Since he formally retired from his role as senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Germantown at the end of June, Rev. Dr. G. Daniel Jones felt compelled to explain why he answered the phone at the church office on Thursday.
“I’m just here cleaning up,” said the seventysomething Jones, who had been senior pastor at the neighborhood mainstay for the past three decades.
That tidying up was delayed for a few minutes when NewsWorks sought Jones’ reaction to that morning’s unanimous City Council vote to ceremonially rename the block of Emlen Street between Johnson and Upsal streets in his honor (PDF).
Reaction to the honor
“Oh, how nice,” said Jones, who had been a pastor for 48 years and now holds the title of Grace Bapist’s pastor emeritus. “It’s humbling. … Our church’s motto is ‘in the heart of the community seeking ever to win the community’s heart.’ This is one affirmation of that motto.”
Eighth District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who introduced the resolution at council’s Sept. 17 meeting, cited the impact of Jones and his church on the neighborhood as the impetus.
“As the leader of Grace Baptist Church, he represents an institution in Northwest Philadelphia. They have given and contributed so many hours … that they’re a staple of the neighborhood,” she said. “He’s part of the fabric of the community, and very deserving of this.”
For his part, Jones downplayed that sentiment, but was appreciative nonetheless.
“I don’t see myself as having done that much,” he said, “because I serve for the glory of God, not for self-aggrandizement, prizes or rewards.”
While the resolution passed Council on Thursday, a street-renaming event has not yet been scheduled. NewsWorks will let you know when it has been.