BGA Church began as a church plant of Spirit & Truth Fellowship, a Christian Reformed Church in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia, in November of 2004. It started as a bible study reaching out to young people in high school and college. In May 2005, BGA Church started meeting in a building in the Frankford area of Philadelphia at 4730 Oxford Avenue. In 2010 Pastor Gabriel and his family moved into the Frankford area to live and serve there.
In 2015 the congregation of BGA began leasing the “Social Hall” of the Frankford Memorial United Methodist Church on 1300 Dyre Street. And in 2022 they began using the sanctuary upstairs as they began to grow and reach their community.
Following the mission of Jesus to seek and save that which is lost by transforming the hearts and minds of men, women and children in the Frankford and Northwood communities of Philadelphia with the truth of God’s Word and the power of Jesus’ life.
SERVANT LEAD PASTOR
I was born and raised in New York City. At first my family and I attended a small Pentecostal church near our public housing apartment complex in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Then we moved to another Pentecostal church which was more embracing of God’s love and grace for people and less legalistic. By the age of 12, I prayed the prayer of salvation and was baptized and began speaking in tongues by the age of 14. Thereafter, I was dutifully discipled by my Pastor and a few brothers from the church.
I entered New York University and the Lord led me to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I grew a lot under their leadership as a result of their intentional leadership programs.
I graduated from NYU in 1996, moved to Philadelphia in 1998, and went to Seminary for a year, during which time my wife and I started attending Spirit & Truth Fellowship in Hunting Park. After a year at Seminary I felt God’s call to teach at Hunting Park Christian Academy, the school my church decided to plant in the Fall of 1999. I taught kindergarteners for six years and became the Development Director for three years until God called me to start By Grace Alone Frankford Church.
I obtained my Masters in Divinity degree from Biblical Seminary in June of 2012 and have been working as Servant Lead Pastor of By Grace Alone ever since. My wife (Pearl) and I, along with our two girls – Mia and Juliet – moved into the Frankford community in 2010. We are fully committed to serving our community and excited about the plans God has in store for us all.
Denise Williams & Oli Ortiz
SERVANT ASSOCIATE PASTOR/ELDER
I was born and raised in the Hunting Park Section of Philadelphia (Pike and Percy Streets). I grew up going to church but when I was 12 years old at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1992, I felt the Lord “tugging” at my heart and calling me to surrender to His Lordship. That day I did. I was 11 years old when I made the public confession. At age 17, I was baptized at Spirit and Truth Fellowship by Manny Ortiz and Hector Vasquez (I still remember how the water felt, it was sooo cold).
After several years of finding who I was and what I wanted to do, I ended up at Temple University. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. During that time, I was a youth helper at Spirit and Truth under then Youth Pastor Hector Vasquez. Even at a young age, the Lord had put on my heart the passion to see young people in the city submit to Christ’s Lordship and worship Him.
In 2004, I became the member of a church plant team which started 8th Street Community Church (A sister church to By Grace Alone). After helping plant that church, the Lord called me and my wife to By Grace Alone in 2009, which the same year I started my studies at Biblical Theological Seminary. In June of 2012, I graduated from Biblical with an MA and MDiv. Currently, I am the Youth Pastor at BGA and I am ministering bi-vocationally as an Associate Pastor and in the secular world.
I am on mission with my wife Stephanie who also serves the church in various ways. The Lord has blessed us with a son named Jeremiah. I am a true fan of all Philadelphia teams especially the Eagles.
We have a great team of deacons that help serve the needs of the community. This includes helping those in financial need through our "Deacon's Fund."