American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

ABCOPAD Life! Blog

Bud Shirk Honored



Bud Shirk was recently honored by the Hand in Hand Fire Co of Bird in Hand, PA, at their annual banquet November 18.  Bud was presented a handsome plaque for his service  from 1975 as a fire fighter and chaplain for 30 years and as the "resident" electrician". Among the many caring words were these: "he made an incredible impression on multiple generations of volunteers". His family was present to witness this "surprise" award.






by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/22/2015

Park Baptist Church, McKeesport

Sunday morning, Jeff and his family worshiped at Park Baptist Church outside McKeesport, Pennsylvania where Dr. Rudy Mayak and his wife Chris serve.  The morning service included a great Christmas program put on by a diverse group of children...


as well as a daughter and father duet.


Pastor Rudy then provided a morning message on the Biblical Theology versus the Secular Philosophy of Christmas.  


Marlin South, chair of the church's deacon board, went to private school together and have been friends for more than thirty five years.  Park Baptist is a generous supporter of missions here in our region through what they do directly in their own local area and what they contribute to for work throughout ABCOPAD.

Oh, being a diehard NFL Pittsburgh Steelers supporting congregation, those assembled Sunday morning even did a "Here we go Steelers!" rousing cheer led by the Pastor to root on their hometown team. Later in the day, Pittsburgh defeated the Denver Broncos 34-27, their tenth straight win.
by Bud Russell Categories: General, Region Life ~ Date: 12/20/2015

Reaching Out in Pittsburgh

Saturday evening, Jeff Johnson and his wife, Karen, and their children, Jonae and Judson, with extended family members participated in an outreach in the downtown streets of Pittsburgh to feed and clothe the homeless. The ministry is sponsored each weekend by Ken Howard Ministries. Two of our ABCOPAD churches participate monthly: Olive Branch Church in Belle Vernon, and First Baptist Church, Vandergrift.


Jeff's kids helped serve the wonderful and abundant hot food prepared by Marcia Bauer from Olive Branch.


Jeff and Judson distributed personal hygiene kits put together by Judson.


Karen, her mother, her niece, and the choir director of Olive Branch sang carols in the background.


After weeks of temps way above normal, the night of the outreach, the temps dipped to well below freezing. The Olive Branch ministry team is headed up by Paula Sommerfeldt, wife of the church's pastor Ken. The Vandergrift ministry is headed up by Pat Rupert, providing lot of clothes as well as bag meals for the homeless to take and eat later.



Before the evening was over, a man prayed to commit his life to Christ. Now this is the greatest present one can receive this Christmas season: His presence in this man's heart. 


by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, Region Life ~ Date: 12/20/2015

Gingerbread Houses Galore


Prior to assisting in an outreach in the downtown streets of Pittsburgh, Jeff Johnson and his family took in the holiday sights in Wintergarden Place inside the Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) Place building.  On display were a hundred handmade gingerbread houses from all over the greater Pittsburgh area including:

One by residents of our own Baptist Homes...


Two from the youth group (The Ark) of First Baptist Church of Monongahela...



And even one by the students of Jeff's high school alma mater, the Wilson Academy.


Also on display in the same area were life-size representations of Santa Claus from all over the world, including where ABCOPAD has sponsored missions trips in 2015: Haiti and Latin America (Mexico and Nicaragua). 




by Bud Russell Categories: General ~ Date: 12/20/2015

Penn Hills Baptist Church
Welcomes New Members


What better way to celebrate the birth of Christ than with new members. On Sunday, December 20, Penn Hills Baptist Church baptized two new members. The congregation extended the right hand of fellowship to those 2 and 4 others who came through transfer or Christian experience. What an awesome time of worship.  Ralph Prinkey is pastor.


by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/20/2015

FBC, Pottstown & ABHMS Partnership



The American Baptist Home Mission Society staff, including our own Jeff Johnson, partnered with the First Baptist Church of Pottstown, an ABCOPAD congregation, to provide much needed baby items, toiletries, laundry supplies, and groceries for families.



Laura Alden 

Laura Alden, publisher of Judson Press, a member of FBC, Pottstown, and the chair of their pastoral search committee is coordinating the delivery of the items to the Pottstown Cluster of Churches. Several ABHMS staff are members of other ABCOPAD churches in the Valley Forge area including Royersford, Upper Merion, and Exton.



Fela Barreuto (L), Director of the ABHMS Prisoner Re-Entry Program
Laura Miraz (R) HR Director of ABHMS

The ABHMS staff also donated new socks, underwear, ties, shirts, shoes, and sportcoats to give to the Essex County (NJ) Correctional Center to provide released inmates with proper attire for job interviews as they reenter society.



by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries, General, Region Life ~ Date: 12/15/2015

Olive Branch Baptist Church - Reaching Out



Jeff Johnson (Regional Pastor with Congregations) gave to Pastor Ken Sommerfeldt 100 personal toiletry kits for Pastor Ken's church, Olive Branch Baptist Church in Belle Vernon, PA. They will be given out to the homeless on the streets in downtown Pittsburgh. The kits were put together by Jeff and Karen's son, Judson Adoniram,

This month the church is responsible to feed over 150 homeless and disadvantaged people in the center part of the city. For Olive Branch, Pittsburgh would be their Judea, as they are determined to have an impact for Christ in their Jerusalem (Belle Vernon); their Judea, (the greater Pittsburgh area); their Samaria, (our region); as well as to the uttermost parts of the world.

by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/15/2015

Olive Branch Baptist Church - Grant Award



Following their LLC meeting, Jeff Johnson (Regional Pastor with Congregations) presented Pastor Ken Sommerfeldt with a grant check for his church to support their hands on, relational ministry to their community. The church, Olive Branch Baptist in Belle Vernon, PA, is a great mission church, supporting with both proceeds and presence, work at home, within the region, across the country, and around the world.

After the biennial, the church leadership took to heart the message Will Mancini gave about doing mission work right where you are. The church began a clothing closet ministry and needs based outreach to a neighboring and needy community. The grant will support their efforts to be the best and most efficient stewards of what they receive in and then provide to others.

by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/15/2015

Merry Christmas from
United Baptist Church, Scranton

United Baptist Church of Scranton is hosting a community Christmas caroling event at Fellows Park on Sunday, December 20th. They decorated the park as a gift to the community and for the event by hanging wreaths and greenery. Angels were added by the community. Wow! What a great idea... and a terrific witness to the community!







by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/14/2015

Christmas at Blossburg Baptist Church

A few photos of the church during the Advent/Christmas season. 







by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/14/2015

Aldenville Baptist Church
Christmas Cantata

A few photos of a holiday tradition ---





by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/14/2015

First Baptist Church, York
Christmas Dinner

From last year.... First Baptist Church of York celebrates the holiday season --- its annual Christmas Family Dinner,



...caroling at nursing homes,


...creating a Christmas Giving Tree.

by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/14/2015

East Brady Baptist Church
Breakfast with Santa

A few photos from our annual community Breakfast with Santa, which we held this past Saturday, December 5.  We serve a free breakfast to kids (and offer it to the adults with them for $2 per person) and then read to them the biblical story of Christmas.  Kids are then free to have a good time visiting three stations: Free photo with Santa, our crafts table (or craft stable) and reindeer games.  We don’t have many children in our small church, so we find this to be an effective way to share the true story of Christmas with the children of our community each year.








by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/14/2015

GraceCrossing Community Church
Christmas Celebration

A few pictures of Christmas at GraceCrossing Community Church, Phoenixville PA.




by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/14/2015

Penn Hills Baptist Christmas Cantata

Penn Hills Baptist Church, in Pittsburgh Region, presented their 2015 Christmas Cantata during 11:00 am worship Sunday December 13th. 15 strong voices performed "JOY! UNSPEAKABLE JOY!” 80 people attended the service, and enjoyed a cookie fellowship afterwards. Pastor Ralph Prinkey has been the pastor at PHBC since May 2006. 



by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/14/2015

Worship at Olive Branch Baptist Church


On Sunday, Jeff Johnson (Regional Pastor with Congregations) spent the day with the Olive Branch Baptist Church. He was filling in for their pastor, Ken Sommerfeldt, who with his wife, Paula, went to visit family in Kansas for Thanksgiving. The Olive Branch Church is VERY active in missions right there in their own community as well as in their association, in our region, and across our country and even around the world, as Paula herself will be leading another Mission Trip back to Haiti the first of 2016. If interested, check with our region office. This church is truly a great partner in ministry!  


by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 12/1/2015