Hammonton Houses of Worship: Rosedale Baptist Church
The Seventh in an
By Dave Murphy
Among the many roses in Hammonton’s Rosedale community, one that is especially bright and continuously growing is the Rosedale Baptist Church, a brick house of worship on the corner of 15th and Atlantic Avenue, just one block north of South Egg Harbor Road.
A church congregation that offers a lively, Bible-based program for all ages, led by Pastors Rev. Dr. Garry P. Jones and Assistant Pastor, Brother Bob Emery, Rosedale Baptist is a dynamic church that has connections throughout the Hammonton/Rosedale business and residential communities.
From Sunday morning and evening worship services to a Wednesday evening “Power Hour,” to a recently held Vacation Bible School for the youngsters of the community, Rosedale Baptist offers much to those families or individuals searching for a lively and nurturing spiritual home.
While there has been a Rosedale Baptist community since the 1880s, that congregation really became an organized church in the 1970s, following a period when an Assembly of God Church occupied the facility and after a period when the church was closed. In 1972, Pastor Earl Thompson arrived in the area, set up a Baptist Church in a home owned by the Tomasello family, but moved shortly thereafter to the present site. The physical structure was expanded in the 1973-4 period when the growing church was reincorporated officially as the Rosedale Baptist Church. Following Pastor Thompson’s tenure, Pastor David Krause served the congregation for twenty-one years. After the Krause era, there was an eighteen month ministerial hiatus, while the congregation searched for a new pastor, finding him in Rev. Dr. Garry P. Jones, the current pastor.
Pastor Jones was saved, or born again in the spirit, through Jesus, as many Christians believe, in 1973. He studied Christianity theology at many schools in Pennsylvania, New York, and Colorado, receiving his Ph.D. in Biblical Philosophy from Patriot University in Colorado Springs. During his journey to Rosedale, Pastor Jones and his family served churches in western New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Arizona.
Assistant Pastor Emery, saved in 1986, has received his Bachelor’s Degrees in Christian Education and Pastoral Theology and is seeking a Master’s Degree. He and his family have attended Rosedale for many years.
Following Pastor Jones’s serious car accident in 2008, Pastor Emery spoke with Pastor Jones about the calling he felt he received to serve Rosedale Baptist as assistant minister. For Pastor Jones, the timing was just right and the two clergymen work side-by-side in much of the affairs of the church, including the enlightening interview for this article.
Like many Baptist churches, the Rosedale Baptist Church is an independent church which “adheres” to a number of tenets common to most Baptists of the United States and of the world. Among those tenets include the importance of biblical authority for all things secular and sacred; the autonomy of each worshipper under God with Jesus as the only mediator between the individual and God; the need to be saved from through Jesus Christ and two biblical ordinances: 1) the baptism of believers—adult baptism after one is saved, and 2) communion. In communion, or The Last Supper, of the offering of Jesus of his body and blood for the remission of the sins of the believers, the Baptists do not believe that the bread and wine of Communion literally becomes the blood and body of Jesus (transubstantiation), but view this more symbolically—yet essential to worship. The Baptists demonstrate a biblical verse for each belief that is crucial to their religion.
The roots of the Baptist faith can be traced literally and biblically be to the first century A.D., since adult baptism was, indeed, practiced by the first Christians. The Baptist movement, per se, however, really emerged with the strict Anabaptists in Europe in the sixteenth century. Among Anabaptists’ unadorned or “plain” beliefs, was one in a “rebaptizing” of an individual, a baptizing of adults who, through their own volition with the Will of God, were saved or reborn in the spirit. Baptism is, essentially a washing away of one’s sins and the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, a belief common to many Christians. Baptists today continue to believe in the essence of adult baptism.
Roger Williams (1603-1683), started the First Baptist Church in America. Until the American Civil War, all American Baptists were part of the same “congregation.” As the nation split between North and South, so did the Baptists: Northern Baptists were anti-slavery; Southern Baptists were pro-slavery. While there was a post-Civil War convention of American Baptists, a unified movement was not re-established. Today, there are approximately sixty different Baptist congregations, the largest group, paradoxically, is the Independent Baptist Church.
In an effort to nurture a strong and vital family of believers, Rosedale uses the King James Version of the Bible and the hymnal, Soul Stirring Songs and Hymns--yet offers so much more. While the Website of Rosedale Baptist (see below) will give the interested reader specific information for dates and times of programs, the programs Rosedale offers include Vacation Bible School, a “Helping Hands” food pantry (donations are accepted), the Senior Achievers (with monthly trips), a Teen Group, a Children’s Bible Club, a “Cradle Club” for toddlers, the Rosedale Baptist Bible Institute for teens and adults (a program which offers credit from Bible colleges), an institute that offers other courses related to the ministry.
During Easter Week each spring, the church offers a very busy schedule during its annual “Resurrection Revival,” including opportunities for worship every night. In the fall, Rosedale holds a “Harvest Time” program when there are day and evening worship services during the latter part of the week and when the Northeast Baptist College Quartet performs in the sanctuary. The church also supports seven missionaries in African and Asian countries.
While the 2010 Vacation Bible School just ended, much of the support for needs of the popular program come from members of the church, of course, but as well as many businesses, including The Hammonton Gazette, in the Hammonton area.
Rosedale offers van pickup for members of the congregation. Anyone involved in working with children in the church has been approved by the church staff, must be child safety approved, and has undergone the New Jersey State Clearance.
Worship services include musical accompaniment by piano or electric keyboard and more. Much of the worship music simply comes from the inspired voices of the congregation and occasional appearances by the Pilgrim Academy Choir. The church is handicapped accessible through both a wheelchair ramp and a chairlift.
Whatever the program, whatever the worship service time, all are welcome to attend Rosedale. For more specific information or to speak with a pastor of the church, call the church at 609-561-4208 or visit the Website for Rosedale Baptist Church at http://www.rosedalebaptistchurch.com/. More to the point, one may simply attend worship services on Sundays at 11:00 A.M. or 6:00 P.M., or the Wednesday Power Hours at 7:00 P.M. This rose in Rosedale is still flourishing. Fittingly, an actual Rosedale Rose blooms on the east side of the church.