Annie L. Duncan, a longtime church leader, had a knack for making the Gospel practical and understandable, especially to young people.

"She showed how the Gospel could apply to everyday life," said her daughter, Gloria Whiting.

Annie would gather young people around her and pray with them and teach them the practical truth of the Bible, her daughter said.

Annie Duncan, who founded the Holy Ghost Crusade Church in North Philadelphia, and was a spiritual leader who took her dedication and compassion to wherever it was most needed, died Dec. 17. She was 83 and lived in West Oak Lane.

She was born in Bulloch County, Ga., to Samuel Jones and the former Susie Young. She moved to Philadelphia as a teenager after her mother died. She was raised by an aunt, Mollie Whitner.

While living in North Philadelphia, Annie became an unofficial social worker, helping the needy with practical and spiritual nourishment.

She also became involved with the United House of Prayer for All People, at 12th and Poplar streets, where she served as an usher.

She met Willie Duncan there, and they were married on Aug. 17, 1944. He died in 1979, and in 1989 she married Bishop Johnnie Roberson.

Her church, Holy Ghost Crusade, started in her home, then moved to a storefront at 25th and Sharswood streets, and finally to its present home on Bailey Street below Cecil B. Moore Avenue, North Philadelphia.

"She was a wise and sincere spiritual leader," her daughter said, "and a very kind and caring person. She lent a helping hand to whoever needed it."

Annie's spiritual mission took her around the U.S., and she served as an assistant diocesan missionary for the Northwestern Diocese of the First Born Church of the Living God for more than 10 years.

She was honored by former mayor Wilson Goode for her church work.

She also is survived by two other daughters, Loretta Evans and Joyce Duncan; two sons, Elder Alfred H. Duncan and Bishop Leroy Duncan; 17 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by another son, Willie Duncan Jr.

Services: 10 a.m. today at Shiloh Apostolic Temple, 1500 W. Master St. A viewing was to be held last evening at Holy Ghost Crusade Church. Burial will be in Rolling Green Memorial Park, West Chester.