Qiana White does not have a church to call her spiritual home, but said she had been hoping to find one soon.
When a friend encouraged her to check out a new church starting in Germantown, “I was interested to see what this church had to offer, so I was definitely eager to attend.”
That’s how White ended up being among 30 people who filled the Germantown Life Enrichment Center on Sunday morning.
Founded by Pastor David Melvin Jr., a goal of the Encouragement Temple Church is to bring a different kind of service to Germantown.
For the past several weeks, palm cards advertising the “60 Minutes” service — “Partnership. Hope. Encouragement. Love. Support. The journey begins.” — were distributed in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood.
“I don’t want to have the usual kind of church service,” Melvin explained inside the former YMCA building on Greene Street. “I want service to be as powerful, informative and hopeful like others; just in 60 minutes.”
Inspired by the show ’60 Minutes’
Spurred by the thought of a long-running newsmagazine program that delivers in-depth stories within its weekly hour, Melvin thought, “if they can give us all of that information in 60 minutes, then I can do that for my church service.
“People have things to do on Sunday,” he continued. “Whether it’s preparing food, watching sports or getting ready for the week, it always seems that there’s not much time on Sundays.”
His service takes all of that into account.
“You’re in by 9 a.m. and out by 10 a.m., with the same exact encouragement and message” that you’d normally get from two- or three-hour service, he maintained.
Struggle preceded service
After moving back to Philadelphia from Detroit with the dream of opening up his own church in 2008, Melvin held services in his apartment and then at a Christian bookstore in Germantown, which later closed down. He also was unemployed.
“I knew that this would take time,” recounted Melvin, who later found a job as a baker for Wired Beans Café, which also helped his save money to go toward his dream. “And, I was prepared to make sure the next time around would be a success.”
After Sunday’s services, Melvin said he hopes the church will continue to grow. In fact, he’s already anticipating a bigger space where he would add a choir and guest speakers.
Attendees loved the idea
Heather Harris, who is a member of another church, attended Sunday’s service as did members of the West Oak Lane Church of God.
Harris did not mind the condensed time frame and said she “enjoyed the service.” For her part, White said she would return.
Services will be held at 9 a.m. each Sunday on the second floor of the Germantown Life Enrichment Center, 5722 Greene St.