A co-founder of New Covenant Church of Philadelphia dies


Dr. Hyacinth Bobb Grannum, a beloved pastor, mentor, and leader of New Covenant Church of Philadelphia on Germantown Avenue, died May 31 after a long illness.

Bobb Grannum, known for her infectious smile and wisdom as well as her sense of decorum and etiquette, was a woman of God who had a remarkable ability to make strangers feel cherished. 

Born on August 24, 1942, in Chateaubelair, St. Vincent, Bobb Grannum was the first child of the Reverend Dr. Douglas Campbell Josiah Bobb and Myrtle Agnes Rohlehr (Pollard) Bobb.

Assuming responsibility for her younger siblings and cousins early in life, she began her commitment to the church at a young age. She attended high school at Bishops' High School in Georgetown, Guyana, where she excelled as a student and graduated in 1962.

In 1965, Bobb Grannum moved to the United States. She and her mother, Myrtle, enrolled at the Community College of Philadelphia, becoming members of its inaugural graduating class two years later, in 1967.

That same year, she married the Reverend C. Milton Grannum. She continued her studies, however, and in 1970 she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Temple University. 

Upon graduation, she directed her focus toward raising a family and nurturing her children's education at home. Her children fondly remember her playing the piano and inventing personalized songs, fostering a deep appreciation for classical music.

While her husband pastored the High Street Church of God, Hyacinth became famous for her mouthwatering homemade bread and delectable bread pudding. Her children remember the couple successfully building an Amway business while maintaining a well-kept home.

In 1982, the Grannums established the New Covenant Church of Philadelphia. Bobb Grannum, affectionately known as Pastor Hyacinth, played a crucial role as a founding pastor and provided spiritual guidance to the congregation.

Under Bobb Grannum’s stewardship, the church experienced remarkable growth, actively pursuing its vision of positively impacting Philadelphia and the larger community. Notable milestones during her tenure included the acquisition of the present 42-acre campus, the organization of vacation Bible schools across the city, and the construction of a 56-unit senior housing facility.

Her influence also extended beyond the city, with a ministry that took her to countries such as the United Kingdom, South Africa, South Korea, the Cayman Islands, St. Vincent, Jamaica, Barbados, Kenya, and her home country of Guyana, South America. 

In addition to their pastoral duties in Philadelphia, the Grannums provided leadership to several churches in Guyana, where her dedication and Christian leadership were recognized in 1997 with an honorary doctorate in divinity from Jameson Christian College. In 2008, she was ordained as a minister by the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), and she served on the credentialing committee for District 41.

Ministry to women held a special place in Bobb Grannum’s heart. Alongside her dear friend, the late Rev. Dr. Eve Fenton, she co-founded Women in Covenant, a transformative ministry that touched the lives of thousands of women. She expanded her reach to mentor young women, participated in the Delaware Valley Pastors' Wives Association, and established "Women of Vision and Virtue" at New Covenant Church.

From the inception of the United Negro College Fund's annual "Women of Faith for Education Afternoon Tea" in 2015, Bobb Grannum wholeheartedly supported the event as a presenting sponsor, advisor, and committee member. In 2022, her efforts were acknowledged with the prestigious "Keeper of the Flame" award, which was subsequently renamed in her honor. She also privately provided support to missionaries and widows of pastors across the globe.

According to her children, family always remained a high priority for Bobb Grannum, and her face would “light up with joy” as she proudly shared photos and entertaining stories of her grandchildren.

She is survived by her husband, Rev. Bishop Dr. C. Milton Grannum, siblings Rev. Daphne Bobb, Mrs. Avril Cromes (Larry), Mrs. Hilary Selman (Jay), Mr. Douglas Bobb, and Rev. Joy Bobb. She is also survived by her children, Dwayne Grannum, Esq., Dr. Gillian Grannum, Aubrey Grannum, Rev. Andrew Grannum (Chivas), and Samuel Grannum (Samantha). and grandchildren, Andrew Grannum, Jr., Alexander Grannum, Ari Grannum, Savannah Grannum, and Scynce Grannum. She was preceded in death by her sister, Pastor Myrtle Asala Bobb, and her parents. 

A service in celebration of Bobb Grannum is scheduled for Saturday, June 17, at 9 a.m. in the sanctuary of New Covenant Church, 7500 Germantown Ave.