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Black Church News in Virginia

Social and Civic Whirl: Dr. G. Daniel Jones, Norfolk Native, Renowned Pastor and Pastor Emeritus of Grace Baptist Church Dies

Dr. G. Daniel Jones, a Norfolk Native who became a nationally known minister and teacher preaching and modeling Christian love died quietly in his home on May 27, 2015 – exactly seven months after his wife, Geraldine Saunders Jones died on October 27, 2014.

G. Daniel Jones was dedicated as an infant, baptized as a convert to Christianity, licensed to preach (1963) and ordained to the Gospel Ministry (1965), all at Norfolk’s New Calvary Baptist Church which was first pastored by his maternal grandfather, the late Rev. D. Y. Campbell. After earning the Master of Divinity Degree from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Newton, Massachusetts and pastoring two churches in Massachusetts, G. Daniel Jones returned to Virginia in 1973 to pastor the historic Zion Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia where he served for nine years. While in Portsmouth, he served on the Portsmouth School Board.

In 1982, he accepted the pastorate of Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, Philadelphia, PA. There he presided over the phenomenal growth and development of the church and congregation, for 31 years, until his retirement as Senior Pastor in 2013. Shortly after his retirement the City Council of Philadelphia honored him by re-naming a street near Grace Baptist Church The G. Daniel Jones Way. Learning of the honor, Rev. Jones remarked that beyond a personal tribute, the renaming was a testament to the church’s interconnectedness. “The church in the heart of the community is seeking ever to win the community’s heart,” he said.

That response was typical, says sister Elaine R. Jones, former president of NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “My brother, who was older than I am, never sat still without purpose. He emphasized the importance of congregations coming together in love. He always had a calendar packed with activities. He was in constant motion doing and serving. But it was all about his ministry of love.”

Sister Gwendolyn Jackson, a retired Judge of the Norfolk General District Court, says she believes G. Daniel was born to be a minister. As a young boy sitting beside his maternal grandmother on the pew of New Calvary Baptist Church he learned to love people, to enjoy good Christian music, to value public service and Christian care for people. “G. Daniel’s grandfather passed in less than two years after young G. Daniel’s birth and never lived to see Elaine nor me, but G. Daniel was blessed with an equal love of the ministry as demonstrated by our grandfather” said the youngest sibling. “G. Daniel would often say that there was never a day that he regretted following his call to the ministry.”

His only son, Bryant Daniel Jones, said his dad inspired awe and pride. “His style of parenting helped to prepare me for life, mostly because he led by example. His brand of ministry was infectious.”

G. Daniel Jones, the firstborn child of George R. Jones and Estellle Campbell Jones received a B.S. Degree in Mathematics from Virginia Union University in 1962 and earned the Doctor of Ministry Degree from Howard University in 1978. His Alma Mater Virginia Union honored him in 2006 with an honorary doctor of Divinity Degree. Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia where he served on the Adjunct faculty teaching Christian Education and served as long time Chair and Chair Emeritus of The Urban Theological Institute (UTI) also conferred on him an honorary doctor of Divinity Degree in 2011.

In March 2015 this tremendous man of God was called by Zion Baptist Church of Philadelphia to serve as Interim Pastor .

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Rev. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) stated that Dr. G. Daniel Jones’ commitment and leadership skills allowed him to be equally at home with people of diverse backgrounds and interests. G. Daniel Jones served on ABCUSA’s General Board for 18 years in several capacities including national president and executive committee member. He also served as President of the Baptist Pastors and Ministers Conference of Philadelphia and vicinity. In addition, Dr.. G. Daniel Jones was a founder and first president of Ministers Council of the American Baptist Churches of the South.

For over 20 years he served as Vice Chairman of Philadelphia’s Baptist sponsored City-Wide Revival. He was an Executive Board Member of the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention and was an executive committee member of Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, recently elected vice president.

He was a 33rd Degree Mason and served as Grand Chaplain of the Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania. His civic engagements included life memberships with the NAACP and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (Mu Omega Chapter/Philadelphia). During his life, he received many awards, honors and commendations. His intellectual rigor was reflected in a wide body of published papers ranging on subjects from ERA and Women’s Ministry to AIDS and Stewardship, to global ministries. His ministerial service carried him around the country and to far-flung congregations in Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

He is survived by his son Bryant Daniel Jones, daughter-in-law Deon Jones, grandson Bryant Daniel Jones, Jr.; sisters Atty. Elaine R. Jones and Judge Gwendolyn J. Jackson (Ret); brother-in-law The Hon. Raymond A. Jackson; sister-in-law Sandra Saunders Palmer; three nieces, two nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins and a host of extended family and congregation members.

Pre-funeral rites will be held at Grace Baptist Church 25 West Johnson Street in Philadelphia on Sunday, June 7, 2015 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with memorial services by the Omegas and Masons . A Funeral Service of Triumph will be held on Monday, June 8, 2015 at 11 a.m., at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church located at 2800 Cheltenham Avenue in Philadelphia with Quintin L. Robertson, interim pastor of Grace Baptist Church presiding. Viewing on Monday the 8th will be from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Grace Baptist Church of Germantown with a notation to the G. Daniel Jones Scholarship .

A Memorial Service will be held at New Calvary Baptist Church. 800 East Virginia Beach Blvd. in Norfolk on Friday, June 12, 2015 at 1 p.m.. Dr. William Marcus Small is the Senior Pastor.

Dublin Funeral Home; Philadelphia, PA.

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