Pastor Rivers

Pastor Juanita Rivers Elder Juanita D. Rivers is the pastor and founder of Ebenezer Temple Pentecostal Church (ETPC), a relatively new church planted in the city of Philadelphia. This year marks the Church's 9th anniversary. Formerly a bi-vocational pastor, Elder Rivers worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for twenty-eight years, holding various technical and managerial positions. On October 2, 2007, her dream of an early retirement was granted as she retired as the Operations Manager of Centralized Case Processing. While it was a bitter sweet victory, Elder Rivers eagerly transitioned into full-time pastoral ministry. She effectively employs her knowledge gained as an IRS Senior Manager to bless the church community and beyond. The acquisition of the larger church facility at 5649 Christian Street is evidence of her prudent and tenacious leadership as well as God's grace. She and her husband David enjoy traveling, their travels include tropical locations such as Tahiti, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, etc.
Rivers couple Elder River's Approach to Pastoral Ministry
Given the on-going demands of urban ministry and the dangers of pastoral burnout. Elder Rivers clearly understands the importance of self-care. She dedicates time regularly to maintaining her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Elder Rivers practices good nutrition, exercise patterns and sleep habits, by eating a balanced diet, exercising weekly (program of weightlifting, stretching and cardio) and getting a proper amount of sleep and rest. To recharge, she also takes 5-10 minute power naps throughout the day! Wednesdays are her personal day to do those things she likes - such as sleeping late, leisure reading, writing poetry and dramas/plays, spending time with her grandchildren, etc.

Elder Rivers is a servant-leader and works to achieve positive ministry results by giving priority attention to the needs of her congregants and those in the community. Preferring to lead by action, she is eager and willing to work cooperatively "in the trenches" with the congregants, when possible. According to Pastor Rivers, she feels most comfortable in ministry situations where she is serving others.

Though ETPC is a small church. Elder Rivers ensures it is immensely involved with the community. She and her congregation actively engage in street evangelism. Moreover, the church observes national awareness campaigns (i.e. Breast Cancer, Diabetes) by distributing informational brochures throughout the community. ETPC also reaches out to youth (as well as adults) in the community via the summer Vacation Bible School (VBS), which culminates with an amusement park trip and she has a mentoring training program for youth whereby each tax season three to fouryouths are granted stipends to learn income tax preparation. Furthermore, Elder Rivers offers free counseling for the community. And for those persons in the community who desire to be married, she offers 6 weeks free pre-marital counseling, her personal wedding officiant services, and use of the sanctuary.

Elder Rivers partners with the Campaign for Working Families, an organization which works to bring economic justice to the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. Under her leadership, ETPC hosts an annual Building Strong Families Conference which includes a community picnic characterized by clothing, books, toys, and vendor giveaways. Elder Rivers believes in ministering outside the walls of the church to do effective contextual and wholistic ministry. She offers free income tax preparation, last year preparaing over 1050 returns and returning 1.9 million in refunds. Certainly Rev. River's model for outreach ministry clearly demonstrates Jesus' life and teachings, as ETPC understands that no dichotomy exists between evangelism and social responsibility.

She is graduated of Palmer Theological Seminary where she holds both a Masters of Theological Studies in Old Testament (1996) and a Masters of Divinity (2001). She has three adult children Dakasha Cummings, Damian and Da)uan Rivers; one son-in law Kyle Cummins; seven grand - Dior, Nyyah, Takyah, Marquise, Dheno, Camy, and Winter.