American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

Abcopad Blog!

April 2017 Notes & News

 

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

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 4/20/2017
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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 appreciative, and many stayed to chat and a few asked for a prayer. We did not preach or push any tracts. We did have church brochures available and made up a little "fun facts" of St. Patrick. One student, after eating a few hot dogs, said, "This is the most awesome thing that ever happened to me." His life must have been somewhat depressing, but I think that this was probably the first time that anybody had randomly done something nice for him.

A small add-on. A young couple came by "early" in the evening (like midnight is early). It turns out that they were not students, but homeless. They had been evicted from the apartment that day and were on the street that night. They were hoping to connect with friends to find a place to stay. We said a prayer, and they departed. About "closing time," after 2 AM, they returned. No luck. What would they do? To shorten the story, I invited them to stay in the church, gave them some blankets to sleep on the narthex floor. I stayed with them. The next morning, I found a few backpacks, gave them a few bucks, took them to McDonalds, and showed them where the bus stop was. They were most appreciative. When you say that prayer, "Dear God help these people," it is a dangerous prayer. God will use you to help them. I had to lead a bunch of elementary school students in science projects all day Saturday. God gave me the best student helpers ever. I cruised through the day.

A few pictures. The forecast called for mixed rain and snow, but it never did anything. The wind was very light which made it much more pleasant.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 3/20/2017
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Eric Kraihanzel Installation Lansdale

 

Rev Eric Kraihanzel was surrounded by his family at the installation service at FBC Lansdale. His wife Heather was by his side along with their sons. Eric's mom was present and Eric's brother Kris prayed a beautiful installation prayer. The Kraihanzel family have been and continue to be great partners in ministry and significant disciples in Jesus' Kingdom.

A full photo album is available HERE 

 

 


 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 3/6/2017
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ECBC Retirement Honors

 

 

Donna Dunn retired on Sunday, February 26, from 33 years of service as the Director of Music for Exton Community Baptist Church. Her music ministry has spanned a remarkable 49 years, with ECBC claiming 67% of those years. At the Sunday service and reception Donna was honored for her dedication and for the joy and inspiration she has contributed to worship.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 2/28/2017
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Got Style?

 

After a weekend at First Baptist Church, Bethlehem, Jeff Johnson had lunch with Dr. Riddick Weber and Dr. Jill Peters, both professors at Moravian Seminary in Bethlehem. Hearing that Jeff would be in town, they asked Pastor Dale Miller to arrange a meeting. Both professors use Jeff's book, Got Style?, in their seminary courses. Great ideas were exchanged around the table on how all could use the resource even more effectively than they already do. 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 2/27/2017
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Prayers Welcome!

 

Last fall, Calvary, Newark, installed a prayer box on the main side walk in front of the church. Calvary is unique in that they have perhaps a couple thousand passes daily on that sidewalk, mostly University students. The church created a simple card and placed them in a weather resistant box. There's not a high volume of prayer request, but much of what they receive are very serious needs.

 

The specific prayer concerns are shared directly with a prayer warriors team. General concerns are shared with the congregation. It is a test of faith to pray for somebody you do not know, and knowing that they will likely never learn the answer to the prayer. Nevertheless... The fervent prayers of the righteous avail much!

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 2/24/2017
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NOTES NEWS --- February 2017

Now available online

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 2/22/2017
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First English Baptist, Bloomsburg,
Worship

A look at the worship service at the First English Baptist Church of Bloomsburg. The service included special music from the Praise team, choir and the children's bell choir. Pastor Lee Barnhart delivered a message about being "salt and light" in our world. Following the message the church celebrated Communion.

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 2/13/2017
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East Smithfield Worship and Baptism

 

What a wonderful day at East Smithfield (PA) Federated Church! A wonderful Sunday School class followed by an awesome worship service crowned with 3 baptisms! To God be the glory!!! Pastor Tim Robson was a student in our regional lay minister academy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/31/2017
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LLC Southwestern PA

Jeffrey Johnson met with some of the members of his LLC in southwestern Pennsylvania. They gathered at the home of Pastor Darrell and Joyce Edgar who right before Christmas welcomed a new baby into their lives and into their home, Taleah; their second child. Some of the members of the LLC weren't able to make it to their monthly meeting due to illness, or the need to be with a family in their church. Present were Pastor David Earnest, Pastor Cristy Wise. Pastor Darrell Edgar, and Pastor Chris McClaughlin (not pictured).

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/12/2017
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FBC / West Hills Ministries

 

As featured in "The Herald" (Sharon, PA)

________________________________________ 

 

SHARON – The Rev. Cindy Swogger knows when school is officially over for the day.

She doesn’t glance at the clock or wait for a bell to ring. She listens for the footsteps and the sounds of children coming down the stairs at West Hill Ministries.

“They make a joyful noise,” she said.

And she would not have it any other way.

Meeting the needs of the children of Sharon’s West Hill neighborhood and giving them a place to go after school has been more than just a job for Swogger and the volunteers and staff who have kept the program going for, now, more than 25 years.

It is a mission, and a labor of love, she says.

West Hill Ministries, which is housed in First Baptist Church on West State Street, started as a once-a-week after-school program.

“We had no clue that 25 years later we would still be doing this,” Swogger said.

Swogger came to the program after a career in private business. She had been working with the youth ministry at First Baptist under the direction of Senior Pastor Robert Trojak when she decided to go to the seminary. After completing her education, she started working full-time. Eventually, she took on the job of director of what would be a new program for children.

The initial funding came as a gift from a local business, but keeping the programs funded was not so easy.

“We never got another dime – the business fell on hard times,” Swogger said. “But the Lord has provided for us.”

From Day 1, she said the focus was simple: There were children who needed a place to go and communities that needed their churches.

“There were children everywhere,” she said. “I have always thought churches needed to do something for them.”

And a place to go after school is not all West Hill offers. A clothing closet and other support programs also are available for families.

“Anyone can come in (to the closet) and get whatever they need for their kids,” Swogger said.

The program has thrived and uses not just First Baptist, but First United Methodist and St. Joseph’s Church facilities for children of a variety of ages. There are about 70 children at West Hill, 60 at St. Joe’s and 25 at First Methodist, where there is a teen program. There are plans – hopes, really – to start a sports-centered program at First United Methodist.

Funding now comes mostly from grants and some private donations.

The churches that host the programs assume some of the financial obligations – mostly associated with the costs of the facilities themselves. Their parishioners offer support as well.

“Local organizations also support our efforts, not always with money,” Swogger said. “But money always helps.”

The children have opportunities to go to camp – with the older children acting as camp counselors – as well as on trips when tickets are donated.

“It is an opportunity to get the children out of their little world and to see a bigger possibility,” Swogger said. “It gives them a chance to dream.”

Recent grant cutbacks have hurt the program lately, limiting some of the offerings for the children.

More of the grant money offered these days is designated for community development opportunities, Swogger said. She said she thinks West Hill’s mission fits right in with that objective.

The children in her program, she said, are this community’s future.

“Some of the kids we work with, some of them are not going to leave to go to college,” she said. “They are not going anywhere. We need to find something for them to do – and to show them that they can have a chance at a future.”

And some of the alumni from West Hill have gone on to find just that – a future.

One young woman is working in an after-school program in New York City, while another, a young man who attended Slippery Rock University, just came back at Thanksgiving to tell Swogger he is running a Salvation Army unit.

And the influence West Hill Ministries has is generational as well.

“There are kids who have married and now we have their children,” Swogger said.

The programs are designed to be local.

“We try to have programs for neighborhoods,” Swogger said. “It is nice to have it where kids can walk, but it is up to the parents to get them here.”

She said some of the children the program serves come from challenging environments, but is quick to point out that labels don’t always come in one size fits all.

“It is easy to tag them as underprivileged,” she said. “But I would say that there are many ways to be underprivileged – and it is not always economic.”

She said the West Hill program is not just about the children, either.

“The longer I do this, the more convinced I am that if you want to reach the kids, you have to reach the family,” she said.

Although the program is faith-based, Swogger said she works to make sure that families feel welcome and accepted.

And while the “church” label can be a barrier initially, it can be overcome eventually, she said, because the bottom line is that the parents, Swogger, her staff and the volunteers, all want the same thing.

“No matter what kind of person they are, they all still want what is best for their kids,” she said. “And if they see you are on their side, they relax.”

The children at West Hill are expected to live up to their end of the bargain, too. There are rules, Swogger says, and consequences for less than desirable behavior.

Positive reinforcements and rewards are how she gets the children to understand that they have a responsibility, too. She said she rarely has a serious issue with any of her kids.

“Most of the time, we try to work on changing the behavior,” she said. “Even when they are horrendous, and I have to be stern, they know that we will move on. I don’t hold it against them.”

But no matter what happens, and even when they are having a bad day, Swogger says she wants the children to know, they are in a safe, accepting and secure place to be themselves.

“Kids are like everyone else,” she said. “They want you to listen to them and to care.”

Swogger said the ministry would be nowhere without its volunteers. One of them, Joanna Slater, has been there since the beginning.

“We tease her that she is good – for nothing,” Swogger said.

Slater said she is there for one reason.

“I love the kids,” she said.

And the staff is dedicated, too.

Emily O’Malley has been program director for three years.

She love her job, she says, because of kids.

“They make me laugh,” she said. “They are the best part of my day.”

And caring is Job No. 1 at West Hill, Swogger said.

“When the kids come down the stairs, they find someone who loves them,” she said.

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/9/2017
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by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 12/22/2016
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West Virginia Toy Drive

 

Days after the devastating flooding in West Virginia, where 8 to 10 inches of rain fell back in early summer, it was sad for Jeff to see the piles of gray rubble with brightly colored toys mixed throughout. The toys that weren’t washed away were unsalvageable — either broken or contaminated by polluted water. Most of the parents are without funds. And those who do have money can’t afford to spend it on toys this Christmas.

To address this reality, this past Saturday morning, Jeff arrived at the historic Great Bethel Baptist Church in Uniontown, southwestern PA. He was there to pick up the donations from a two month long toy drive spearheaded by Angie Lawson, the church’s youth director. 

  

Several hundred toys ranging from items for babies up through teenagers were collected from both members of the congregation and kids and their parents of the church sponsored preschool. It took Jeff an hour to do the impossible and pack all these wonderful donations into his rented SUV. Every single one of the donations somehow, some way, somewhere, made it into the four-wheeled sleigh. 

 


 

 

Jeff then drove three hours south to First Baptist Church of Rainelle, West Virginia where David Bush is the pastor. Rainelle was one of the three hardest hit areas in that state. The church had more than three and a half feet of water in their fellowship hall. The congregation quickly cleaned out and cleaned up this space to then serve as a relief center for their community and surrounding area. Our own ABMen sponsored a two week mission trip here back in August. A number of our churches went down to help.

   

Volunteers from the church unloaded the vehicle and put the items out on tables designated for various age groups. Parents came throughout the afternoon to “shop for free” for their children.

 

Our region, through funds acquired through a church closure, gave our neighboring West Virginia Baptist Convention a $10,000 gift to continue their flood relief efforts. Mark Mahserjian-Smith is working with Vickie Goff from ABC Home Mission Societies to coordinate mission trips back down to WV for two weeks next June. The Home Mission Societies partnered in this effort with national staff donating over one hundred toys themselves.

 

Mr. Rogers said that play is the work of childhood. Jeff added to that quote by saying “… and toys are the tools to get that work done!” Over three hundred toys in total were donated. “This act of love will serve two purposes. One, it will put actual toys under family Christmas trees—if they have them—and into children’s hands. Secondly, it will convey to this sister American Baptist Church and region with whom ABCOPAD has a relationship that they and their community are neither forgotten nor forsaken.” Not only do we ABCOPADers get to be Santa’s Sack for Christmas. We also get to be the hands and heart of Jesus.

Special thanks goes out to David Thomas, the Budget rental car agent, who provided the SUV at a very special reduced rate to ABCOPAD/ABHMS to make the transport of all the toys possible.

 

Complete photo album HERE 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 12/21/2016
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FBC, Sharon, Christmas Program

At First Baptist Church, Sharon, the kids from the after school program did a Christmas Program called Joy to the World.  They sang Christmas songs and explained the story of Christmas in their own words and through scripture.  Here are some pictures of the Program and the families that enjoyed Cookies and punch after the show!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 12/20/2016
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Lancaster Area
Retired Pastors Christmas Luncheon

Retired Pastoral Leaders living in the Lancaster Area gathered together at the Shady Maple for a Christmas Luncheon. It was so wonderful spending time with these dear friends. Most of the Regional Pastors were able to be present for the get-together. Delicious meal and amazing fellowship.

 

 

 

During the celebration a number of people shared.

 

Rev Paul Fitzgerald did an awesome monologue as Jesse the inn keeper.

 

 Pastors Kevin and Melody Walden sang an exciting duet.

  

Rev Grace Lawrence-Shirk shared so interesting facts about Santa

 

and both Rev Dan MacDonald and Rev Frank Frischkorn prayed.

 

 

It was a wonderful afternoon at Shady Maple.

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 12/16/2016
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New Hope -- Live Nativity

It's become an annual event at New Hope Christian Church in Broomall, PA. This year's live nativity was enjoyed by a rather large crowd of spectators.  Pleasant weather and a cup of hot cocoa made for a most pleasant evening. Following the outdoor program, guests were welcomed indoors to view a large collection of creches on display in the sanctuary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 12/7/2016
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2016 Abington Association

 

This fall the Abington Association meeting was hosted by United Baptist in Taylor, PA - a little outside of Scranton. It was a wonderfully inspiring time. A complete album of pictures is available HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 11/17/2016
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2016 Catalyst

Many of our ABCOPAD Pastors have gathered together near Lancaster, PA to attend the one day Catalyst Event for church leaders. The primary speakers were Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. A few of us attended the event last year and were inspired. This year we encouraged a bunch of our pastoral leaders to join us for this inspiring time.

The Praise team was incredible, offering time for everyone to simply spend time in God's presence. The speakers were excellent. The ABCOPAD leaders also had opportunity to gathered together to spend time with one another and reflect on the morning's teaching. It was an exciting day!

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 11/13/2016
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Disaster Relief -- Connellsville, PA

An incredible effort by volunteers in Connellsville, PA. The American Baptist Women's Ministries of Pennsylvania and Delaware is partnering with the United Methodist Committee on Relief to help home owners restore their homes and get back on their feet. The Monongahela Baptist Association is providing food and housing for the volunteers. What a witness!

A few shots here. For a complete photo album, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 11/12/2016
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Lower Providence Installation Service

 

Lower Providence Baptist Church conducted an Installation Service for Rev. Charles Guy Coats as their new pastor! According to the church leadership, Pastor "CG" is the 36th pastor in the church's 205 year history! It was a service full of blessings and joys! CG and his wife Liz were overjoyed. More photos HERE.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 11/9/2016
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Discover ABCOPAD

 

The first Discover ABCOPAD event took place in Dover, Delaware, at the home of Gene and Thelma Schaller. The event was led by ABCOPAD Foundation Director of Development Sue MacDonald and ABCOPAD Regional Executive Pastor Frank Frischkorn. 

 

  

The was our first Discover ABCOPAD event under Sue's leadership, designed to share the ABCOPAD ministry with partners in the Region. It was a very successful event with plenty of time for sharing and encouragement. Watch for a Discover ABCOPAD event coming to your area. [More photo HERE.]

 


 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 11/9/2016
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Upper Merion Sunday

 

On Sunday, Jeff spent the day with the Upper Merion Baptist Church, just up the hill from our ABC Mission Center in Valley Forge. During the Sunday School hour, Jeff met with the congregation to talk about vision and direction of the congregation.

 

Pastor Alan Selig, the church's interim, served as the worship leader.

 

Florence Li, a member of the church and Director of Asian Ministries for the ABC Home Mission Societies, did the moment of missions focused on the World Mission Offering.

 

The choir provided special music. Jeff preached. Following an invitation at the end of the service where many in the church came forward to pray, light refreshments including a cake were served to show appreciation to Pastor Alan for his pastoral leadership of the church during their period of transition.

 

After the appreciation time, Jeff met with the search committee to talk further and more fully about vision and direction and its impact on their search for a new seated pastor.


All around the church, everywhere you look, there are 6:49 slips of paper. They indicate the double daily time of prayer for the church by the church wherever they might be, a prayer practice Jeff has taught many churches to use.  

 

6:49 was chosen because it represents the church's founding date (1849) in military time, as seen in the cornerstone of their original building when they were located in the nearby downtown area of Bridgeport before moving to their present location in the 1960's bringing the cornerstone with them and embedding it into the foundation of the new building.

During the appreciation time after worship, Jeff met Sherry. She is a real big prayer warrior. So much so, she goes regularly to the Valley Forge Casino, down the road from the church, and makes her way around the gambling floor, wearing a big, visible badge offering to pray with anyone about anything. Many people take her up on the offer.
 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 11/3/2016
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2016 ABCOPAD Biennial
Leadership Conference

Now it's history... but the events of this year's Biennial Leadership Conference had an impact on so many in attendance! A great keynote speaker, excellent devotional leaders, exciting reports of ministries across the region, wonderful worship... to say nothing of the spirit and fellowship enjoyed by all.

Here are just a few of the photos taken at Altoona. The complete album is available HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/31/2016
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Broad Street Baptist Church

 

On Sunday, Jeffrey Johnson and his family spent the morning with the folks at the Broad Street Baptist Church where Pastor Jay Freudenberg is the pastor. He is an early 2000's CLI graduate and has served this church for nearly eight years. Jeff met with key and core leaders of the church during the Sunday School hour to talk about its vision, its future, and its desire as a smaller church to have a bigger impact for Christ in their community. Jeff preached the morning message. The church has a beautiful three-dimensional baptistery.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/25/2016
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Camp Carmel Fall Festival

 

The Camp Carmel Baptist Camp Fall Gathering was held at the farm of Ralph and Rhonda Gatten south of Pittsburgh. Board members, summer staff, counselors, campers, supporters, and friends gathered for a time of great food, good fun, and wonderful fellowship which included a hayride, corn hole, lots of conversation and catching up, and of course a campfire to wrap up the day with a message by Pastor Gary Schneider of the North Ten Mile Baptist Church. More than a dozen churches were represented at the gathering from both the Ten Mile and Monongahela Baptist Associations. More photos HERE.

 

 

Don't forget that the camps in our region are the year long fundraising emphasis and effort of our American Baptist Women. Check out the video concerning camping ministry in ABCOPAD at http://www.abcopad.org/Ministries/ABWM/Our-2016-2017-Region-Mission-Project.aspx. Rev. Eric Kraihanzel has made a video to talk about the project. Check it out: https://youtu.be/9pFQ06YIYGM 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 10/25/2016
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Monongahela Association Meeting

 

The 184TH Gathering of the Monongahela Baptist Association in the southwest corner of ABCOPAD was held on October 16. The theme for the association's meeting was The Bible, our only authority for what we believe and what we do. Different presentations were made by associational leaders, including Pam Hughes who is our region's ABWomen Coordinator for LoveGift.

 

Paula Sommerfeldt, the ABW coordinator for Missions spoke about the upcoming disaster relief Mission Trip to Connellsville in November. The message for the day was delivered by Pastor Chris McClaughlin of the Indian Creek Baptist Church in Mill Run.

 

Jeff did the installation of officers, based on another Baptist principle, "Every Member A Minister". Diane Dean, the association's moderator, closed out the gathering with an impassioned plea for greater participation and doing together what no one association church could do on its own, the very principle of associational life.

 

A time of good food and good fellowship followed the gathering.

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/18/2016
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Liberty Baptist Blanchard

 

On Sunday, Jeff participated "in style" in the 145th Anniversary celebration and annual Homecoming of the Liberty Baptist Church in Blanchard, in north central Pennsylvania. Jeff dressed in 1871 attire, the year the church was founded. Rev. Chris Davis is the pastor.

 

The leadership presented him a basket of cards and gifts from the church as their Pastor Appreciation. Pastor Chris took their weekly Missions Moment to talk about their new Upward Basketball Ministry which the region helped to fund with a grant.


Pastor Chris' wife Greta promoted the start of the ABW Thrive (study) group in the church.

 

Special music for the morning was provided by their sanctuary choir and their ad hoc, impromptu bell choir, dubbed appropriately enough, "The Liberty Bells". Rev. Paul LeVan, former pastor now living in Erie shared memories of his time at the church. Jeff provided the morning message and then extended an invitation. The front of the church was filled with people seeking God through their own prayers or asking to join their prayers with those of their pastor. A wonderful luncheon was served afterwards.

 

Additional photos HERE 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/17/2016
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Parkesburg Installation Service

 

Frank Frischkorn, Melody and Kevin Walden, and many others participated in the beautiful installation service at Parkesburg Baptist for Rev. Mary Lewis. Dr. Dan MacDonald also shared in the service. Pastor Mary gave a great reflection about how "not normal" the Parkesburg church is... which was entirely complimentary and inspiring. It was a wonderful celebration for a wonderful leader and congregation. Additional photos HERE.

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/16/2016
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East Mahoning Baptist Church
911 Observance

 

East Mahoning Baptist Church provided an opportunity to remember the events of 911 and honor first responders in the community. Jim Pearson (Interim Pastor) was one of the initial responders in New York City following the attack in 2001. He and the church family had the local fire department present for Sunday morning worship. More photos HERE.

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/13/2016
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Pastor Appreciation at Calvary Baptist Allentown

 

Kevin Walden, Regional Pastor with Pastoral Leaders, had the honor of joining Rev. Mardy Von Harten for worship at Calvary Baptist in Allentown, PA. Pastor Mardy gave a powerful message on Acts 9. The church also presented Mardy and his wife Peggy with gifts for Pastor Appreciation Sunday! Nice!!!

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/13/2016
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Love Unlimited in Worship

Here's a glimpse of Love Unlimited in Williamsport, PA. The pastoral leadership have struggled with significant health issues throughout the week. Pastor Willie Anderson is recovering from surgery and Co Pastor Dorothy Anderson ended up in the hospital with respiratory problems. Minister Curly Jet is recovering from orthopedic surgery. Mark Mahserjian-Smith had  the honor supporting the church family by filling the pulpit. Please keep these wonderful pastoral leaders and partners in ministry in your prayers along with the entire church family.

 

 

 

 


by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/13/2016
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Tioga Baptist Association Fall Meeting

 

The Tioga Baptist Association gathered together at the Middlebury Baptist Church (Pastor Stan Gill) this Sunday. Pastor Stan opened the meeting with an inspirational devotion followed by a time of praise and worship led by Pastor Stan and his wife Susan. Almost every congregation in the association was represented at the meeting. Congregational leaders shared some of the good things taking place in their churches. Judy Husted and Ben Nevin, with North Country Baptist Youth Ministries shared the important work taking place in this camping ministry.

Here are just a few photos from the day. A complete picture album is HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/13/2016
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FBC Pottstown Tower

 

The tower is a tumbling down!  Demolition on the "Leaning Tower of Pottstown" began in late August.  The church sits on the corner of King & Charlotte Sts.  Charlotte St which runs along the side of the church has been closed most of the summer and yes, the church is being charged.  Our tower problems have been quite the challenge, however, they have also been an opportunity for God to bless us.  The cost of bringing the tower down is estimated at around $200,000.  While we had some money on hand, enough to give the contractor to start the job, we certainly didn't have the money to complete the task. However, God has provided! 

 We have been sharing the need through our website and at every possible opportunity, so the word has gotten around town that we were in need of a helping hand. Christ Episcopal Church in Pottstown heard of our plight and from funds they have on hand gave FBC a gift of $50,000. They have also given us a no interest loan of $40,000.  Thank you God!!!  But the provision doesn't end there!  The chair person of the Tower Fund Raising Committee, Myra Forrest, began thinking, if one of our neighboring churches was willing help, is it possible there would be another?  So the Myra, put together a packet of information to share with First Presbyterian Church.  First Pres gives out grants to the community from Endowment funds earmarked for community use only.  Myra sat down with one of the churches Co-Pastor to find if we would be eligible.  The Co-pastor said she would take the information to the church Session, which was meeting later in the week. When Myra heard back from First Presbyterian she was told they were willing to help us out, but the money wouldn't be coming from the Community Funds, it would becoming from money First Presbyterian had planned on using for their building.  They would be giving us $30,000. (This last bit of news was shared on my first Sunday in the pulpit).  

 

What Satan meant to use to harm us, has been used to bring a deeper unity to the family here FBC and great glory to God for this is most certainly the work of the Holy Spirit!!!

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/6/2016
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FBC York Mission Trip

Team members from FBC York recently returned from a mission trip to Rainelle, WV. They worked hard for five days and were able to get much work done and build good relationships with our sister region to the south.

The team worked in partnership with the West Virginia Baptist Convention on the clean-up and recovery effort for the recent flooding.

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 10/5/2016
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Luminitza Nichols Ordination

A few pictures from the Ordination service for Reverend Luminitza Nichols. "Lumi" is the associate pastor at the Baptist Church of West Chester. The Reverend Doctor George Hancock-Stefan (Associate Professor of Church History at Palmer Seminary) stated that his research has shown that Lumi is the first Ordained Romanian Baptist Woman in the World. Both George and Lumi are immigrants from Romania. It was a very special day for Lumi, her church, the region, the denomination, and in the history of women in ministry. To God Be the Glory.

The complete photo album is available HERE.

  

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 8/14/2016
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Camp Carmel Board

 

 

Monday evening, Jeff Johns, ABCOPAD Regional Pastor with Congregations, attended the monthly meeting of the Camp Carmel Board. The leaders, representing seven different ABCOPAD churches, gathered to review their summer season. It had been a great one! A few literal bumps and bruises as is to be expected with any outdoor ministry, but the spiritual growth of both the staff and campers was tremendous. God provided in every way for the camp's needs in both staffing and resources. Jeff was asked to attend to provide some guidance concerning how to help staff and counselors have a greater impact and be even more equipped spiritually to minister to the campers. A extensive counselor training is now being planned for next spring before the start of their 2017 season. They are already counting the days ... 46 weeks until their opening next year.

 

Jeff also shared that the camp is strategically poised to be a network of churches working together in ways our associations used to be, like the two that founded Camp Carmel more than 60 years ago. This would be true of all our camps in the region. You will remember, just one week ago, Jeff was at the one and same camp, baptizing his son, Judson, who stayed for the week as a Junior Counselor and had the unexpected opportunity on their last night there to share a Biblical message at campfire. 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 8/3/2016
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GraceCrossing Community Church in Phoenixville

 

On Sunday, Jeff Johnson, ABCOPAD Regional Pastor with Congregations, spent the morning and early afternoon with the congregation at GraceCrossing Community Church in Phoenixville. Pastor Steve Crane is doing a great job as their interim. Jeff provided the morning message and at the end of the service the entire front of the church was filled with the folks praying for their own needs and those and those of the church as well. A time of light refreshments followed the worship service and then Jeff conducted a requested Q&A with the church as they move forward in their search process but at the same time also wanting to live out their vision and all the implications of doing so. 


 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 8/3/2016
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2016 ABMen Conference

It was a great weekend, as men from across the region gathered for the 2016 ABMen's Conference at Shippensburg University. Focused on the theme, “God, Our Ever-Present Help!” Rev. Dr. Larron Jackson was the featured Minister, Teacher, and Motivational Speaker. The weekend included times for Worship, Bible Study, Learning Workshops, and Fellowship. American Baptist Men of Pennsylvania & Delaware has been Forging Relationships for 62 Years! A few highlight photos below. The complete album is available HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 8/2/2016
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Upland Baptist Church Summer Outreach

Recently, Jeff Johnson participated in the summer outreach program to kids held at the Upland Baptist Church where Rev. Brenda Shaw is the pastor. The program is a partnership of the church, the Catholic Diocese of Philadelphia, and funding by the government's faith based initiatives. The kids come for a book reading, to recite memory verses, do activities, play games, hear a lesson, have a meal, and take advantage of a lending library set up by a former school teacher, Linda Cook, who is also a member of the church's co::lab vision team. Jeff did a book reading, shared with the kids an object lesson, and taught the kids a lesson in origami, a favorite pastime of Jeff's. He even provided each child a Frisbee from ABHMS to take home and enjoy.

This outreach helps the church realize what they believe God has called them to do that they discerned through their vision work; Loving Others through service. John Kofroth, President of our ABMen is a member of this church and participated in the outreach. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 7/29/2016
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Building Healthy Partnerships

Amidst regional responsibilities, during parts of the last two days, Jeff has been participating in strategy planning sessions for our American Baptist Home Mission Societies. This was a gathering of national and regional staff, as well as select individuals like millennials,. They were doing together what our region has provided under the auspices of co::lab to assist ABCOPAD churches and organizations in wanting to know what they should be doing and how they should be doing it to have the greatest impact for God's Kingdom. The gathering was convened by Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, the new Executive Director of ABHMS. Besides Jeff, there are a couple different ABCOPADers in the room. 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 7/29/2016
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La Paz Mexico Mission Trip 2

Eric Kraihanzel reports on the second group of volunteers serving in  LaPaz. They had a full day of visiting two different churches. The group first went to Primera Iglesia Bautista for worship and then headed 45 minutes out of LaPaz to Los Planes for worship. This is where they will be helping to build a new church this week. PIB is planting the church and church members along with our group will be helping to put on a roof and run a VBS program. A few feature photos are posted below. The complete album is available HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 7/29/2016
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Holy Spirit Renewal Conference

Frank Frischkorn reported on this year's Holy Spirit Renewal Conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin. With the theme, "His Empowering Presence: Experiencing the Fullness of Joy", Frank had the privilege of being asked to lead one of the Bible Studies this week. In fact, throughout the week, a number of regional executives guided the group through Paul's letter to the church at Philippi. A few highlight photos are posted below. A complete album is available HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General ~ Date: 7/29/2016
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2016 ABWM Conference

It was an outstanding time of fellowship, worship, and celebration as women across the region gathered for the annual ABWM Conference. Featuring outstanding speakers, Bible study leaders, musicians, and missionaries, the program emphasized the theme "Thrive!". During the conference, the ABWM leadership presented the ABCOPAD Foundation and ABCOPAD Partners In Ministry with gifts totaling $40,000! Here are just a few photos highlighting the events. A complete album is available HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 7/29/2016
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Visser Honored

 

The Rev. Dr. Richard "Dick" Visser was honored for his many years of pastoral service to the community of Waynesburg, specifically, and the Kingdom Of God, universally, with the conferment of the Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree during Waynesburg University's commencement onSunday, May 1.

Dick finished out his professional career before retirement in ABCOPAD where for twenty years he was Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Waynesburg and then served as Interim Executive Minister of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association prior to its merger with ABCOPAD. Though both he and his wife, Carol, are originally from New England, where they have retired, they did fifty years of ministry together in New England, West Virginia, and several churches in ABCOPAD. Dick has served on all levels of denominational life; associationally, regionally, and nationally. Dick was a founding leader in our region's school of lay ministry.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 6/7/2016
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2016 Riverside Association
Spring Meeting

 

The Riverside Association met at the New Hope Christian Church in Broomall for their yearly gathering. Pastor Marcos Almonte, Moderator of the Association, led the meeting. Following a fellowship dinner we all gathered with Pastor Jeff Evans and the church family from the congregation for an inspiring concert by Bluegrass Gospel group, The Rockdale Boys.

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/23/2016
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ABWM Spring Board Meeting

What a great day with the ABWM team of PA/DE. As Pastor Jeff Johnson said "everyone on the regional team is giving praise reports!" Great stuff is happening in ABWM so 'stay tuned.' Pastor Jeff gave each of us a "million dollar bill". He said it's because we are each worth a million dollars to him and the ministry in ABCOPAD. We were THRIVING today. God was good to us in many ways!

 


 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2016
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FBC York Dedication

 

The First Baptist Church of York celebrated the Dedication of Phase II of their building plan. Fifteen years ago they completed the first phase of construction on Druck Valley Road and today they dedicated the newly-built gymnasium. 

 

Pastor Tim Munson preached on Romans 12:1-2, and our need to be dedicated "living sacrifices" unto the LORD.

 

Following worship, the congregation , numbering over 140, shared a fellowship meal in their sanctuary/ multi-purpose room.

 

A number of wonderful friends were present for the celebration, including:

 

Chaplain Rick and Louise Hill who have been worshiping with the FBC, York congregation...

 

Former Pastor Paul Steel and his wife, Ann  (a former ABCOPAD Staff!)...

 

Pastor Ralph Eib and his wife, Lynn, were present [he, representing Hanover Building Systems].

Pastor Blake Edwards and his wife, Anne also shared the day and participated in the Dedication Service.


Additional photos can be viewed HERE

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/22/2016
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"Eat Your Bread With Joy..."

...so are the words of Ecclesiastes 9:7. Have you ever noticed how often ABCOPAD staff are helping to support the restaurant industry? Wow! Here are just a few shots from the past 2 months.

[Seriously, we're thankful for our dedicated Regional Pastors who encourage and nurture local pastors and church leaders as they sit at tables of food and fellowship. Thanks, guys!]

 

...with Pastor Abreu (Spanish Emmanuel Church, Allentown) 

 

...with David Carr (Harrisburg Association)

 

...with Kadin Williams (Exton Community Baptist Church)

 

...with Tim Robson (East Smithfield Federated Church)

 

with Carl Harris (FBC, Gettysburg)

 

...with Brian and Lynette Smith (FBC, Cambridge Springs)

 

...with Caryl Casey (ABCOPAD Treasurer) and Sue MacDonald (ABCOPAD Foundation)

 

...with Paul Levan (Greenfield Baptist Church)

 

...with Mike Poindexter (Pleasant Community Church, Warren)

 

...with David and Colleen Ludeker 

 

...with Funteller Jackson (Logan's Valley Baptist Church, Bellwood)

 

...with Steve Brotzman (FBC, Beaver Falls)

 

...with Gary Gilpin (Aldenville Baptist Church)

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/13/2016
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by Mark Mahserjian-Smith Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 5/11/2016
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Spring '16 Region Board Meeting 

The ABCOPAD Regional Board met for their yearly face-to-face meeting in Breezewood. It was a full day of hearing how God is moving in our midst.... A great time together with these partners in ministry from the associations around the region as well as our auxiliary organizations.

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/7/2016
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Travels With Jeff

 

 

Last week, Jeff preached twice at the annual session of the ABC churches of the South in Charlotte NC. Jeff was there for the installation of their new executive minister, Dr Harrison, representing both the Home Mission Societies and ABCOPAD.

 

Jeff presented Dr Harrison a set of cuff links Jeff made for him from lapel pins on which is their region logo.

 

At the ABCOTS annual session, Jeff crossed paths with Dr Pat Hernandez who is the national director of both women in ministry and transitional ministries. Dr Pat was there to conduct a seminar on interim ministry; a training she just did in our region last week for both present and future interim ministers.

 

While at ABCOTS' annual session, Jeff also crossed paths with Susan Gillies, Interim General Secretary (middle) and Kristina Moeller (Colonel - Retired), our national endorsing agent for ABC military and institutional chaplains (right).

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 5/5/2016
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2016 Centre Association Meeting

 

Jeff Johnson, ABCOPAD Regional Pastor with Congregations, spent the day at the Mill Creek Baptist Church outside of Huntingdon, PA. Rev Ray Crownover is the pastor. He has served the church for 35 years. Besides preaching in the morning service, Jeff attended Sunday School. He also stayed into the afternoon and evening for the Centre Association. Mill Creek is also the home church of Apryl Crownover-Glunt, President of our region's ABWomen.

 

 

 


 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 5/1/2016
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ABCOPAD Interim Ministry Training

The Interim Ministry training being offered by ABCOPAD, ABC Transitional Ministries and the Center for Congregational Health was launched in April. This level one training is the basic training for all interim pastors.

 

 

Leading the interim ministries training is Les Robinson from the Center for Congregational Health and Larry Swain, former Executive Minister for ABC Ohio and now a consultant for the program are leading the gathering.

 

Pat Hernandez, Director of Transition Ministries ABCUSA and Kevin Walden, ABCOPAD Refirement are also among the leaders here to at the event.

 

Our own Regional Executive Pastor, Frank Frischkorn is also here at FBC Milton for this unique collaboration bring multiple ministries together for this important training.

 

Additional photos of the event can be viewed HERE

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 4/28/2016
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2016 Nicaragua Mission Trip I

Our team of volunteers departed from Atlanta on their way to Nicaragua. Everyone arrived and got to know one another.

 

The team attended morning worship at a little church outside of Managua. It was wonderful. The congregation demonstrated amazing hospitality. The music included some familiar hymns and others that were new. The team brought a greeting from the States. Pastor Daniel focused his message on the Holy Spirit and our AMOS partner John translated. It was incredible being with our brothers and sisters in Christ here in Nicaragua.

 

 

 

On Monday, we had orientations the morning followed by a tour of the compound. In the afternoon we learned out the water filters we would be installing and did some preparations on the actual filters. We also enjoyed a short tour of Managua.

 

 

 

The team made it safely to Banco de Sikia. It was a very difficult trip ... 9 hours over many horrible dirt roads. The bumps and shakes were grueling, but we made it. Everyone had a thick coating of dust covering our skin and clothing, but without a doubt the trip was worth it.

 

Tuesday was a full day of ministry. In the morning, the team installed a water filter for Hosea, one of the Health Committee members who lives at the heart of the village. This was great practice.

By 9:30am, five teams were dispatched to install water filters throughout the community. Some teams only needed to travel 30-60 minutes to their families, while others had almost a 2-hour walk to their first home receiving a water filter. Everyone was pretty exhausted when they got back for lunch.

After lunch, half the team did medical training with community members while the other half of the team did VBS with the children.

The medical team taught basic first aid for wounds and had lots of interaction with the students. The VBS team had about 35 kids. We sang songs, did games, and had arts and crafts. We also cleaned litter from the school yard.

By dinnertime, everyone was very tired, but so happy with our accomplishments.

The hospitality of the people of Banco de Sikia is incredible. SO much joy! It remains very hot (102) and dusty.

You can view lots more pictures HERE

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 4/20/2016
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Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Johnson & Johnson

 

On Friday evening, April 8, Rev. Dr. Jeffrey A. Johnson (ABCOPAD Regional Pastor with Congregations and National Director of Evangelism and New Church Planting) gathered with a large crowd of national staff, regional reps, local congregations, along with family and friends at the Historic Shiloh Baptist Church in the heart of Washington, DC, for the celebration of the call and the commissioning of the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Haggray as the new Executive Director of the American Baptist Home Missions Societies.

 

Jeff Johnson lead a litany of prayers of as part of the service.

 

Jeff had an opportunity to catch up with the Rev. Dr. Wallace C. Smith, Senior Pastor of Shiloh, who had also served for several years as President of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary [and later Palmer Theological Seminary].

 

With Dr. Haggray facing the pulpit, Rev. Dr. Clifford Johnson (of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Wilmington, DE) commissions the new executive director. Dr. Clifford Johnson serves as President of the ABHMS Board of Directors. Dr. Smith, in the foreground, looks on.

Our Jeff has previously spoken at Shiloh Baptist in DC. The church was founded on Emancipation Day in 1863. When word got out that President Lincoln had, by executive order, freed all slaves, 21 slaves from plantations in neighboring Virginia crossed into the District of Columbia and started this congregation.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General ~ Date: 4/9/2016
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Who Remembers Sunnybrook?

The November 12, 2015, ABCOPAD Web Update ended with "Who Remembers Sunnybrook?" and linked to a photo of a couple men with a camp pennant and T-shirt.  

Janine Clay (Exton Community Baptist Church) made an archaeological dig among her photos and retrieved 10 from Sunnybrook in 1960, mostly of the teen staff. She was privileged that summer to be among them.

The photos are not in pristine condition, but they've survived nearly 56 years. YAY, Kodak!

(Thanks, Janine, for the photos and captions!)

 

1- teen kitchen staff on break

 

 

2- down time

 

 

3- hard job at the canteen

 

 

4- leisure - note the cars!

 

 

5- Camp cook

 

 

6- Uh-oh!

 

 

7- No excuse for this!

 

 

8- sneaking out to avoid detection

 

 

9- supervisor finding only girls at wakeup

 

 

10- some of the culprits
by Bud Russell Categories: General ~ Date: 3/10/2016
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REUNION 2016 REVIEW

Reunion 2016 is more than a memory! Held at Liberty Baptist Church, students from all over ABCOPAD gathered for a weekend of fellowship, inspiration, and fun. There were wild games, music from Museum, challenging messages from Dave Klock, not to mention lots of pizza! There were great times of laughter and shenanigans. And there were exceptional times of worship, discovery, and commitment. You can check out ALL the photos HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 2/29/2016
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Disaster Relief at Roaring Branch, PA

 

Tim Robson (Interim Pastor at the East Smithfield Federated Church) reported a team from the Bradford Baptist Association provided disaster relief at the Mt. Zion New Life Center in Roaring Branch, PA. The Retreat Center was severely damaged by frozen pipes. The Bradford Baptist Association sent a team to assist in the restoration effort. The group utilized the Disaster Relief Trailer, making available valuable tools for this project.

See the complete photo album HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 2/2/2016
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