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HURRICANE RELIEF
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Abcopad Blog!

Volunteer Mission Opportunities

 

Hoping to make the region website more user friendly, we've redesigned the pages listing volunteer mission opportunities. It's a quick click from the ABCOPAD "Home Page" to "Mission Trips" where there is a menu for domestic and international mission trips scheduled for 2018. At this date there are 22 different trips listed. 

Check it out HERE!
by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 2/20/2018
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World Religions and Cults

 

Pastor Randy Powell and Jeff Johnson went online for a test run of the upcoming Leader/Lay Learning Class being offered in March. The course will be totally online, an hour and a half for four consecutive Tuesday evenings. Check out the details HERE

Handouts will be provided. For those ACTS grads needing continuing ed credits for continued certification, this a course where you can get them. For those wanting to better understand this multi-religious world in which we live, this is the class for everyone. Register today!

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 2/20/2018
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Kudos to Donna Schneff

 

Kudos to Donna Schneff, our Notes & News designer/editor since its inception in January 1988. That's 30 years! That's 300 issues! THANK YOU!

Mark Mahserjian-Smith (Regional Pastor For Mission & Communications) comments:
"Notes & News has adapted to its environment over the years—having started as a black and white, text driven, hard copy publication—to a color newsletter with graphics and pictures, now available both as a hard copy mailed newsletter, as well as a digital, online publication. Donna has been amazing, helping the Regional Staff keep Notes & News meaningful, relevant and useful all along its storied history."

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/18/2018
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Kudos to Donna Schneff

 

Kudos to Donna Schneff, our Notes & News designer/editor since its inception in January 1988. That's 30 years! That's 300 issues! THANK YOU!

Mark Mahserjian-Smith (Regional Pastor For Mission & Communications) comments:
"Notes & News has adapted to its environment over the years—having started as a black and white, text driven, hard copy publication—to a color newsletter with graphics and pictures, now available both as a hard copy mailed newsletter, as well as a digital, online publication. Donna has been amazing, helping the Regional Staff keep Notes & News meaningful, relevant and useful all along its storied history."

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/18/2018
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Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

 

In the wake of Hurricane Maria... Last year, local church pastors in Puerto Rico requested help with one possible strategy to address the depression being experienced by families in their churches. The plan was to collect shoebox gifts during the month of December to give to children in Puerto Rico on Three Kings day on January 6th. (Puerto Ricans celebrate the coming of the Magi [Epiphany] by having children open gifts.

ABHMS sent out a dispatch requesting shoebox gifts for children ages 3 - 12. The gifts were to be delivered to the Mission Center in Valley Forge by December 19th. These gifts would be then shipped to PR in time for them to be delivered to local churches for their Three Kings Day celebrations on January 6th. 

Quite a few churches sent Three Kings Day gifts to Puerto Rico and we are hoping they will be distributed soon. For a complete update. please click HERE

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/11/2018
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Hurricane Harvey Disaster
Houston Relief Team - 3

 

Our Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Team is on the job site today in Houston, TX. A great team of workers helped to lay down a new floor in a home that had been destroyed by the hurricane waters. Soon there will be a happy family returning to their home. What a blessing!

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/11/2018
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Hurricane Harvey Disaster
Houston Relief Team - 2

 

Our Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Team is on the job site today in Houston, TX. There were a number of volunteers who were assigned the task of gutting and dry-walling a house that had been ruined by last year's hurricane. They're just being serving others with the heart of Christ!

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/11/2018
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Hurricane Harvey Disaster
Houston Relief Team - 1

 

Our Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Team is on the job site today in Houston, TX. As you can tell from the pictures, they're working on a roofing project. Please continue to keep the team in your prayers as they serve. Y'all be careful up there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/11/2018
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GraceCrossing Celebrates

 

It may have been really cold outside, but the fellowship was warm at GraceCrossing in Phoenixville! Pastor Dan McDowell and the church family gathered together despite the cold temperatures to give honor to the King and encourage one another in the process. It was also fun to celebrate the receipt of a grant from the region to help support their growing ministry with young adults in the Phoenixville community.

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/10/2018
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Rev. David Klock Ordination Service

 

On December 8th, an Ordination Service was held for Rev David Klock. The celebration took place at the Colonial Park Baptist Church in the Harrisburg Association. The relationships represented at Pastor Dave’s service helped to mark the many milestones in Dave’s faith journey. Pastor Dave’s wife Danae opened the service by singing Be Thou My Vision, and it has great having their kids present for the service. Pastor Dave started ministry as a youth pastor at the Moreland Baptist Church and then was called to student ministry at FBC Bethlehem working along side of Rev Eric Kraihanzel. Later, Dave would become the Associate Pastor at FBC Bethlehem working closely with lead pastor Rev Dale Miller.

Pastor Dave then heard Jesus call him to be a new church planter in ABCOPAD working with Rev. Frank Frischkorn and Rev. Jeff Johnson, bringing to life Living Bridge in Harrisburg. Both Pastor Dave’s dad, Rev Jim Klock, and his father-in-law, Rev. Philip Steele, prayed for Dave during a “laying on of hands.” Pastor Dale Miller delivered a message entitled I’ve Got A Story To Tell; he told of both humorous and sacred moments he had shared with Dave. It was a wonderful celebration of Pastor Dave’s call to ministry and witnessing Dave reach this important milestone. Following the service, a reception was held in the fellowship hall marked by loads of laughter and fun as the story telling continued.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 1/10/2018
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2017 Southwest LLC

 

A quick look at the Southwest LLC in southwest PA. Besides their usual time of updating each other about what's going on in their families, they also share about what is happening in their church families. They then spent time together talking about the book of the month, in this case, Why Johnny Can't Preach, which the author says is due to present day preachers lack of good reading and also good composition skills. As they do each month, they all went out to eat, but this time three spouses joined the fellowship.

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 12/3/2017
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Nicaragau Cyberbox / Library Project

 

Mark Mahserjian-Smith joined Pastor Arthur Campbell Reed at the United Baptist Church of Elmira, NY, to promote the 2018 Nicaragau Cyberbox / Library project. 

In 2015 ABCOPAD partnered with ABC New York and AMOS on the 3-year Waters of Blessing project in Nicaragua. Over the last 3 years, there have been 5 mission trips to Nicaragua installing water filters, building and expanding health clinics, doing anemia testing, donating baby layettes and much much more.

This very productive partnership continues with the Cyberbox / Library project.

It was a joy spending time with Pastor Skip (Arthur) and many other Nicaragua Mission Team members. Lindsay Mills is heading up the computer lab portion on the project while our own Sally Perry (FBC Lancaster) is heading up the library. Lindsay was joined by his wish Karen Mills and Eddie Kirkpatrick to promote the project. It was great being with these amazing partners in ministry as we serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in Nicaragua.

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/31/2017
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Pastors' Retreat Planning Committee

 

Our ABCOPAD chapter of the Ministers Council met at the ABCUSA Mission Center in King of Prussia. They are already planning our Spring 2018 Pastors Retreat - April 9-11. Leila Martin was our guest. Each year our Region Council grants an excellence in ministry award, and it is named for the late Reverend Craig Martin (Leila’s late husband).

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 10/20/2017
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ABW Thrive Mini Conference Lancaster

 

At the Thrive Mini-Conference, nearly 100 ladies gathered at FBC Lancaster from 5 Associations representing 15 churches! During the morning session, they heard Rev. Luminita  Nichols share her testimony. Rev. Mary Lewis shared in the afternoon. A wonderfully blessed gathering to glorify the Lord and encouraging each other to THRIVE in Jesus!

 

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/20/2017
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Camp Carmel Fall Festival 2017

 

 

Folks from southwest PA gathered on the Gatten Family Farm outside of Washington for the annual Camp Carmel Fall Festival. The time together started with a potluck dinner followed by visiting and catching up from the summer. Then games like volleyball were played, always a camp favorite. A hayride was taken. The evening capped off with a slide show of this past summer season and a bonfire with a devotion and the singing of camp songs. Those in attendance were from many churches in both the Ten Mile and Monongahela Associations. 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 10/20/2017
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Harrisburg Assoc Ordination Council

 

 

The Harrisburg Association recently convened an Ordination Council for David Klock, Pastor of the Living Bridge church plant in Mechanicsburg. It was held at the Colonial Park Community Baptist church for the congregations of the Harrisburg association. Rev. Dr. Dale Miller and a few members of the church family from First Baptist Church of Bethlehem were also present to support and encourage Dave in this important day in his life. The council was unanimous in its support of Dave for ordination by the church ..... Dave's wife, Danae, and Council Moderator, Pastor Tim Munson, share the moment of the announcement.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 10/20/2017
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Forest Baptist Church Donation

 


 

Words can not express our gratitude for the Forest Baptist. Not only did Deacon Alan Arnold and the Deacon board express the churches appreciation for all our ABCOPAD Regional Pastors, but then Deacon Alan presented Mark Mahserjian-Smith with a check for $5000 to support ABCOPAD’s Ministry. The church had been given a bequest following the passing of one of the member of the community, and the church tithed their gift for mission in our Region. It was such a blessing being with these awesome partners in ministry. Thank you so much!

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 10/20/2017
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MMS Reporting from Louisiana #9

 

Mark Mahserjian-Smith writes:

There wasn’t a pile there when we started, but as you can see --- there is one now! After moving the truck and trailer, a township crew came by and removed all the debris from the from of the house.

 

We finished the kitchen and one of the bathrooms. Lyle began breaking up the cast iron tub with a sledgehammer. It has been a very productive day, and homeowner Bob is please with our progress. One thing I’ll say --- It is hot and humid here in Lake Charles. Yikes!

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries ~ Date: 10/2/2017
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MMS Reporting from Louisiana #8

 

Mark Mahserjian-Smith writes:

This morning our AB Men’s team at Lake Charles, Louisiana, is helping out Bob and Margery whose house was flooded by Hurricane Harvey. We are continuing the demolition started by a team from Illinois last week. Ken and Lyle are ripping out a kitchen while I demo the bathroom. Not sure what we would do without the tools and equipment on the Disaster Relief Trailer! It is such a blessing having the equipment we need for the job. Thanks to everyone who has donated to this ministry. Special thanks to Lyle and Kenny for making the long trip down both to deliver the trailer and to work. Such great partners in ministry.

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 10/2/2017
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MMS Reporting from Louisiana #7

 

Following morning worship at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. I drove to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to join the AB Men doing disaster relief. Two of our ABCOPAD AB Men from Bentley Creek drove almost 24 hours straight to bring down our disaster relief trailer. Special thanks to Lyle and Kenny for making the long trip from north central Pennsylvania to Lake Charles, LA. We connected with Jack Cobb, AB Men’s National Disaster Relief Coordinator, and getting ready for busy day tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers as we continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.


 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 10/2/2017
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MMS Reporting from Louisiana #6

 

Mark Mahserjiah-Smith writes:

On Saturday, Pastor Tim Schwartz and I went to Wharton, TX, to access the damage done by Hurricane Harvey and see if we could help. Wharton is quite away from Houston and it took quite a while to get there. We found quite a bit of flood damage; however, Wharton is a pretty small community, and most of the neighborhood had been very effective in helping one another. Most of the homes had already been cleared out, and families were starting to re-sheetrock their homes. It was great to see neighbors helping neighbors and restoring home and lives. We probably won’t send teams to Wharton, but it was good to check in on the community.

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 10/2/2017
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MMS Reporting from Louisiana #5

Mark Mahserjian-Smith writes:

Late yesterday afternoon Pastor Tim and I stopped by Ross Elementary School in Dickinson. We met with School Principal Kelly Mooney, Assistant Principal, Georgina Benavides and School Counselor Jennifer McCaffrey to explore ways we might be able to help.

 

Pastor Tim is the president of the PTA at John Adams Elementary School in Scranton and the Principal of John Adams Elementary, Mario Emiliani would like to have his School partner with Ross Elementary to help in whatever ways they can.

Principal Kelly shared how Ross Elementary is trying to care for the needs of their students with about half the students impacted by the flood. Many students had their homes destroyed and are now living with relatives and friends far from school. These students need to be driven to school by their parents who are attempting to maintain some stability for these kids whose lives have been turned upside down by Harvey. The school has been accepting donations of gas cards and giving them to parents to offset the cost of transportation even as these parents start the costly process of rebuilding their houses. 

Principal Kelly also told us literacy is a priority at the school and many of these kids lost their reading books in the flood. She hopes people will donate reading books to give to students so they can continue to learn to read.

Finally both Kelly and Georgina said the school is planning a Family Fun Fest at the end of October where kids and their families could come to school for a fun night could. Kids could come in costume, play games and receive treats. It is currently not safe for kids to be trick or treating with so much debris piles up on the street. The hope is the school will receive donations of gift cards so they can purchase the supplies they need. Principal Mario is excited about the partnership but he recognizes his own School is struggling financially.

We will be looking for ways to partner with Pastor Tim and both schools to assist. Kelly , Georgina and Jennifer kept saying how much they appreciated our presence. After a very challenging four weeks and what has been a challenging year, she said just knowing there are people offering to help makes a huge difference. The encouragement and support touched their hearts.

Please keep Ross Elementary, its staff and students in your prayers. Many children are struggling with depression and sadness having lost so much following Hurricane Harvey.

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 10/2/2017
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MMS Reporting from Louisiana #4

 

Mark Mahserjian-Smith writes:

Yesterday, Pastor Tim Schwartz and I visited Greg living in Dickinson. Tim and Greg became friends while Tim was serving in Galveston. Greg’s wife, Lauren, and Pastor Tim’s wife, Jennifer, were both expecting while in Galveston, and the families have remained friends following Pastor Tim’s move to Scranton. Greg moved his family following the devastation of Hurricane Ike only to have his new home flooded by Harvey. While Greg and Lauren rebuild, their children are with Lauren’s parents in Chicago. It was good to encourage Greg and talk about recovery efforts in Dickinson.

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 10/2/2017
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MMS Reporting from Louisiana #3

 

Mark Mahserjiah-Smith writes:

This afternoon Pastor Tim and I traveled to Galveston to check on possible disaster relief work in this community. We stopped by Primer Inglesia Bautista where teams stayed while doing Hurricane Ike Disaster Relief in 2009. We also had lunch with Joe Enriquez, who’s home was flooded following Hurricane Ike. Joe and his family were spared from damage with Hurricane Harvey but Joe reflected on how important Disaster Relief teams are in the midst of putting your life together after the storm.

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 10/2/2017
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MMS Reporting from Louisiana #2

 

Mark Mahserjian-Smith writes:

As Pastor Tim Schwartz and I drove through Dickinson, TX, we encountered street after street of houses in the process of mudding-out. Many houses already had their flood ravaged belongings removed and now drywall, insulation, carpeting, flooring and more were exiting the home. One thing I noticed: While some houses had started the process of recovery there were many other homes that had not. This recovery is going to be long and challenging. The longer a family waits the harder it becomes, however having said that, many people didn’t carry flood insurance and with little support, just don’t have the capacity to begin this very difficult process. Hopefully we can help.

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 10/2/2017
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MMS Reporting from Louisiana #1

Mark Mahserjian-Smith writes:

Yesterday I arrived in Houston Texas around 6:00 pm. Waiting for me at the airport was Pastor Tim Schwartz. Pastor Tim and his wife Pastor Jennifer Schwartz served as Disaster Relief Coordinators in the greater Houston / Galveston area following Hurricane Ike in 2009. Both Pastor Tim and Pastor Jenn are ABCOPAD natives who returned to Pennsylvania a few years ago. Not only is Pastor Jenn a Certified Lay Minister, but she is also a gifted Physical Therapist and was called to head the Physical Therapy program at the University of Scranton. Pastor Tim is a gifted leader who recently concluded interim ministry at FBC Abington in Waverly, PA.

Pastor Tim knows this area well and is praying about once again becoming a Disaster Relief Coordinator for ABHMS as well as assisting ABCOPAD in Disaster Relief Efforts.

After arriving in Houston, Pastor Tim took me to Dickinson, a community just outside of Houston hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. The first picture is of a McDonalds, now closed and beginning the mud-out process.

 

The next couple of pictures are photos of a shopping center parking lot now being used as a dump site for the neighborhood as everyone removed destroyed appliances, mattresses, furniture, sheet rock, installation and so much of their personal belongings destroyed by Harvey from their homes. Just unbelievable and heartbreaking.

 

 

 

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 10/2/2017
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ABCOPAD Grant
Helps Make Summer Lunch Ministry Possible
At Upland Baptist Church


Link to a picture video of this event

During the school year, thousands of low income students eat free or reduced priced meals at school. But when school closes for the summer, and kids don’t receive these meals, they face higher risk of hunger and malnutrition. The Summer Lunch is a federally funded program that provides nourishing meals for children under the age of 18. Upland Baptist Church has been a qualified feeding site for five years.

In 2014, we changed the name of our program to “Summer Lunch and Fun” --- adding a special activity for each day. This summer we ran out program from Monday through Thursday for seven weeks.

Every morning began with an activity period from 11:00 to 11:45. Each Monday the kids gathered on the church lawn to play games like water balloon catch, water relay races, and pool noodle hockey. Tuesday was craft day…paints, glitter, beads, and feathers. Each child got the same ingredients, but every creation ended up being as unique as each child! Kids and adult volunteers got together on Wednesday to play board games. On Thursday, kids were encouraged to choose a book from our library and borrow it for a week. Thursdays also featured a special guest...

  • Volunteers from the Upland Fire Company arrived to tell us about their jobs and show us the equipment they use.
  • Upland’s Mayor Bill Dennon came to explain his job to the kids and make a personal connection with them.
  • Pastor Kevin Walden skillfully led the kids across the Jordan River when he presented a fun Gospel lesson.
  • We were happy to meet the two 8-week-old puppies from the Providence Animal Center in Media. The Providence volunteers also gave the kids a good lesson about pet care and safety.
  • Leon Jordan, a professional percussionist, was sent to us by Musicopia to conduct a “bucket drum” assembly. Drumsticks in hand, each child got to participate in this wonderful program.

We served the kids their boxed lunch from 11:45 to 12:15. Popcorn chicken was the top favorite with barbecue chicken wrap coming in second. Jicama sticks received a big thumbs down.

We started a “Memory Verse Challenge” this summer. The kids put together a book with a page for each Bible verse and illustrated what it meant to them.

We served an average of 20 children each day. Most kids were between 6 and 12 years old. Several teenage girls brought their little preschool siblings every day, too.

Everyone who volunteered this summer agrees that each day was a blessing. By God’s grace, we supplied our neighborhood children with a good meal. We introduced them to new experiences and caring people. Our church was a happy and safe place for them to learn that Jesus loves them --- and so do we!

 

 

 

 

by Mark Mahserjian-Smith Categories: Ministries ~ Date: 9/19/2017
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Mission Discovery In Honduras

Pastor David Braneky (Baptist Church of West Chester) shared,

I wanted to share these reflections with you from a member of our church who went on a mission trip to Honduras this summer as part of an IM Discovery Team in partnership with a church from Cooperstown, New York. The journal should read that Cynthia Falk is a member of that church in New York, not BCWC, although she is Jim and Betty Layton's daughter and was raised at BCWC so I guess she could be considered our own. 

International Ministries Journal: Go, Be Love in Honduras by Carson Cramer:

 




Twelve of God's servants from DC, NY and PA were part of a special Discovery Trip earlier this summer, to support the ministry Dilia Zelaya is co-facilitating in Honduras. There were six teenagers and six adults being led by Dr. Cynthia Falk from the Baptist Church of West Chester(PA) to be the hands and feet of Christ in Azacualpa for nine days.  A local house had been identified to be the main construction project for the group. They dug trenches, carried rocks, poured cement to make the small house more accessible for its owner, Hilda. The group delivered groceries to local families, served children at the lunch program, co-facilitated VBS sessions and led impromptu games of soccer. The team was housed at the Children's Home where they experienced the challenges of interrupted electricity and flat tire. The many interruptions did not distract them from fulfilling God's purpose. During a day trip into the mountains to see more of the countryside, stand at the border with Guatemala, the group was able to witness some of the problems that plague today's world, including what to do with all the waste being produced. This side trip took them by the dump, a hillside strewn with trash. 

Youtube Clip with pictures from the trip:


    by Mark Mahserjian-Smith Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 9/19/2017
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    Indian Creek Baptist Church
    Campground Ministry

     


     

    For thirty five summers Indian Creek Baptist Church has been holding Sunday “Campground Services” at the local “Mill Run Campground”.  It began in 1983 with several of the Deacons and the Choir Director taking turns as speakers from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  The Pastor was also recruited as speaker.  The service consisted of singing a song, then an opening prayer, several more songs chosen by the attendees, followed by a 15-20 minute devotional by the speaker.  A closing song and closing prayer. 

    This was all taking place at the end of the water slide with rushing water and a pool gurgling at the bottom. There was a little shelter there where shoes, towels and clothing could be stored and provided some protection from the weather if it was raining. Not the best location, but we all enjoyed being able to have a worship service at the campground. Eight years later, (1991) the camp ground built us a “chapel.” Actually it is a picnic pavilion with a cement floor and folding picnic tables, lights and is more centrally located in the camp ground. Compared to the water slide location it represented a huge step up and we had our “chapel”.

    As the campground has grown (now Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park) so has our ministry. We have had people from all over the world including England, Central America, South America, Europe, and Japan. We have had visitors from a large number of states which include the two hard ones of Alaska, and Hawaii. Our ministry now includes giving out Bibles, various literature, “The Ultimate Question” booklet and “Our Daily Bread” booklet. For the children we give out small toy gifts. The campground provides coffee and hot water for tea or hot chocolate.

    For the past four years, we have also been blessed to have different volunteer speakers from Indian Creek Baptist Church for our campground services. We are blessed to have so many who are willing to tell others of the Good News of Jesus. We have both men and women speakers. The age range for our speakers has been from 11 years of age to 95 years of age. Truly a tribute to our church and community. With God’s help and blessing Indian Creek Baptist will continue this unique service to further His Kingdom for many more years or until Jesus returns.

    by Bud Russell Categories: General, Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 9/4/2017
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    IM Discovery Team - Honduras

     

     

    Caron Cramers , a member of the Baptist Church of West Chester, shares these reflections on a recent mission trip.

    Twelve of God's servants from DC, NY and PA were part of a special Discovery Trip earlier this summer, to support the ministry which Dilia Zelaya is co-facilitating in Honduras. There were six teenagers and six adults being led by Dr. Cynthia Falk (she is the daughter of Jim and Betty Layton). They went to be the hands and feet of Christ for nine days.  

    Here are Caron Cramer's reflections about the summer trip:

    "Go, Be, Love" summarizes what God put on my heart to carry back to "my world" in the United States. I have to say that God was preparing me to hear this message before I went to Honduras. Our pastor preached on the subject and I read, Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker which speaks to this very subject. While spending 9 days in Honduras, I had the privilege of witnessing and participating in that way of living. Dilia is an amazing mentor, friend, and servant of our Lord. She lives the gospel of Jesus at the mission site, in the community, and spreads it with love worldwide. I was one of many who were touched and hope to continue to spread Jesus' message to our community in Pennsylvania and beyond. My family and I helped rebuild a woman's home. We worked with kids at schools and with their feeding program, shared God's word, prayed, and delivered food and supplies to the community in the mountain. We loved all whom we met. I opened my arms. and heart to LOVE. I grew up in the church and have been a born again Christian since age 9. Things around me changed, and I wasn't changing the way I should. I was willing to sit in the pews and let people come to worship; come to Jesus. Since my trip to Honduras, I realize that I need to show the Jesus in me. It's time for me to get out of my comfortable pew and be Jesus' helper. To Go, Be, and Love. 

     
    by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General ~ Date: 8/31/2017
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    Upland Baptist Church Summer Ministry

     

    Kevin Walden was asked by Pastor Brenda Shaw to give the Bible lesson at Upland Baptist's summer ministry program. The kids walk to the church for the program and are also given a free meal. It's a part of a larger community program. The church received an ABCOPAD grant to help with the funding. We talked about Jesus feeding the 5000 (men) and their families today. The blue sparkle table cloth was our "pretend" Sea of Galilee. And yes, we had 5 loaves and 2 (dori) fish. I also pointed out to the kids that this is the only miracle in all four Gospels.

     

     

     

     

     

    by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 8/21/2017
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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    VUU Leadership Summit

    Jeffrey Johnson participated in a Leadership Summit on the campus of Virginia Union University, Samuel Proctor Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Jeff spent the evening, talking with seminarians and pastors about various opportunities for ministerial leadership, primarily focused on chaplaincy. A handful of national executives from the Home Mission Societies were on site to do the same. Karen came along and staffed the Judson Press booktable while editor Rebecca Irwin-Deihl did a workshop on putting your ministry materials into a book. Rev. (Colonel US Army - retired) Kristy Moehler, our ABC endorsing officer, and Dr Jeff Haggray, executive director of ABHMS organized the event.


     

     

     

     

     

    Virginia Union University and Seminary is the name given in 1899 to the merger of two older schools, Richmond Theological Institute and Wayland Seminary, each founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies in 1865 shortly after the Union Troops took control of Richmond. The schools were founded for the education of now freed slaves.

    by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries ~ Date: 12/10/2016
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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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    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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    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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    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 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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    WV Flood Relief

    ABCOPAD Churches were part of the hands-on WV Flood Relief efforts out of the Ranielle Baptist Church, including individuals from Hatboro Baptist, WWJD - Waynesburg, Moreland Baptist - Muncy, Wayland Baptist - Meadville, Redeeming Grace - Uniontown, and North Ten Mile Baptist - Amity. MANY other ABCOPAD churches all across the region, across our two states, sent in-kind donations as well as made monetary contributions.

    Workers stayed in the church's Christian Life, Christian Education Center. Homes were gutted. Repairs made. Rebuilding begun.

    Thanks to one and all for being the hands and feet of Jesus there in the devastated area.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries ~ Date: 8/26/2016
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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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