. Conner, Sr., and our New Beginnings congregation as He moves us from North 52nd Street to Woodland Avenue. God continues to lead us—as He did Abram—to the “place that I will show you.”
“The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalms 118:23