Dr. Rev. Melvin Tatem
and Minister Jacqueline Tatem
On March 10, 2019, Pastor Melvin Tatem gave his last sermon as senior pastor of Grace Deliverance Baptist Church. He had been our guide and shepherd for over 22 years.
He and Minister Tatem were two of the forty-four founding members of Grace Deliverance. Dr. Tatem was installed as our third pastor on September 19, 1996. During his early tenure, these ministries were added to Grace – Men’s Discipleship, the Singles’ Ministry, the Youth Ministry, the Men’s Fellowship, and the Women’s Fellowship (currently called the Women of Grace).
Dr. Tatem is an evangelist at heart. He will talk to anyone about Jesus. He has even followed people into the liquor store just to speak with them! He especially enjoys talking with young people. In the last few years, he extended his work to the Youth Detention Center in Easton, PA. Besides the Youth Detention Center, other outreach ministries that he was involved with include, but not limited to, the men’s prison, the migrant workers, and the mothers of the church (Mothers’ Prayer Night). Minister Tatem served in the women’s prison, the women’s fellowship, and the mothers of the church, among other ministries. Dr. Tatem made sure that he supported the different activities of the ministries of the church.
In keeping with Acts 1:8, Dr. Tatem has been a witness in his community, his state, his country, and in the world. He has received several awards and certificates over the years. His most recent accomplishment was receiving the “Foot Soldier Award” in 2018 from the Bethlehem NAACP for his commitment to civil rights and social justice. In 2006, Grace Global Mission was started. Dr. Tatem led three teams to Africa, two to Uganda and one to Kenya. The teams took with them the biblical counseling classes that are taught at Grace. He has also gone with teams to Panama, Kenya, and Liberia.
Dr. Tatem was very much involved with the lives that God entrusted to him. He believed in the church helping parents with what they were teaching their children at home. He attended the sporting events and other extracurricular activities of the children at Grace. He was quick to visit any of us who were hospitalized and even “adopted” other family members and would call them periodically.
Ask anyone to describe Dr. Tatem in one word and they would probably answer humble. He never insisted on be treated better than anyone else. He was not known to take a seat of honor without being asked (Luke 14:8-11). He played racquetball and sometimes played cards. If needed, he would set up chairs and put them away; he would pick up trash, sweep the floor, etc. He would not ask anyone to do something that he was not willing to do himself. He is just a “down-to-earth” kind of guy!
As John wrote about Jesus, there are many other things that Dr. and Minister Tatem have done that are not mentioned here. Those mentioned are just a glimpse of their service over the years.
On April 28, 2019, we said our farewells to the Tatems, as they have returned back home. Our prayers go with them because we know that God is not through with them yet. Pray for us, as a church body, for our new shepherd, who will continue moving us forward and upward.
As Dr. Tatem was known to say, “THE BEST IS YET TO COME!”