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Dr. Townsend has been the Pastor of the St. John Baptist Church since 1982. Under Dr. Townsend’s leadership, the Church built a new edifice and paid off a twenty-five-year mortgage in four years. Under his leadership, the Church also built a youth development center that houses the St. John Day Care Center. St John has 83 ministries that advance the kingdom of God. The Church's ministries provide food and clothing to those in the community and other services to the community.  The church also provides meals to the homeless and Senior Saints every Sunday.


St John planted two churches the St John Baptist Church of Pennsauken NJ and the St. John Family Worship Center in Burlington NJ. The Church launched the Light League in 2012. The Light League is a national ministry of teens and young adults who are on fire for Christ! With a center focus on worship, outreach and growing together as disciples the Light League has impacted the lives of hundreds of teens and young adults.  


Pastor as we affectionately call him is a humble, compassionate man of God, full of The Spirit. 

He works tirelessly on behalf of our young people, supporting programs in local schools and community groups he encourages them to stay in school and always do their best. Pastor is known for his kind manner and generous heart, serving God and His people, helping, guiding and supporting individuals from the joy of baptism to the sorrow of a funeral, and nurturing their spiritual growth.


Dr. Townsend is married to the former Ida R. Rankin, a retired teacher in the Camden School System. They have two lovely daughters, Lauren and Kristen. Kristen is married to Deacon Emmanuel Bryant, and they have two precious daughters, Mya and Ava. Lauren is engaged to Min. Alan Jean.   




The Reverend Dr. Silas M. Townsend is a native of Washington, D.C. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Milliken University, Decatur, Illinois, and his Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1998, Reverend Townsend earned his Doctorate in Ministry from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. (Now Palmer Seminary) 


He retired in 2015 as the   Executive Director of the Burlington County Community Action Program after forty years of service. He is a former Adjunct Professor at the Palmer Theological Seminary. 

At St. John, she is the President of the board of Deaconess, The President of the Mary Scott Smith Inspirations and the ministry leader of the Worship and Praise Ministry.  She is also a member of The Mother’s Prayer Ministry.


She is a retired first grade teacher from the Camden City School District.


She is a gospel singer and enjoys singing God’s praises! Her favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” 


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first lady Ida R. Townsend


Mrs. Ida Rebecca Rankin Townsend is the daughter of the late Rev. Dr. & Mrs. T.H. Rankin, Sr. 


She is a graduate of Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, a graduate of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s of Education in Education Administration Degree, and has taken postgraduate courses at Rowan University.

Mrs. Townsend is the wife of The Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, pastor of the St. John Baptist Church, Camden, NJ.  Pastor & Mrs. Townsend are the proud parents of two beautiful adult daughters, Lauren and Kristen. She and Pastor Townsend are the proud in-laws to their son-in-law Deacon Emanuel Bryant, and Mom Mom and Pop Pop to their precious grand daughters Mya Joy Bryant and Ava Grace Bryant. The Townsend’s are looking forward to the marriage of their daughter Lauren to Minister Alan Jean.


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