Anthony Garris has been involved with inner-city missions work for over two decades. He studied for the ministry at Christ Independent Bible Institute, now Bible Baptist Institute, under the direction of Christ Independent Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania earning his undergraduate degree in Pastoral Theology. Before Pastor Garris came to Christ, God used many people in his life as witnessing tools including his mother, brother, and a man named Jack Wood who continually planted the seed by giving Pastor Garris gospel tracts. An injury that caused damage to his knee would eventually bring his thoughts over to the spiritual. He decided to give church a try when he was invited to Ontario Street Baptist Church by Pastor Victor Rivera. After attending a service, Pastor Rivera sent two men to follow up with Pastor Garris and that visit, on December 9, 1990, would change his life forever as Pastor Garris called on Christ to save him.
God continued to work on his heart as he attended Ontario Street Baptist Church and while attending a Missions Conference in 1991, Pastor Garris felt God’s call to preach. That desire led him to missions work where he grew a passion for the people of Camden, NJ and the problems they face in that city. Camden, NJ is frequently cited as the most dangerous city in the United States by various web statistics and media coverage. Violent crimes are prevalent and its community is recognized by declining property values and a failing educational system. NBC News, in a 2013 report, noted Camden's struggle in poverty with a "30 to 40 percent" unemployment rate. The only thing that can turn Camden around is the saving power of Christ and the dedicated preaching of the Scriptures that Pastor Garris has committed to do.
Pastor Anthony Garris started East Camden Baptist Church while still training for the ministry in the Bible Institute. The church continued to thrive and merged with Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pennsauken, NJ three years after its inception. Pastor Garris served as Pastor of that recently merged ministry until he was able to train another man to take the work so more churches can be started. In April 2008, a new Pastor was called to take over Emmanuel Baptist Church; and, shortly thereafter, Pastor Garris founded Inner-City Baptist Church in Camden, NJ. The church continues to grow and has become a beacon of truth in the city of Camden. Pastor Garris serves as our fully supported missionary with his wife Brenda in the mission field of Camden, New Jersey.