Tribute to Pastor Effie Blumentoe

Pastor Effie Blumentoe
(1931-1996)

There are certain people that have made a significant difference in my life. Pastor Effie Blumentoe is one of those people. Pastor Blumentoe was what many of us called “deep.” She always seemed to have a private line to God. She always stressed the importance of knowing God for yourself and knowing the Bible for yourself. She traveled all over the world and obtained much knowledge about Christianity as well as other religions and cultures. She taught the young people who attended the New Saint John Baptist Church how to seek God for themselves. I was among those young people in the early 1980’s.

I owe much to Reverend Blumentoe. We always called her Reverend Blumentoe out of habit since we knew her long before she became pastor of the church. Much of the things I know now can be traced back to one of her Bible classes. She made us think in her Bible classes and she encouraged us to analyze the scriptures instead of requiring basic religious answers to questions. Her Bible classes weren’t lectures like most of the Bible classes that I attended in other churches. She didn’t read scripture, give a sermon, have a collection and then send us home. She used to say that “you are in the yard” or “you are on the porch” when we were trying to answer one of her thought-provoking questions. Her Bible study classes were of great value to me and others.

I do not have a problem with women pastors though many disagree with me. Whether she was supposed to be a pastor or not is a moot point to me. God used her in a great way to form the spiritual lives of many youths in my old church. I know for a fact that if it weren’t for her that I may have been sucked up into the mainstream religion and lost like many church folk. Thanks to her, and my mother for introducing me to God and my father keeping me on a moral path, I would have been lost and religious. One thing is for sure. Pastor Blumentoe was a great blessing to me and many others at that time. She is dead now and has gone to be with the Lord. I thank God for her being a significant part of my life. May she rest in peace.

I write this in tribute to a great woman of God. One who has touched many people’s lives with the notion of knowing God personally and seeking truth for oneself. Her legacy will live as long as I live and those I touch. One objective that I have is to show people that we must have a personal relationship with God and that means we have to seek the truth for ourselves. That is the great lesson I learned from Pastor Effie Blumentoe and it is the lesson I keep alive.

Pastor Blumentoe no longer walks on this earth. One could say that a flower was plucked from the Earth. I say that a tool has been put away by God. I saw the trials and tribulations that she had to face in the religious community. She was odd in most typical churches because here emphasis was God and his word and not church services and the other religious stuff church folk like to do. Deep inside of myself I believe that religion killed her. It ate her away until she was no more. She was persecuted and executed like so many other true godly people. However, her mark was made. I too am a radical person when it comes to the things of God. I have been trained by Pastor Blumentoe to know God for myself. She used to say to eat and digest the word of God. Anything else that enters my system is regurgitated or defecated because they are not of God. Most of these things that are rejected come from the typical church (not all churches). Thank God for delivering me and saving me from religious nonsense by using Effie Blumentoe.

There has been no other Christian leader who has influenced me or has had such an impact on my spiritual development. Effie Blumentoe will always be my pastor regardless of what church I happen to belong to. She was the shepherd that led me to a closer walk with God. My parents are my first pastors who led me to God and kept me safe. I pray that I would be just as effective in getting people to know God personally as Pastor Blumentoe was. My whole ministry centers around liberty in Christ. The liberty that I have, which was realized through Effie Blumentoe’s teachings, comes from God who is always with me and in me.

I thank God for bringing Pastor Blumentoe in my life. She has planted seed that are still bearing fruit to this day. May she be honored and remembered through my ministry. She is a great example of true discipleship and teaching. She transcended church and got us looking at the main issue, which is a life in Christ. She taught us how to seek and study the Bible. May she rest in peace.

The following was taken from the obituary of Effie Blumentoe.

Reverend Effie Jean Blumentoe was born on July 2, 1931 in Buckingham, Virginia. She joined her family’s church at an early age. At the age of four, she announced to the church, “I am going to be a minister.” Effie received her formal education in Clifton Fords, Virginia. She attended Storer College where she majored in Philosophy. She moved to Philadelphia after graduating from Howard University with a teacher’s degree in Philosophy.

She was married in Philadelphia and had one daughter. She was widowed after only three years of marriage. She was employed by the Philadelphia School system as an elementary educator. Later she worked at the Philadelphia Laboratories as a sterilization technologist. Her last place of employment was with Elkins-Sinn Inc. as a laboratory supervisor.

Effie volunteered as a probation officer in Camden, NJ. She taught remedial reading at the Philadelphia Prison. She was very active in the Philadelphia Ethical Society.

Effie joined New Saint John Baptist Church in 1974. She served as an assistant pastor to the late Reverend B.J. Smalls. She became interim pastor for a year and in 1977 she became the first female Baptist pastor in the city of Philadelphia. She served in this capacity until 1987. During her leadership she ordained five young deacons and involved her congregation with many musical activities (guitar, piano, flute, and singing).

Effie was a world traveler touring Israel, Africa, China, Japan, South America and many other foreign countries. Pastor Effie Blumentoe passed away on April 8, 1996 at 2 P.M.

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