Philadelphia Praise Center (PPC) is not just a church. In addition to holding services every Sunday, PPC is also well known for its involvement in reaching and bridging the South Philadelphia community. With a vision to be a diverse church with love and compassion for the lost and for the city, Pastor Aldo Siahaan formed the Philadelphia Praise Center in early 2005. To live out this difficult vision, PPC strongly believes that the key is in building relationships. Here are some ways PPC has carried out God’s vision for the past few years:
Most of the PPC members are immigrants from Indonesia. But as most people know, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. In Indonesia, Christians are a minority community that is often underestimated. But in Philadelphia, the situation was reversed. Of the thousands of Indonesian immigrants living in Philadelphia, only a handful are Muslims. Because PPC knows the feeling of being a minority, PPC took an initiative to establish good relations with the Indonesian Muslim community in Philadelphia. A few years ago when they did not have a place of worship, PPC opened the church building to be used by Muslim friends in breaking their fasts and prayers in the month of Ramadan. Since then, the relationship between PPC and the Muslim friends has continued.
In addition to building relationships with communities of different beliefs (interfaith), PPC also builds relationships with Christian immigrant communities from other countries (interculture). The PPC building is located in the middle of South Philadelphia, which is often a destination for many new immigrants from other communities, including the Hispanic community. Called to establish relationships with these brothers and sisters, the PPC leaders asked for help from Franconia Conference to send Hispanic leaders who would serve with us in preaching the good news. Finally, God sent Fernando Loyola and Leticia Cortes to begin the ministry of outreach to Hispanic souls. They came from Colorado without knowing any other Hispanic people, but God’s love opened the doors of relationships, until eventually they had many friends who were willing to learn about God’s word. Fernando and Letty currently lead Centro de Alabanza de Filadelfia, which has its own church building located South Philadelphia.
PPC also realizes that being an immigrant in America is not easy. To get immigration status, one must spend thousands of dollars. Many of us live in America as undocumented immigrants. PPC is involved in many immigration rallies or activities related to immigrant rights. When immigration raids occur, many experience fear. We are called to make the Philadelphia Praise Center a sanctuary church, a church that provides shelter for immigrants who need it. We renovated the church basement to include a proper bathroom and kitchen, in order to make it a proper sanctuary church.
This is only a small part of what God does through PPC. Let the vision that God has given us continue to carry on with the strength and wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives.
- Immigration situation and related family separations
- Job opportunities
- the Indonesian political situation