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The Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine Sr., pastor of Berachah Baptist Church, dies at 82

The Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine, Sr., 82, founder and pastor of Berachah Baptist Church in East Germantown , died Tuesday, Jan. 4, at his West Oak Lane home.

Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine Sr., 82, founder of Berachah Baptist Church and a former president of the Philadelphia Black Clergy & Vicinity, died Tuesday, Jan. 4, at his Philadelphia home.
Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine Sr., 82, founder of Berachah Baptist Church and a former president of the Philadelphia Black Clergy & Vicinity, died Tuesday, Jan. 4, at his Philadelphia home.Read moreCourtesy of the Shine family

The Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine Sr., 82, who founded and led Berachah Baptist Church in East Germantown for 36 years, died Jan. 4, at his home in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia. He died in his sleep, his daughter said.

A former president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity and the Pennsylvania Statewide Coalition of Black Clergy, he was also on the board of the Philadelphia Martin Luther King Jr. Association for Non-Violence and was chairman of the board of the Manna Bible Institute until his death.

When the Bible Institute relocated from Germantown to 2309 N. Broad St. in 2011, Rev. Shine, a 1971 graduate who taught there for 25 years, told The Inquirer: “Manna’s presence in the inner city is critical to provide that additional opportunity to strengthen our churches and leaders at a cost that is affordable.”

Prior to his term as president of the Black Clergy, Rev. Shine served as chair of its social action committee.

In that role, he met with police officials and community leaders about police shootings of unarmed residents. He also met with Philadelphia School District officials and union leaders, on educational and labor issues.

“He was truly a man of God who loved doing what God called him to do, and that was pastoring, teaching and working for social justice,” said the Rev. Michael W. Couch, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.

After former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey was appointed chair of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing in 2014, Rev. Shine wrote a position paper on policing that he provided to Ramsey.

Rev. Shine was the Black Clergy president when in 2003 he and other clergy members protested at Urban Outfitters’ Center City store because it was selling a board game called Ghettopoly.

A spoof of the classic Monopoly, the game had a marijuana leaf and a machine gun in place of the traditional top hat and car. “Playas” bought crack houses and properties.

“We protested and asked them to remove it from the shelves,” Rev. Couch said. The company pulled the games from all of its stores about a month later.

Rev. Shine was also friends with the now late Rev. Melvin Floyd, who was famous for his “neighborhood crusades,” and the two pastors teamed up to do evangelical preaching on street corners. Earlier, in 1967, Rev. Shine convened a citywide Christian crusade at the old Philadelphia Civic Center in Convention Hall, said Robin Shine Maddox, one of his daughters.

The Rev. Shine was born in Philadelphia on Aug. 4, 1939, to Benjamin and Estelle Shine. He was the 14th of their 16 children and grew up in Germantown.

Rev. Shine’s interest in the ministry began as a child. He was only 8 when he began standing on a milk crate preaching at home and on the sidewalk to neighbors, the family story goes.

He met Barbara Ann Wayns at Germantown High School. They married a few years after they graduated, and their union lasted until his death.

The couple reared four children in West Oak Lane. In his earlier years, Rev. Shine worked as a janitor for Prudential Life Insurance before taking a similar position at Merck Pharmaceuticals.

But by the 1970s, his daughter said, Rev. Shine was working with Merck as an advocate for equality and diversity for Black and other minority employees, she said.

When his children were young, Rev. Shine used to put on movies in the front yard for all the kids on the block, she said: “They were always wholesome, family movies.” He also loved to take his children to the Atlantic City beaches in the summer.

In 1971, the same year he graduated from Manna Bible Institute, he was named pastor of New Umbria Baptist Church, which he led for 14 years.

In May 1985, he and 27 other members met to form the Berachah Baptist Church, now at 6327 Limekiln Pike.

In addition to his daughter, and wife, Rev. Shine is survived by two sons, Robert P. Shine Jr. and Randall Shine; another daughter, Rhonda McKinney; six grandchildren; four sisters; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives.

His memorial service took place last week.