American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

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2017 Coming Together for New Jersey

 


Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey when it hit the East Coast in October 2012. A joint effort of ABHMS and American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, “Coming Together for New Jersey…Rebuild, Renew and Restore” provides another mission opportunity to serve, July 8-15, 2017. Here's a great shot of our volunteer team.

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 7/9/2017
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Pastor Ward Beers
Permanent Certification

 

Congratulations to Pastor Ward Beers who recently received Permanent Certification at Breedtown Baptist in Titusville. Ward is an exceptional brother in Christ, and great pastoral leader. He and his wife Debbie have been seeking the Lord's will for their lives for several years. He is a tremendously humble man of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 7/5/2017
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Riverside Pastors' Breakfast

Get there any way you can! Here's Rev. Jeff Evans (New Hope Community Church in Broomall) on his ride to the Riverside Pastors' Breakfast. Way to go Pastor Jeff!

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 7/5/2017
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Logan's Valley Baptist Church
Community Garden

Rev Funteller Jackson sent pictures of the Logan's Valley Baptist Church in Bellwood, PA working on the community garden at their church. The team was putting down plastic to prevent weeds from springing up. It was great to see this community mission project moving forward. By the church family offering space in the community for a garden the congregation maintains a connect to the neighborhood. Thanks Pastor Funteller for sharing these photos of the church doing missional outreach!

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 7/5/2017
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La Paz Mexico
Multi-Generational Mission Trip

 

 

This mission trip was designed to create serving opportunities for all ages. Volunteers partnered with two ministries in La Paz, Mexico, to help them as they try to reach the neighboring communities with God's love and a hope for a brighter future.

Church Plant - One of the churches is Primera Iglesia Bautista de La Paz (FBC La Paz). It is one of the Baptist congregations in the city of La Paz. They are active in many kinds of ministry and have thriving discipleship ministries. We helped FBC, La Paz, with a church plant in the town of Los Planes. The church in Los Planes has outgrown its current structure, which it is renting, and has begun construction on a new structure, on property that it owns. Pastor Juan Carlos is pastor of this church and is eager to complete the new structure so that they can stop paying rent on the first property. 

 

 

 

  

Ranch El Camino - Volunteers helped to get the 40-acre camp ready for their summer camp programs. There was construction work, gardening, painting and more! They also spent some time each day in the local community serving families and children with Pastor Juan Jose Murua.... playing sports like baseball, softball, soccer or volleyball.

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries ~ Date: 7/2/2017
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Pastor David Myers Retirement

 

The congregation at Elizabeth Baptist Church in southwest PA gathered to celebrate the 33 years of ministry of Pastor David and Tara Myers who retired today after serving for twelve years.

 

Their daughter-in-law played the piano and provided special music, along with the choir.

 

Pastor David's message focused on the church's need to do evangelism, sharing our faith wherever, whenever, with whoever by being present in the present.

 

Following the worship service a wonderful buffet lunch was provided in the fellowship hall with a program lead by the head of the church's deacon board with a time given for people to share their thanks and memories which many folks did. During his more than three decades of professional ministry, Pastor David served several churches in WV where he was born and raised, as well as several in PA. Pray for this church and all other congregations seeking new pastoral leadership.

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 7/1/2017
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VBS Walkchalk Salem Baptist Church

  

Rev. Chuck Layne from the Walkchalk Salem Baptist Church near Kittanning, PA, sent this message and lots of photos taken during their recent Vacation Bible School.

 

 

 

They used the Mighty Fortress VBS curriculum, and held it in June 4-8 with a closing program on the 9th. They had an average of 17 students each night.


A little explanation of the photo of me with sword & shield: I was a little bit in character with sword & shield. The paper strands are my chain mail armor (imagination required).  

We received offerings throughout the week for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox postage & a World Vision fresh water well project being sponsored by our children's Sunday School classes. So each night, I would add new links to my armor for every dollar received. I ended up with over 320 links! Which kept getting trickier to get into each night. I also did not have a helmet to wear, so I resorted to other silly hats from previous Bible Schools.

 

A good VBS that reached the children in our church and others from our communities.

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 7/1/2017
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Familiar Faces in Portland

 

The ABCUSA Biennial Mission Summit is underway at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Who's there? Check out some of the familiar faces that Frank Frischkorn has met:

I just started through the Hall of Ministries and ran into Ryan at the AMOS booth! Ryan is a lay leader from the North Hills Community Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, who is volunteering at the booth this week! I got to meet Christy Lafferty as well. 

 

Great to catch up with my friends from Royersford! Pastor's Alan and Karen Selig and IM staffer Stan Slade....

 

Here's Roland Shanks. Since leaving West Shore Baptist Church, Camp Hill, over thirteen years ago, Roland has been serving as a pastor in the Northwest.

 

I met David and Patty Bilyeu this morning. David is a Pastor at the church where Erika Spring (recently recommended for ordination by the Pittsburgh Baptist Association and daughter of Tim and Pauline Spring) serves as an associate in the Great Rivers Region. Patty is a newly called staff member on the Great Rivers Region staff...she officially starts tomorrow. Please pray for her!

 

A few of our servants from the Office of the General Secretary , Drs. Al Fletcher and Jeff Woods. Al (on the left) is the Interim Associate General Secretary for Mission Resource Development and Jeff (on the right) serves as the Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries.

 

I had the joy of sitting with Thelma Lowthert (First English Baptist Church in Bloomsburg) this evening. Thelma is super excited about the mission trip to Alaska that is coming up the end of August. Hopefully it will be a little cooler than Portland is right now!

 

I caught up with Pastor George Herrick this afternoon in the Hall of Ministries. George and his wife Gladys are currently serving an Interim in the Living Waters Association of ABC of NYS. 

 

It was a blessing to share the MMBB Luncheon with Pastor Steve Brotzman and his wife, Annette (Pastor, FBC, Beaver Falls) and Brian Smith, newly endorsed IM missionary to Haiti. Brian and his wife Lynette have their roots at FBC, Cambridge Springs, and are currently in language school out in Bloomington, Indiana to learn Creole.

 

One of the joys of Mission Summit gatherings are connected with dear friends, and Pastors Jim and Hazel Oldham definitely fit that bill! Jim served with us on regional staff as interim Area Minister in Pittsburgh Baptist Association a number of years ago, and they are enjoying retirement in the Dakotas.

 

So much fun to share a meal with Pastor Rusty and Michelene Horning! They serve at FBC, Shinglehouse and thoroughly enjoy coming to the Mission Summit!

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General ~ Date: 6/30/2017
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Rev Gary Bruland Retirement

On June 25th, the West Shore Baptist Church in Camp Hill held a retirement celebration for Rev. Gary Bruland. Pastor Gary and his wife Esther have been at the church for over 12 years. The congregation thanked both Pastor Gary and Esther for their faithful service and dedication to ministry during morning worship and held a luncheon following the service. A number of people delivered messages of gratitude including Moderator for the church, and ABCOPAD President Doug Hill, and our own Regional Executive Pastor Frank Frischkorn. Special thanks to Pastor Gary and Esther for their partnership in ministry.

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 6/30/2017
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West Shore Associate Pastor

 

The West Shore Baptist Church (Harrisburg Association) welcomed into membership their Associate Pastor Greg Kabakjian and his wife Alexis. Pastor Greg and Alexis were married last month. They are special couple and it was easy to see how happy they are being in love and serving Jesus at West Shore. 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 6/30/2017
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June 2017 Notes & News


Notes and News
June 2017

Growth Points June 2017

The June edition of Notes & News, Thoughts & Views is now available

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 6/16/2017
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Beaver Falls Pentecost

 

Jeff writes:
I spent Pentecost Sunday morning in the town of Beaver Falls, where Rev. Steve Brotzman is pastor of First Baptist Church and former administrator for our Church Leadership Institute. But, I wasn't at First Baptist. Over a half dozen churches (mainline, Pentecostal, independent) in town cancelled their own worship services in their own buildings and gathered in the auditorium in the local high school for a Church service with a capital "C". It was awesome to see cultural, gender, generational, and denominational diversity participating in the service and present for the gathering. Pastor Steve led the prayer time receiving requests and then asking someone in the gathering to commit to intercede for the spoken need for the next week. I provided the morning message and led an invitation at the end where many people responded by coming to pray with the pastors. Communion was then shared. A choir made up of members of the various churches provided special music. A true foretaste of heaven!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 6/5/2017
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FBC of Blossburg 150th Anniversary

 

The First Baptist Church of Blossburg celebrated 150 years of faithful ministry. Lay Leader Ralph Mundis and the other leaders put together a wonderful service of remembrance and challenge. Interim Pastor Jim Shay couldn't be present so retired Pastor John Shypelefski brought the message this morning.

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 6/3/2017
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Pittsburgh Baptist Association
Ordination Council

 

North Hills Community Baptist Church hosted the ordination council called by the Pittsburgh Baptist Association for Miss Erika Spring. Rev. Alan Berg, chair of the association's clergy and church relations council and pastor of the South Hills Community Baptist Church presided. Among a couple dozen supportive folks from her home, North Hills Community, pastors and delegates from nine different churches in the association gathered to question Erika about her theological beliefs, life experiences, and her call to ministry. Among the various things shared, Erika mentioned her desire to eventually become a prison chaplain. Right now she is serving as a children's minister in a church in Indiana. Erika has a real heart for Biblical justice as well as missions, having gone several times to Nicaragua with her home church, partnering with the AMOS ministry with which our region works. Erika's father, Rev. Tim Spring, is pastor of the North Hills Church. When Erika was asked what lessons for ministry she learned from him she shared #1 know your boundaries and know when to say no and #2 have a deep and profound love for people. In the end, those gathered blessed Erika's call and sent word to the word to conduct a formal ordination service which will be held in the near future. Of course, being Baptists, a time of fellowship with food followed the examination. 

 


 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 6/3/2017
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FBC Factoryville ABW

 

AB Women of First Baptist Church of Factoryville (Abington Association) assembled 170 health kits for Mennonite Community Central to be distributed overseas and overland. Items collected were hand towels, soap, toothbrushes and nailclippers.

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/29/2017
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Salem Walk Chalk Baptist Church
Mother-Daughter Banquet

Mark Mahserjian-Smith had a chance to visit with Pastor Chuck Layne at the Salem Walk Chalk Baptist Church near Kittanning. The congregation was holding its annual Mother and Daughter banquet. About 80 ladies including little ones, moms, and grandmoms attended this exciting event. Pastor Chuck allowed me to join the men of the church cooking the food and serving the banquet. See the complete photo album HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2017
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GraceCrossing Community Church Installation

Recently, Fred Ewald (ABCOPAD Search Consultant) and Kevin Walden were honored to be a part of the Installation Service for Rev. Dan McDowell at GraceCrossing in Phoenixville, PA. A lot of wonderful childhood friends from Emporium and Seminary friends joined in the service. God bless you Pastor Dan and Terry!


 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2017
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Bethlehem Baptist Ruff Creek

 

On Mother's Day, Jeff and Karen Johnson spent the morning with the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Ruff Creek, just outside of Waynesburg. Jeff was filling in for Pastor David Earnest who with his wife Amy and their two sons were in China getting their two adopted sons.

 

After attending Sunday School, Jeff during worship with the help of a few young men presented all the ladies of the church with a white carnation which is the official flower of Mother's Day. To ladies in the church shared their personal testimonies of having a godly mother and mother-in-law.

 

Jeff then preached the morning message and invited folks to come forward to pray which individuals did. Jeff and Karen then visited family in the area since both their mothers and Karen's grandmother live in SW PA. Jeff preached at Bethlehem Baptist in his teens back in the very early 1980's when Ron Evans, former ABCOPAD area minister, was the pastor and became one of Jeff's mentors. There are still folks there now who remembered him then.

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2017
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2017 FBC Reading

On Mother's Day, Kevin Walden joined FBC Reading for Sunday School and Worship. Interim Pastor David Turley is doing a wonderful ministry among the people. In Sunday School they are doing a walk through of the book of Genesis, chapter by chapter, which was very interesting and everyone was actively interacting. In worship, the Bell Choir shared both in the prelude and special music; they did an excellent job. Mothers were all given a beautiful red carnation.

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2017
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2017 Clergy Ethics Course

Our clergy ethics course was recently held at West Shore Baptist Church in Camp Hill, PA. Pastors Tim Munson and Kevin Walden are teaching the annual course this year. The conversation has been lively and deep! How would you describe the relationship between morals and ethics?

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2017
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Camp Carmel 2017 Spring Clean Up

 

Jeff Johnson dropped by Camp Carmel for a couple hours during their annual work weekend. There are more than fifty people from more than a half dozen different churches (Olive Branch, Redeeming Grace, FBC-Connellsville, East Mahoning, FBC-Jeannette, Mount Moriah, Bethlehem) from three different associations (Laurel, Monongahela, Ten Mile) that came during the weekend to get things ready for the camping season that begins in one month.

 

There was grass cutting, wood chopping, staining new cabin doors...

 

...building new benches at the basketball court (the original ones were constructed 25 years ago when I was the chairman of the camp's board of directors). There were also ventilation fans installed in cabins.

 

Protruding rocks were also broken up on the camp road for better access.

 

While there, I presented the camp's treasurer (Chris Carson) and the camp's secretary (Josh Iams) with a grant check which they plan to use to provide new believer materials to campers who make a first time commitment to Christ, also resources to their counselors, as well as follow up materials to send to the campers after they return home. Chris and I were campers in Carmel forty years ago. I was BOTH Josh's camp pastor AND home pastor when I served the North Ten Mile Baptist Church.

 

The two men at the table saw are Chris King (foreground, the camp board chairman) and Curtis Kemp (background, a camp board member who goes back in time to being at Carmel some fifty plus years ago when he was a member as a kid at the recently closed Mount Pleasant Baptist Church). LOTS of history here friends and I am thankful for all of it. Some of my closest relationships/friendships that still exist today started in this place.

Don't forget that our ABW have been collecting for almost a year now, contributions for six camps related to our region. Their efforts will culminate at their annual conference in July. Their goal is $15,000 which will be shared among the six camps within ABCOPAD. To know more about their efforts as well as contribute, check out their webpage: http://www.abcopad.org/Ministries/ABWM/Our-2016-2017-Region-Mission-Project.aspx

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2017
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Upland Baptist Church Worship

Kevin Walden recently joined Upland Baptist Church for worship. Rev. Brenda Shaw is the pastor. Pastor Brenda had an excellent sermon on judging! Her husband John led the Bell Choir in several numbers, and they did an excellent job leading us in worship. Brenda is a great leader in the Riverside Association, and great regional partner. It was a joy to be with them.

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2017
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Northumberland Baptist Association

The Northumberland Baptist Association held a Certification Council this afternoon for Debra Marker at the Montandon Baptist Church where Pastor Ron Wagner is serving as the Interim Pastor. Happily, the gathered delegates unanimously affirmed Deb for Certification by the Montandon congregation at an upcoming service.

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2017
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Mount Moriah Baptist Church
Worship Celebrations

I spent the morning at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church. Attended one of their adult Sunday School classes taught by the chair of their diaconate board. They are going through the book of Matthew and parked on chapter 14, discussing calling and sending the disciples for mission and ministry.

 

I then, on the front end of their morning worship service, had the blessing of dedicating to the Lord Taleah Daryl Edgar, the five-month-old daughter of Pastor Darrell and Joyce Edgar. Their five-year-old Tasso also participated.

 

I was privileged to preach the morning message and during the invitation time various people came forward to pray, some with the pastor for the lost, the church, their loved ones, as well as themselves.

 

On the way out, I had the blessing of meeting Madelyn "Tootie" Morgan who turned 96 today.

 

Also, Ian Eckert turned nine. In the picture with him is his dad (Paul), his mom (Christy), and his sister (Emma). Ian gave out cookies in celebration of the occasion. I didn't get a pic of the cookie I was given, as it didn't last long enough to take a picture :-) lol

 

It was a WONDERFUL day to celebrate individual families and the church family. Oh, by the way, Pastor Darrell and Paul Eckert were both campers at Camp Carmel when I served as the camp pastor years ago.

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2017
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The Empty Chair

While at Bethlehem Baptist, Ruff Creek, over the last weekend, Jeff Johnson noticed a handful of chairs throughout the building in the fellowship hall, Sunday School classrooms, the sanctuary, and the overflow area with a piece of paper attached to each. It is a prayer practice that I have advocated for years, The Empty Chair prayer. I have shared it a lot throughout our region and the country. Bethlehem took my words to heart some time ago by placing these reminders to pray for the people that aren't yet at the church but are coming. They come in, not because we open the doors at a given time, but rather the church goes out through those open doors, makes meaningful connections with people in their spheres of influence, and brings those individuals back with them to fill these unoccupied but prayed for spaces. Actually, when these new folks come in, they are asked to take the paper off the chair, take that seat, and put the paper on another chair or space and pray now along with the rest of the church for the next person who will come. Usually the new person will bring the next person since they more than anymore know unchurched people. Your church should give this a try. It raises everyone's expectations.

 


 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/17/2017
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ABCOPAD and Volunteers in Mission

 

A team from ABCOPAD met with Rev. Dr. Adalia Gutierrez Lee, International Ministries Area Director of Iberoamerica and Caribbean ministries. Along with Rev. Adalia, Rev. Sandra Dorsainvil and Emily Ferrin, who watch over volunteer mission trips, introduced themselves. Pastor John Dorean from Jefferson Baptist Church and Jonathan Johnson from FBC Waynesburg, seeking to do missionary work in Grand Goave, Haiti, met with this team to share their vision. Our own Frank Frischkorn pulled together the group. It was a great meeting dreaming about future ministry in Haiti. 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 5/9/2017
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2017 Spring Region Board

 

The ABCOPAD Regional Board gathered in Breezewood for our Spring Board Meeting. It was great hearing about so many wonderful stories of great ministries taking place in our Region. Despite a very rainy day, the Son was shining throughout the meeting. Lots of pics of leaders offering their reports of praise to our God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/9/2017
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FBC Lancaster Installation

 

First Baptist Church of Lancaster held an installation service for their new pastor, Rev Luminitza Nichols. Members of the congregation along with pastoral leaders from the Harrisburg Association and the Central Union Association along with many guests joined in the celebration. Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan Associate Professor of Church History at Palmer Theological Seminary brought the message, Rev. Dr. Frank Frischkorn gave the charge to the pastor and congregation and Rev Brad Lacey the installation prayer. Many others participated in the celebration. It was a great day of rejoicing for all our partners in ministry. Many more pictures in this photo album.

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/9/2017
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Luther Wesley Smith Education Award

Congratulations to our own Rev. Eric Kraihanzel for winning the prestigious Luther Wesley Smith Education Award for faithful, effective leadership in strengthening Christian education at an American Baptist-related college or seminary. This award is presented by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies. 

 


 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General ~ Date: 5/4/2017
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MacKenzie Scott Farewell

Following an evening fellowship dinner last night, the church family at FBC, Lewisburg said farewell to Rev. MacKenzie Scott today as he concluded his ministry as Pastor. The service was filled with a host of beautiful music, including two selections played on the bagpipes. An added blessing for Pastor Mac was having his two sons, Sam and James, serve as worship leaders. Following the service, a reception was held for Mac and his wife Lisa, along with their two sons.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/2/2017
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DaVinci Last Supper

The Last Supper Drama was presented at Moreland Baptist Church on Maundy Thursday. This was their 30th year of this production. The men of Moreland Baptist recreated DaVinci's masterpiece and revealed their own struggles with their own thoughts on who would betray Jesus. "Is it I, Lord? Is it I?"

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 4/14/2017
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Liberty Baptist, Blanchard, Seder

 

This year, members of Liberty Baptist Church of Blanchard gathered together to observe the Passover Seder. Pastor Christopher Davis led the event, following the Haggadah fulfilling the Scriptural commandment to each Jew to "tell your son" of the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus in the Torah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 4/14/2017
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Calvary Baptist Allentown
Easter Egg Hunt

 

At Calvary Baptist Church (Allentown), on Palm Sunday, there was lots of fun following the worship service. A festive luncheon for all ages, with a Easter Egg Hunt, was hosted by you-know-who!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 4/14/2017
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FBC Factoryville Crosswalk

 

Good Friday crosswalk from FBC Factoryville down to Keystone college and then to the elementary school and back to the church. Remembering Jesus and the cross he had to carry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 4/14/2017
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Grilled Cheeses and Jesus

 

[written by Tom Parkins]

Calvary, Newark, successfully launched a new mission outreach this past Friday.  "Grilled Cheeses and Jesus".   

St. Patrick's Day is a huge party day on the University of Delware campus. This year, on a Friday, it was even bigger. Literally on the pathway to and from party time, we hoped to offer a bit of sanity and a touch of God's love. We decided to set up next to the sidewalk and offer free grilled cheese sandwiches, BBQ, hot dogs, snacks, sodas, coffee, and hot hot chocolate from 11PM - 2AM. (Bars close at 1 AM). We would also offer free prayers. As it turned out, one of our members actually had a grilled cheese sandwich maker that imprints the face of Jesus! How cool was that!

We had about 75 students and friends stop by. Only one was terribly tipsy. The students were very