1943 to Now
In 1943, Rev. Robert Mead formed a Mission Circle, and from this Mission Circle birthed what is now known as the Paradise Baptist Church.
Pastor Mead was a chronic asthmatic and because of his failing health, he resigned. Rev. Frank Hardwick, who was serving as Pastor Mead’s assistant was called to the pastorate. In October 1962, the church was able to move to 332-336 New York Avenue, Newark, NJ. Under Pastor Hardwick’s leadership, guided by the Holy Spirit with less than twenty (20) active members, two mortgages were burned, new pews were purchased, oil heat was put in the church, the basement was finished, church redecorated, new steps built and a parsonage was purchased for the pastor.
Pastor B.F. Hardwick served his term well. After thirty-five (35) years of faithful service, Pastor Hardwick retired and relocated to Texas.
Rev. Wilbert Constance Eural was called in September 1984. Under Rev. Eural’s leadership, the church building at 332-336 New York Ave. was sold and the property at 348-352 15th Ave. was purchased. In 1990, Rev. Eural left the Paradise Baptist Church.
In October 1990, God sent Rev. Dr. Jethro C. James Jr. and he accepted the leadership of the Paradise Baptist Church with much enthusiasm and faith. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Pastor James was able to sell the old parsonage. A groundbreaking service was held and a new house of worship was erected on the current site at 15th Ave. and Hunterdon Street.
Under Pastor James leadership, the Paradise Community Development Corporation was formed, Scholarship Programs in the name of Mother Minnie Berrian, Dorothy Watson and Tracey Snow were established, a church van and a 47-passenger coach was purchased, a tutorial program instituted, as well as a housing program, Youth Ministries, Women’s Summer Bible Institute, a Men’s Ministry, Liturgical Dance Ministry, Prison Ministry Healthcare Screening Programs, and an Audio/Visual Ministry Ministry. To God be the Glory!