God has brought New Philadelphia A.M.E. Church a long way. From a mission church, worshipping at the Carson Community Center to a thriving congregation now worshipping in their own facility, a single block, multi-building property in the city of Long Beach, CA. What a blessing!
Getting to this blessing took a bit of toiling. In June of 1997, a group of seven committed persons sought to establish an African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South Bay area. Led by the Holy Spirit, and under the dynamic leadership of Rev. Sherman A. Gordon, these committed persons conducted an intense demographic survey, researching approximately fifteen cities to find the best and most suitable location to organize the church. Receiving support from their bishop and presiding elder, this group was approved as the newest addition to the connectional A.M.E. church in August 1997, with Carson designated as the city foundation. The Carson Community Center was the first location of worship for this mission church.
Through diligent workers, community walks, surveys and spirit-filled worship services, this church grew in membership from its original seven to approximately 300 members in its first month of existence. After a few months, the center could no longer hold the congregation. In January 1998, the Pastor lead the membership to lease a building on Dominguez St. in Carson; and the church continued to grow both numerically and spiritually. It was no longer a mission church.
In 2004, with a non-renewable lease coming due, the Lord blessed New Philadelphia with the ability to purchase a building in the unincorporated city of Rancho Dominguez. This property was a 64,000 sq. ft. campus. The membership refurbished the facility and dedicated the church on February 5, 2005. The church thrived for years, but in 2010, Pastor Gordon prayerfully decided to leave the A.M.E. church. He resigned at the 5th District Planning Meeting in St. Louis.
Visiting at that Planning Meeting was Rev. Darryl E. Walker, pastor of Turner Memorial A.M.E. in Hyattsville, MD. Bishop T.L. Kirkland, presiding prelate of the 5th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church asked Rev. Walker if he would be willing to leave his church in Maryland and come to Rancho Dominguez to pastor New Philadelphia. Rev. Walker did not know what he was coming to, but he trusted in God and accepted the call. On the first Sunday in November 2010, Rev. Walker began his leadership at New Philadelphia.
Many people followed Rev. Gordon, but a blessed core of members remained. With Pastor Walker’s administrative leadership and spiritual guidance, New Philadelphia moved forward. The motto became, “We are a new A.M.E. experience, and we have a reason to shout.”
In 2015, Pastor Walker led the congregation to sell the Rancho Dominguez facility and purchase a church in Long Beach, California. Ironically, while refurbishing the Long Beach church, the congregation again worshipped at the Carson Community Center for seven (7) months. On the first Sunday in September 2015, the New Philadelphia congregation entered its’ current home, 6380 S. Orange Ave., Long Beach, California.
New Philadelphia takes great pride in its accomplishments, none of which could have been possible without the grace of God Almighty. The membership of New Philadelphia consist of a rich diversity of individuals whose wealth of resources and God given talents have served to bless the church and the community at large. With the help of God, New Philadelphia aspires to use the gifts that He has so freely given, along with the multiple professional, cultural and social resources within its membership, to develop programs and provide services that will address communal needs and desires for years to come.
“This is a Place where the Holy Ghost Reigns, and We Have a Reason to Shout”