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A beacon of light throughout South Philadelphia since 1967
Meet Our Founder
Bishop Ordes Speaks, Sr. (1930 – 2010)
Bishop Ordes Speaks was born to Paul and Pearl Speaks in Columbia, South Carolina on December 21, 1930. At the tender age of seven, he lost his mother and two years later his father demised. Since losing both of his parents at a young age, Speaks lived with a couple of his older siblings and became inspired to achieve and be responsible.
After becoming of age Speaks was drafted into the Army during the Korean Conflict in 1953. Serving in the military help shape him to be a stronger individual and taught him to take any means necessary to survive. Speaks military career ended when he became injured during a routine exercise. He fell into a training hole and broke his knee which became permanently damaged after going through surgery. Because of Speaks’ circumstance he left the Army in 1955 and became a disabled veteran.
After serving his country, Speaks resided in New York City and then later lived in Detroit, Michigan where he would find the Lord. While in the Big Apple Speaks went to school and worked. He later decided to relocate to Las Vegas with fifty dollars in his pocket to be a big time gambler but it took him to the Motor City. There Speaks went to school for tailoring and became a master tailor for a local business and eventually established his own business. Although Speaks was headed to the sin city to gamble God had another plan. One day a young lady invited him to a service at Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, where the late Bishop Samuel Hancock was presiding pastor. After hearing the unadulterated word, Speaks repented and was baptized in Jesus Christ's name, three months later he received the gift of the Holy Ghost in 1958.
After getting saved, the Lord called Ordes to preach Jesus is the Son of God, which later lead him to pastor his own church. He preached his first sermon in Michigan in 1961 and began evangelizing across the state. In 1967, Ordes established Bethlehem Temple of the Apostolic Faith Inc in his hometown. The Lord then inspired him to relocate to Philadelphia in that same year to open up church doors. In the city of brotherly love Ordes used fire hydrants and people's basements to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ until he got his first building at 4104 Germantown Avenue. Ordes bought his second building of worship at 1724 South 6th Street. As the church began to grow Ordes became in need of more space and purchased another building at 2300 Tasker Street. Because of the rapid growth Ordes changed the name to "Greater" Bethlehem Temple of the Apostolic Faith and became ordained to the bishopric in 1976.
Prior to being ordained bishop, in 1975 Ordes met his wife Joyce Ann Speaks and out of this union came eight children. Ordes suffered from several diseases. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, which spread to his lungs and bones. While battling the cancer, he also suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure.
Despite his sickness, Ordes endured hardness as a good soldier of the Lord. He suffered the hurt and the pain, rejoiced in the bad and the good, and did not allow life issues to deter him from the faith. With his wife Joyce by his side 34 years, he held on to God’s unchanging hands.
Ordes will be especially remembered for his hospitable spirit, courageous attitude, straight forwardness, hard labor, and his commitment to the church and family. He showed strength and love right up until his last days with us.