New Greater Bethlehem Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith
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A beacon of light throughout South Philadelphia since 1967
Our Church History
In 1967, Greater Bethlehem Temple Church of the Apostles' Faith was founded by the late Bishop Ordes Speaks Sr. in Columbia, South Carolina.
Believers assembled in a Laundromat, until Bishop Speaks purchased a building at 901 Height Street.
One of its first members was the late Mother Goings.
Not long after opening church doors in his hometown, Bishop Speaks was inspired to pastor outside of Columbia and sought to build the church in Philadelphia. He and some of the members in South Carolina relocated to the City of Brotherly Love.
In Philadelphia, Bishop Speaks preached the gospel on the corners of fire hydrants and in people’s basements, until he moved church members into their first building located at 4104 Germantown Avenue. The church name then was Bethlehem Temple of the Apostolic Faith.
Bethlehem Temple began to flourish with more people when it moved to 1724 South 6th Street.
The influx of people started with one member who witnessed and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with his family. The people came to the church repented of their sins, baptized in Jesus Christ's name, and was filled with the Holy Ghost. The people were so on fire for the Lord they witnessed to their families, friends, co-workers, and strangers. As long as members witnessed for the Lord the church congregation grew.
The pastoral staff consisted of Joseph Major, the first deacon, and two ministers, James Miller and James Johnson. Patricia Woods was the first secretary.
Because of the rapid growth, the church became in need of more space. Church members exceeded the capacity of the building on 6th Street, where membership increased to over 100 people.
In 1976, Bishop Speaks purchased his third building at 2300 Tasker Street and renamed the church to "Greater" Bethlehem Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith because of the growth.
The church experienced its most devastating moment in 1977. Prior to renovations of the newest building, the church split due to irreconcilable differences among the people. The separation of the people left only two members at the new edifice, Bishop and Joyce Speaks.
As time went on, the membership started to increase again. Some of the church members who left rejoined Greater Bethlehem Temple. The congregation also grew with new souls being saved.
The first assistant pastor was Elder James Johnson.
In 2003, Building A Better Future, known as BBF, branched out from Greater Bethlehem Temple Church. BBF is a faith based non-profit organization that is dedicated to aiding individuals reach their fullest potential. It stretches out to all generations with the intention to embrace those who are unfortunate, underprivileged, and feel there is no hope for a better future.
In 2007, the Greater Bethlehem Temple named its second assistance pastor, named Danny Speaks Sr.
For 42 years Bishop carried the mantle until 2009 when he handed over the reins to his son, now Bishop Danny Speaks Sr.
In 2010, under the new leadership of Bishop D. Speaks, the church's name changed to Greater Bethlehem Temple Church of the Apostles' Faith. The slight change in the organization's name gave a more defined explanation of what we believe. "Apostolic" exemplifies the movement of the 12 Apostles, while "Apostles" represents the doctrine and teaching of the Apostles taught by Jesus Christ.
The foundation laid by the Bishop Ordes Speaks continues to stand strong with his legacy now being carried out by his son.