When Pastor Earl Palmer heard the calling, he heeded what he proclaims was God’s will. That would eventually evolve into what is now called and recognized as the Brand New Life Christian Center in Germantown.
While in Boston, Palmer found his wife, Maria, who would also eventually become a pastor at Brand New Life Christian Center and the two started a life and family together.
Leaving Boston to finish his education in Philadelphia, Palmer graduated from Temple University, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and eventually worked at the Limerick Power Plant for several years as the director of engineering. By 1991, however, it was clear to Palmer that God had something else in store for his purpose.
The call of God, as Palmer described it, was that he was able to recognize and fully realize the “great need to rescue those in desperation, especially that of men who suffer from addiction to drugs.”
Taking some time to put his calling into action, Palmer began holding services in his home, and upon the closing of the Ivy Hill Bar on Cheltenham Avenue of Germantown in response to its reputation for drug dealings and prostitution, the first location of the Brand New Life Christian Center was established in June 1993.
Palmer’s congregation grew to the point of an obvious need of expansion in terms of the building of which to hold services and events and by June 2001, the current home of the Brand New Life Christian Center was established on Germantown Avenue.
Here, the organization now offers multiple services to its congregation, the community and anyone on need of a helping hand. One of the most effective and invaluable services the church offers is their childcare. From pre-school daycare, to after-school programs, to summer camp enrollment, the Brand New Life Christian Center is CCIS (Child Care Information Systems) approved, which means it supports subsidized childcare paid for in full or partially by state funded grants to members of the community, allowing for those parents who are in need to receive quality, educationally and religiously productive child care.
Although the child care program is run through the church, they are not prejudice of the faith in which any of the currently enrolled 48 children, aged two and a half to thirteen, in the program associate.
“We don’t discriminate against the faith or non-faith of the children that are part of the program,” said Denise Jackson, director of the children’s program at Brand New Life Christian Center, “We only guide children and establish morals, and we do this through the teachings of the bible and by reminding children of these lessons through sayings like ‘God says to be kind to one another’. Our program is faith based, so the curriculum of the program is directed accordingly.”
With field trips consisting of outings to swimming pools, bowling alleys, parks and historical sites, the program allows for the children to explore outside of their immediate surroundings and experience the world through different situations and activities, while still keeping academically inclined with readings and educational exercises.
At the end of the summer the children’s program puts on a night of entertainment through stage drama, dance, music and art for the parents of the children who took part in the summer camp, so as to display what they have learned and how they have grown through the program.
Outside of the children’s program, there is a general “Back to School” event put on by Brand New Life for the entire community to attend. With food, music and activities, the church holds an event in which members of the community may come and receive free school supplies, bikes, clothing, and other necessities that come with the start of a new school year for most families.
In addition to child care, Brand New Life Christian Center offers the community the services of a food bank, free clothing closet, health fairs, counseling for drug, alcohol and other personal issues as well as references for shelter, housing and job outreach programs.
Religious services are held Tuesday through Sunday, with special sections ranging from a new members class , nursing home ministry, singles ministry and even praise dance rehersals.
Palmer says his mission it to “equip believers to be mighty warriors who are living victoriously and demonstrating the courage to receive all that God has for them spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially, financially and intellectually.”