American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

ABCOPAD Life! Blog

FBC Pottsville Installation Service


The First Baptist Church of Pottsville celebrated the installation of their new pastor, Rev. Russell Hepler. Assisting in the service was Rev. Dr. Kevin Walden, Rev. Dr. Mike Hall, Rev. Dr. Dale Miller, Rev. David Harden, Rev. Jim LaVan, and keynote speaker Rev. Earl Cassel.






Additional photos HERE

by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 4/29/2016

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

2016 Nicaragua Mission Trip III

Last night the team went out to dinner at a local Nicaragua/Mexican restaurant. The mission team and the AMOS staff enjoyed a wonderful feast and time to reflect on our time at Banco de Sikia. Today we will have our last full day in Nicaragua. We are heading to a park to swim, rest, and begin psychologically for re-entry into the US and our lives back home.



Early this morning the team left Banco de Sikia to return to Managua. It was hard leaving so many great new friends behind. The trip was a huge success.

Not only were all the water filters installed, medical training accomplished, and Vacation Bible School completed, life-long friendships were forged with people in the community who will remain in our hearts forever.

The 9-hour trip back to Managua was, once again grueling, with everyone receiving a thick layer of dust over clothes and skin, as well as sore muscles from constant jarring on bumpy roads. Now that we are back at the AMOS compound, everyone is showered and getting ready to head out for dinner at a local restaurant. 

You can view lots more pictures HERE!  




by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries ~ Date: 4/28/2016

2016 Nicaragua Mission Trip II

What an amazing day. Five groups went out right after breakfast to install water filters. So many amazing testimonies. I was present to witness one especially tender moment.

Mike, Jenny, and I delivered a water filter to a family pretty far from the clinic. When we arrived at the house we found several bamboo-like containers with small bees flying in and out. We learned that the dad of the family is a bee keeper. Mike keeps bees at his farm in New York. We installed the filter and had a great time visiting with the family. Mike (via translation) talked about bee keeping with the dad. We learned it takes the bees about a year to create one liter of honey. As we were leaving, the father of the family (Leonel) gave Mike a gift of 1 liter of honey. We were told we could eat it because the honey is boiled making it safe. It was an amazing gift and the honey is truly delicious!

While delivering water filters, we invited everyone to a movie night at the church. Almost every family who received a water filter came out. We watched Kung Fu Panda. What a great night to be the family of God in His house.

Once the movie concluded, our team returned to our dining area to meet. One of our nurses, Rachel, turned 25 today. The AMOS team drove all the way to the nearest town to buy a birthday cake and soda. We celebrated Rachel's birthday together.

There is a tradition in Nicaragua to crush an egg on the head of anyone celebrating a birthday. Rachel has been embraced as a member of the family here in Banco de Sikia. Two AMOS staff members snuck up on Rachel and broke eggs on her head as a wish for long life. The eggs were donated from homes where water filters had been installed. A fantastic way to end the evening.

Tonight many members of our team are choosing to sleep under the stars on a ridge not far from the clinic. It is a beautiful night.



Today we finished installing the last of our water filters. The community was overjoyed with the results of our project. We had a short break in the afternoon. Some members of our team took time to rest while others met with community leaders to help them with additional water issues the village has been struggling with.

At 4:00pm, everyone from the village gathered at the church for a closing ceremony. It was a great celebration as everyone expressed gratitude to God and to one another for an amazing week. Not only were all the water filters installed, but incredible friendships were forged. 15 village leaders received first-aid training certificates, and kids shared a song they learned in VBS The closing was bittersweet, with hugs and even tears, knowing it will be some time before everyone is together again.

Tomorrow morning we will start the 9-hour road trip home. We will leave the village bright and early. Thank you for your continued prayers!


You can view lots more pictures HERE!  

by Bud Russell Categories: Ministries ~ Date: 4/28/2016

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

Birthday Tea at ECBC


A Birthday Tea honoring Sue Hegarty, IM missionary to Costa Rica, was held on April 9, 2016, at Exton Community Baptist Church. Sue is a member of ECBC and daughter of Erma and the late Dean Hegarty. Women of several AB churches in the area attended the tea on that recent snowy Saturday -- so unlike Costa Rica! The tea raised money to support Sue and her ministry. While unable to attend, Sue sent greetings, information and items related to her mission in the area she serves.

[Pictured: Nancy Mattison, Tari McGriff and Donna Carr, President of the ECBC Women's Project Group that hosted the tea] 



by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 4/18/2016

Who Could Ever Imagine ?


Jeff Johnson (ABCOPAD Regional Pastor with Congregations) met with Tim and Jennifer Schwartz to discuss opportunities for continuing ministry together. Tim is presently serving as interim pastor at the Abington Baptist Church in Scranton. Jennifer is a professor in physical therapy at the University of Scranton and a past graduate of our former Church Leadership Institute. They both know God has more in store for them. They are discerning what that is and how that will be lived out.


Jeff is holding their three week old son, Gabriel "Gabe" Francis. Jeff introduced Tim and Jennifer to one another nearly a decade ago. He had the privilege of officiating at their marriage and now got to hold their third child just weeks after his birth.

Who could ever have imagined? God!!!


by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 4/14/2016

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

Congratulations! 50th Wedding Anniversary


Mark Mahserjian-Smith had the great privilege for performing a renewal of vows ceremony for Rev. Paul and Georgie Fields who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Pastor Paul serves as the interim minister at the United Baptist Church of Scranton where the service was held. Susan snapped a few photos during the service. It was an incredible honor joining these friends for this milestone anniversary. It was easy to see the tender but powerful love that continues to unite this ministry couple. Following the service there was a small reception.





by Bud Russell Categories: Region Life ~ Date: 4/7/2016