ABOVE PHOTO: Rev. Dr. G. Daniel Jones and First Lady Geraldine Jones at Rev. Jones’ retirement dinner.
By Sharon Powell Lee
To know the Rev. Dr. G. Daniel Jones, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Germantown, is to love him.
Recently, about 700 people came to the church to show him the love and to wish him a happy retirement from the church that he’s served for 31 years. Jones, 73, will become Pastor Emeritus of the church in July.
Rev. Jones took some time out of his busy schedule to briefly reflect with the SUN about his life in ministry and community service.
Rev. Jones is a graduate of Virginia Union University, and the Andover Newton Theological School (a United Negro College Fund private Baptist school). He also has a doctorate from Howard University and honorary doctorates of Divinity from Virginia Union University and the Lutheran Theological Seminary here in Philadelphia.
But he didn’t just restrict his academic studies to the ministry. Jones simultaneously pursued a teaching certificate, adding a minor in Mathematics to his pastoral studies. While serving as a senior pastor, Dr. Jones shared his love of teaching with college students as an adjunct professor of Christian Education at Lutheran Theological Seminary and as an adjunct professor at the Center for Urban Theological Studies, a division of Geneva College.
Most would find that being a full-time pastor and teacher would be enough, but not Rev. Jones. He has served on many distinguished boards and on May 4, 1996 was installed as the Moderator of the oldest Baptist Association in the United States, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, which is comprised of 120 churches, representing 13 or 14 languages. He was the National President of the 6,100-member Ministers Council of the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. and was the founding President of two local Councils, namely ABC of the South, and ABC of Metropolitan Philadelphia. He served on the Executive Committee of the General Board, American Baptist Churches, U.S.A., serving as the Board’s Chaplain and chairing the Implementation Sub-Committee. In addition, he was a member of the denomination’s Boards of National and Educational Ministries, serving on the Publishing Board’s Judson Press Sub-Committee, and the Affirmative Action Committee. He is also a prolific writer and a 33 Degree Mason.
Rev. Jones is Vice President of the Baptist Ministers and Pastors Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity and for over 20 years served as Vice Chairman of Philadelphia’s Baptist sponsored City-Wide Revival. He is an Executive Board Member of the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention, The Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention (chaired the Centennial Committee of 1997, and is now chairing the Convention’s Scholarship Endowment Campaign.) Also, he is a member on the Metropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia, serving as Vice President and is a member of African American Interdenominational Ministries, formerly Black Clergy, Inc., serving as a past Chairman of the Education Committee. Dr. Jones also served as chair of the Urban Theological Institute Advising Committee for seven years and is now a Chair Emeritus.
This self-described “Participating Pastor” was the grandson of a pastor and has enjoyed every moment preaching the gospel beginning with his first assignment at St. John Baptist Church, Messiah Brockton, Mass., and later at Zion Baptist Church, Portsmouth, Va. His inspiration to be a leader and preach the Word of God came from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. William Hunter Hester of Norfolk, Va. and his mentor and uncle, Dr. G.G. Campbell of Moore Street Baptist Church. His uncle was a stable educated man who taught school, was a dean of seminary and preached for 48 years until his passing. Rev. Jones also admired the Rev. Dr. Samuel Proctor for his great oratory preaching style and ability to address the “global scene”.
As senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Rev. Jones has increased the staff to meet the needs of a growing congregation, built their Christian Education Center and most significantly he dismantle sexism by integrating Grace’s Board of Deacons, Trustees and other ministries. “I believe God is an Equal Opportunity Employer – Christ liberates us!”
Jones was humbled in receiving an honorary degree from his alma mater Virginia Union University in 2006 and a second honorary degree from Lutheran Theology. He was amazed at his retirement banquet to see people from all walks of life. He was extremely proud and honored that Grace Baptist Church’s Boy Scout Troop 358, led by scoutmaster Brian Wallace was selected to attend both presidential inaugurations in 2008 and 2012. This troop was nationallly recognized for having sixty years of continuous service.
As he looks forward to making a smooth transition in selecting a new pastor for Grace, Rev. Jones believes the next level in ministry for Grace has to include: increased evangelism, numerical growth and further developing the Grace Community Christian Center. Although a strong believer in theological education Rev. Jones has come to respect those without formal training in the ministry and the unique perspective they bring.
Rev. Jones looks forward to traveling throughout the country with his wife and first lady, Geraldine, who retired from a middle management position for Action AIDS of Philadelphia. Rev. Jones is proud of his 49-year marriage to Geraldine and their son Bryant D. Jones, a graduate of Morehouse College who earned his MBA from Drexel University.
Rev. Dr. G. Daniel Jones is to be commended and celebrated for his incredible contribution to the ministry and the Philadelphia community.