Over the past 65 years, Willow Grove Baptist Church has been a strong part of our community, transforming lives and pointing families towards God through a strong devotion to following Jesus’ teachings and obeying God’s commandments. We would love for you to take a moment and discover our rich history.
(History is in the progress of being updated). 

Early Beginnings | 1953-1955

1953 – The American Baptist Convention launched the “Churches for New Frontiers” campaign with a goal of $8,350,000

May 1954 – The American Baptist Convention oversubscribed the campaign’s goal with 71 new churches. The Philadelphia Baptist Association quota was $266,809. A committee on evangelism of the Philadelphia Baptist Association (PBA) surveyed the Greater Philadelphia suburbs for a prospective site for a new American Baptist Church.

August 24, 1954 – The PBA voted to add $11,000 to the $10,000 from the ABC Home Mission Society for the purchase of a 4 ½ acre farm including a “Freeland Farm” farmhouse and a barn on a site at the corner of Moreland Road and Old Welsh Road in Willow Grove in response to the rapid growth being experienced in the Willow Grove area. The settlement took place on October 29.  

Rev. Herschel Rogers | 1955-1961

May 4, 1955 – Rev. Herschel Rogers, his wife Helen and three daughters, Holly, Heather, and Heidi were called by the Association to start working for the establishment of Willow Grove Baptist Church (WGBC). Hershel accepted the call and began his ministry with a card file, a farmhouse and a large barn surrounded by open fields. With eyes of faith, we see the hand of God in choosing leadership for His Kingdom work in Willow Grove. Rev. Hershel was the man to match the moment of challenge that the Lord was placing before His people.

May 11, 1955 – Dr. A.T.O. Marks, Samuel and Isabella Ferguson, and Roy Neitheimer met with Pastor Rogers at the farmhouse to read Psalms 127 and Luke 14:27-35, as well as sing, pray and to plan for the first meeting for worship on Sunday.

May 25, 1955 – Prayer Services began every Wednesday Night.

A news release sent to Willow Grove Guide announced the beginning of regular weekly prayer services. In order to assure the public that Pastor Rogers was qualified to be pastor for a new American Baptist work in their community, a brief profile of his ministry was outlined, and we quote as follows:

“While a student at Bethel Junior College in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rev. Herschel W. Rogers was Pastor of Mt. Ida Baptist Church in Wisconsin. During this pastorate, he opened a little church, which had been closed for 20 years. At the close of his 3 ½ year pastorate there, the church called a full-time minister. While a student at Yale Divinity School as a Navy V-12 Chaplain Cadet, the Rev. Rogers began a pastorate of the Hebron Baptist Church in Seekonk, Massachusetts, which was a suburban community with a rapidly expanding population near Providence and Pawtucket, Rhode Island. During his pastorate there, Hebron Church expanded its program and became a full-time parish.

For the past 6 ½ years, Rev. Rogers has been the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rockland, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. During this time, the Rockland church tripled it’s giving to missions and doubled its overall budget. And 150 new members were received into the membership of the church.

All services at first will be held at the Roger’s home at the corner or Moreland and Old Welsh Roads in Willow Grove. Plans are being made for the early building of a new church home on the site.”

May 29, 1955 – 40 people attended the first Sunday Service (11:00am), titled “The One Foundation,” including 25 adults and 15 children. Because of the crowded space in the farmhouse, future services were held outdoors on the lawn beneath the arching branches of a beautiful linden tree, when the weather permitted.

June 5, 1955 – The First Communion Service was held with 38 attenders.

June 8, 1955 – Church Dinner was held with 38 individuals. The following people formed the temporary Willow Grove Baptist Fellowship: Mr. Rogers (Moderator), Muriel Boutwell (Secretary), Samuel Ferguson (Treasurer), Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Boutwell, Mr. and Mrs. John Marshall, Mr. and Mrs. James Kelly, Mr. and Mrs. Huston Tucker, and Mrs. Arnold (Virginia) Koehler.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, these 11 persons and the pastor became the original 12 committed to work together for a new church. This small fellowship grew in numbers and began renovating the adjacent barn for services in colder weather. The new fellowship worked hard to convert the barn to a place of worship by knocking out the concreate cow stalls, and cleaned the areas that had been used as a chicken roost. Groups would take turns setting up new studs, pouring cement, insulating the ceiling, installing new wall boards and lighting. After a few coats of paint, a wooden cross, and a sign on the main road, the new center of Baptist work was ready to be open to the public in larger numbers. It was not long before people began to come and receive the Word of God. Through the generosity of the proprietors of Wentz Turkey Farm of Ambler, PA the private pond was made available for baptisms. The first to be baptized in the pond were Mr. and Mrs. Huston Tucker and Mr. Ronald Norris.

June 28, 1955 – First meeting of Christian Education Committee: Anna Wittman, chairman, Mr. R Neithemier, Marjorie Kolmus, Helen Rogers, and James Kelly

July 5, 1955 – First meeting with Harold Wagoner (Architect). He comes recommended by the American Baptist Home Mission Society and Dr. A.T.O. Marks. He met with Mr. Jenkings, chairman of the housing committee, Mr.s Wittman, chairman of Christian Education Committee, and the pastor. October 4, 1955 – Sunday School at church began making use of rooms in both the barn and the farmhouse.

September 11, 1955 – First baptism service held in the pond on the Wentz Turkey Farm. Baptized were Florence and Houston Tucker and Ronald Morris. Work on renovating the barn was started.

September 25, 1955 – First morning worship service held in barn through renovations were not yet complete.

October 2, 1955 – Sunday School began, using farm house and the barn.

December 14, 1955 – First organizational meeting for forming a new Baptist Church.

December 21, 1955 – First Christmas program in the barn – with a live cradle scene.

February 15, 1956 – The temporary fellowship voted to band together as a Baptist Church, and elected their first church officers which includes a moderator, clerk, financial secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer, church school superintendent, director of Christian education, board of deacons (5),  board of finance (5), board of education (5), as well as the following committees: Constitution and By-Laws Committee, Charter Day Program Committee, Membership Committee, and Nominating Committee.

February 26, 1956 – 13 baptized at Oreland Baptist Church: Jake and Dolores Brunner, Marjorie Kelly, Edith, Larry and Alfred Kline, Arnold Koehler, Dorothy Moore, James Tassey, Jr. and IIII, Martha & Charles Wickert, and Jesse Wittman.

February 29, 1956 – The Letters of Incorporation was signed.

March 4, 1956, 11:00am – Charter Day included the act of institution and recognition of the Pastor and Church officers, followed by a 4:00pm service which included a presentation of the Church Charter and official greetings from the Philadelphia Baptist Association, the Pennsylvania Baptist Convention, and American Baptist Convention. During this time, a Building Committee was formed to meet the long-range growth prospects. Through a large donation from the PBA through the closing of First Germantown Baptist Church helped to further the building plans.

March 19, 1956 – Application for membership to the Philadelphia Baptist Association

June 24, 1956 – 6 baptized at Wentz Turkey Farm. Leslie & Margaret Ferguson, James Hamilton, Robert and Kathryn Horne, and Virginia Taylor.

June 18-29, 1956 – First VBS was help with 78 children and 22 teachers and helpers.

September 13, 1956 – Purchased the Church Parsonage

September 20, 1956 – First Women’s Fellowship Meeting

September 21, 1956 – First Boy Scouts Meeting

September 23, 1956 – The church held a “Ground Breaking Ceremony” on the first two units on their new building projects. The architect, Mr. Harold Wagoner, was there to give the building plans to Mr. Raymon Jenkins, Chairman o the Board of Finance. Dr. A.T.O. Marks of the PBA presented a copy of the building contract to Samuel Taylor, the General contractor for the building project. Dr. Peter Vroom, the pastor of the Grace Baptist Temple brought an address to the Church. Pastor Rogers conducted the service.

September 24, 1956 – Workers Conference

November, 1956 – Began to pay Organist and Choir Leader

November 11, 1956 – 8 baptized at First Baptist Church, Lansdale. Thomas Bunn, Sr., Marie Bunn, Thomas Bunn, Jr., Harry and Dorothy McLaughlin, Marianne Lehrbach, Fred Muelbauer, and Diane Olivieri.

December 25, 1956 – The first Christmas in the barn was exceptionally meaningful with the realization that they were celebrating the manger birth of the Christ Child in a converted barn. The Christmas Services drew the first capacity crowd.

1956 – Other events or groups that began that first year include: Five Leadership Training Courses, Children’s Choir, Home Roll Committee (Church calling parents of babies), Youth Program, Building Committee, Property Committee, and Family Night (Oct 12), Halloween Party (Oct. 27), church dinners together (May 11, June 16, July 13, Aug 17, Sept 14, and Nov. 16). The church partnered with Baptist Oraphanae, Clothing Drive, Harvest Home food pantry, Sponsorship of Bobby Thomas (from the orphanage), age 4 to help with his birthday, Christmas, and clothing.  The church had 91 members, 167 church enrollment, and average attendance of 134, by the end of 1956.

January 27, 1957 – 3 baptized at First Baptist Church, Lansdale. James and Barabara Springfield and Alfred Yerkes.

April 16, 1957 – Men’s group organized with 25 attendance.

April 18, 1957 – Women’s Fellowship was organized with 25 active members. Collected utensils for the kitchen, sent supplies to Good Shepherd Ministry and Baptist Orphanage.

June 9, 1957 – Dedication of the new building was scheduled. Rev. Charles Griffin, Director of Christian Education read scripture, while Mr. James Tassey, Jr., made a presention of the keys, Mr. Samuel Ferguson, Chairman of the Deacons, received the keys, and Pastor Rogers presided over the dedication. Dr. A.T.O. Marks, Executive Secretary of the PBA, led the Act of Dedication, while Rev. Edward Catlow, Field Consultant of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, offered the Prayer of Dedication. The Church Senior Choir provided music for the ceremony led by Miss Joan Condon, a student of Eastern Baptist College accompanied at the organ by Wilford Kline. Mr. George Moll, Editor of the Crusader, the American Baptist Convention news magazine, delivered a dynamic address.

June 1957 – Church leaders held a planning retreat to evaluate their work and to set new goals to build further momentum. Church Attendance at that time averaged 234, while Sunday School reached 186. In order to make room for continued growth, the church decided to demolish the old farmhouse, but kept the barn for further events.

June 16, 1957 – First baptism in the new church. 7 Baptized. Holly Rogers, Mary Gaumer, Arelene Gaumer, Phyllis Gaumer, Nicol and Anthony Canesso, and Larry Soderberg. (Future baptisms will not be recorded in this document)

June 17-28, 1957 – Daily 2 hour VBS due to construction with 122 students and 23 teachers and helpers.

November 29, 1957 – Missionary Speaker, Elizabeth Knabe from Japan came to speak.

1957 – Additional activities that year included: Spaghetti Dinner (Feb.), Parents Meeting (Mar.), Covered Dish Supper (May), Sunday School Picnic (June), Corn Roast (Aug.), Doggie Roast (Sept.), Workers’ Conference (Oct.0), Halloween Party, Member Enlistment Dinner, Luncheon (Nov), and a Christmas tree sale (Dec.).

Youth Ministry also flourished with a Chuck Wagon Get acquainted night and a skating party in addition to Sunday School and evening home small groups. Youth Group also formed Brownie Troup #832, Brownie Troup #1201, and Boy Scout Troop #498.

The church also established a library with the help of Mrs. Maryella Hitt. A Flower Committee was established. The church created a Mission Budget of $2,817 including allocations to the American Baptist Convention, Philadelphia Baptist Association, (World Fellowship Offering, America for Christ), and Baptist Orphanage of Philadelphia.

The church had 145 members by the end of 1957

1958 – Throughout the year, the church hosted two leadership-training sessions and a CBS program. Began church library.  Youth Program continues to grow across the board, allowed for a fall youth retreat at camp Unami with 35 students, and now includes 2 boy scout troops and four girl scout troops. Gave out 175 gifts to kids in need during Christmas time. The church had won the “National Gold Award of the Standard of Achievement” one of five churches out of 6,200 within the American Baptist Convention. The church grew to 194 members, with 34 baptisms, by the end of 1958.

Detailed list 1953 – 1958 link here

*The following details are a summary of the Yearbooks which summarized each year of ministry and focuses on four major areas: highlights (major changes or situations faced), events (what activities did the church focus on), service (what did the church do to serve the community), ministries (Nursery, Children, Youth, Men’s, Women’s, etc.), and church growth (Baptism, New Members, Diseased Members, Births, etc.). For the sake of consistency and spacing, financial information was left out.

September 17, 1961 – Pastor Rogers concluded his ministry and Dr. Bruce Mills served as the interim minister until the new pastor came.

Rev. Stanley Beaumont | 1962-1974

June 1, 1962 – Willow Grove Baptist Church called Rev. Stanley Beaumont, along with his wife Letha, to be the next pastor. Pastor Beaumont came from the First Baptist Church of Weston, West Virginia, The church continued to grow under Rev. Beaumont

October 6, 1963 – A second Sunday School session began.

November 4, 1963 – A second worship service began.

1964 – Double Sunday School classes were combined between two services.

1960’s – Sunday School Educational wing was added to the church.  In the 1960’s the church had a full Sunday School with 250 attendees and two morning worship services  that had 350 in attendance, while having a membership of nearly 200 people. 

September 17, 1965 – The church began the “Barn Door” Coffee House ministry, which was used to connect with high school and young adults in the area. Men’s Breakfast began at this time with a variety of guest speakers.

March 4-6, 1966 – The church celebrated its 10th Anniversary. The church had 339 members. The church had begun to support Debby Kennedy to work in Haiti for two weeks. During this year, John Max and John Hobson, lay preachers volunteered their time at Penn Hurst’s Homestead nursing home and a Youth Center in Philadelphia.  Membership reached 339 as of December 21, 1965.

1967 – Barn was vacated in April, looking forward to being in the new expansion soon. Additionally, the youth group formed the band “The Octed” which would end up singing during the services and local nursing homes.

February 25, 1968 – The barn was torn down in order to make room for the new Christian Education wing.

1968 – Church became very active in outside activities. Lay preachers, John Max, John Hobson, and John Connet continued ministry at Penn Hurst and Homestead Nursing Homes, and at Lakeside Youth Services and Philadelphia Youth Center. A cooperative program with black churches in the area was instituted. The Youth band Octet was active using their talents in services at church and nursing homes.

March 2, 1969 – The Peggy Grow Library and Samuel Ferguson Room Memorials were dedicated.

May 10, 1969 – A Spaghetti Dinner was held for Rhodella Bieber who was on a kidney machine and would be the first of many fundraisers to help her.

1970 – The Church covenant was revised to better reflect the Baptist positions. During this year, the church began to assist the following organizations: Roslyn Nursing Home, Lakeside Delinquent Program, Warminster Heights, Crestmont Halfway house, and the Citizens for progress, as well as hosting a pancake day for Rhodella Bieber and a cake sale for the Fred Fishman Re-habitation Fund.

1971 – The church became involved with Head-On reading program for the inner city children. Continued work with the “Christian Living Lab.”

June 14, 1972 – Janice Tippitt began as organist and Choir Director. Jean Beyerle was also the organists from 1970’s until she retired in 2005. Additionally, a pictorial directory was first printed.

October 1973 – Glen Halverson took over for Janice Tippitt as Choir Director.

1974 – Tent crusade was held August 20-28 with Jerry Brubaker, evangelist, and Bob Neff, musician. The “Wheeler’s” Club was created by David Wickert, who struggled with M.S., and was supported by his family. Members from the church went to First Baptist Church of Wilkes-Barre to help with hurricane disaster relief.

May 1974 – Pastor Beaumot resigned and Louis George became the interim Pastor during a difficult time of social change.

Rev. Peter Bullock | 1975-1981

January 1, 1975 – The church called Pastor Peter Bollock and his wife Kathleen from Oxford Circle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, along with their four children: Lisa, Laureen, Jennifer, and Peter.

1975 – Pastor Bullock formed a Strategic Planning Committee to help establish goals and objectives, and updated Membership rolls. Women were able to serve communion.    

October 18, 1975 – The church partnered with C.R.O.P to go on a hike for hunger.

1976 – The church celebrated its 20th Anniversary at Abington Baptist Church. The Willow Grove Day Care Center was started as a church ministry by Lynn Fazio. A junior choir and Women’s Nature Walks also began this year.

1978 – During this time, the Church launched Good Shepherd Ministry, Lakeside Ministry, and Homestead Nursing Home.

Launched the daycare                          

1979 – The church paid off it’s mortgage and was out of debt.                      

1980 – An updated Pictorial Directory was created.

1981 – The church celebrated its 25th Anniversary at the Casa Conti Restaurant, along with all three previous pastors.

June 30, 1981 – Pastor Bullock resigned as Pastor and Rev. Richard Morrison began as the interim pastor.

Rev. Grant Ward | 1982-1987

1982 – Pastor Ward with his wife Carol, along with their two daughters Beth and Adele; began their ministry at WGBC. Grant came from Calvary Baptist Church.

1983 – Anita Esler became the new Choir Director

May 31, 1987 – Pastor Ward stepped down to pursue his Ph.D. at Temple University.

1984 –                         

1985 –

1986 –

1987 –         

Rev. Tony & Marie Jean Tilford | 1988-1992

August 1, 1988 – October 1, 1992 | Rev. Tony & Marie Jean Tilford

August 1, 1988 – Pastor Tony Tilford with his wife Jeanne, along with their two children Keith and Dana became Pastor.

June 1992 – Members of the church partnered with the Billy Graham Crusades, helping as counselors. A social event was added after the service once a month for new visitors.

October 1, 1992 – Pastor Tilford resigned to plant a new church in Limerick, PA with ABCOPAD.  

1988 –                            

1989 –

1990 –

1991 –

1992 –            

Rev. John Loring | 1993-2003

July 4, 1993 – 2003 | Rev. John Loring

July 4, 1993 – Pastor John Loring with his wife Kim Weller Loring, and were joined by their two girls Heather and Kelly. John came from West Shore Baptist Church.

During Pastor Lorings tenure, Rick Beyerle headed the Social Committee with community outreach programs including an Easter Egg Hunt, Special Olympics, Food Pantry, Baby Manna Ministry (distributed formula for mothers in Philadelphia), in addition to AID for Friends’ Ministry which provided meals for shut-ins.

A Live Nativity was also organized during this time.

Paula Barr was the Choir Director.

1994 –                                  

1995 –

1996 –

1997 –

1998 – Social activities included Soup Night, Potluck, Progressive Dinner, Easter Egg Hunt, Strawberry Festival, VBS, Corn Roast, Thanksgiving Dinner, Decorating Party with Pizza, Spring Clean Up, Crop Walk, Harvest Home, Women of Spirit, Spring Choral Festival, Food for Friends, and a live Nativity.

Service opportunities were provided through the group “Christians in Action” preparing meals for Aid for Friends, maintaining the church Food Pantry, collecting an offering on Mother’s Day for Baby Manna, encouraging participation in Hatboro Crop Walk, and purchasing Christmas presents for an adopted family through the Upper Moreland School District. Children’s Ministry events included Teacher Recognition, Children’s Day, VBS, two campfire gatherings, rally day, and continuing the second year of Drama Club. Additionally, Christian Life Club, run by Debbie and Brian Monaghan, had a full year of fun games, singing, and learning the Bible while working to earn their badges.  

Women’s Ministry had a full year of activities including a retreat to Ocean City, NJ, a trip to Hackman’s Christian Bookstore in Allentown, a planning party, a picnic at the Koury’s, and we filled stockings and went caroling for the patients at the Dresher Rehab Nursing Home.

Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Men’s, Women’s, 2 Mixed Adult, classes continue to meet each Sunday morning. 

Additional activities with the daycare include four fundraisers: Flea Market, Italian Dinner, Strawberry Festival, and Candy Sale.

New members (Nick and Monica Dahm, Bette and George Kuhn, Brian and Debbie Monaghan, Rose Orletzkiy, Mary Ann Alvarez, Jessie Davis, Lynne Schweizer, Donald and Joyce Neill, Marilyn Elmendorf)), one baptism (Mary Ann Alvarez), Deceased (Eleanor Aldridge)                 

 

1999 – This year, we made the difficult decision to end the first service. Social activities included Soup Night (January), Potluck (February), Progressive Dinner (March), Easter Egg Hunt (April), Strawberry Festival, VBS, Corn Roast (August), Thanksgiving Dinner (November), Decorating Party with Pizza, Christmas Carols (both December), Spring Clean Up, Crop Walk, Harvest Home, Women of Spirit, Spring Choral Festival, Food for Friends, and a live Nativity (December 16).

Service opportunities were provided through the group “Christians in Action” preparing meals for Aid for Friends, maintaining the church Food Pantry, collecting an offering on Mother’s Day for Baby Manna, and encouraging participation in Hatboro Crop Walk. Children’s Ministry events included Teacher Recognition/Children’s Day and VBS. Additionally, Christian Life Club and Drama Club were handled by Mary Ann Alvarez and continued to meet for the youth having a guest speaker, Police Officer Cathy Penescale come and share CPR training, and Weird Science Night. Youth Group met about six times were a year and was led by Debbie and Brian Monaghan. Who life-size Clue, Mission Impossible, min golfing, Redwings baseball game, and Wiffle ball and a human board game at the church.

Women’s Ministry had a full year of activities including a visit to Homestead Nursing Home presenting them with Valentine Cards, Pizza and charades, trip to Camden Aquarium, a trip to Peddler’s Village, several ice cream outings, the Indian Walk craft show, baby picture night, Shady Brook Farms Hayride and Haunted House.

Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Men’s, Women’s, 2 Mixed Adult, classes continue to meet each Sunday morning. A new initiative to provide kid’s focused teaching met heavy apathy as it became increasingly difficult to find teachers to teach children during the Sunday Service.

Additional activities with the daycare include a Spring Pageant, Flea Market, 2 puppet shows, holiday parties, coupon book fundraiser, and visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Christmas Party.

New members (Mary Ann Alvarez and Sayle Gonleh), Child Dedications (Emily Morgan Wienczek, David Craig Smith, and Curtis Erwin), baptisms (Heather Loring), Deceased (George Kuhn and Ed Hilt)               

 

2000 – Pinky Moyer was able to head up a clothing drive on behalf of the workers at the Philadelphia racetrack, helped to organize the Hatboro area CROP walk, and Pastor Loring stepped down from the board of the Philadelphia Baptist Association.

Social activities included Soup Night with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (January), Potluck with crafts and games (February), Progressive Dinner (March), Easter Egg Hunt (April), Strawberry Festival, VBS, Corn Roast with Jeopardy (August), Thanksgiving Dinner with a Major Show (November), Decorating Party with Pizza, Christmas Carols (both December), Spring Clean Up, Crop Walk, Harvest Home, Women of Spirit, Spring Choral Festival, Food for Friends, VBS (July 17), and a live Nativity (December 16). Service opportunities were provided through the group “Christians in Action” preparing meals for Aid for Friends, maintaining the church Food Pantry, collecting an offering on Mother’s Day for Baby Manna, and encouraging participation in Hatboro Crop Walk. Children’s Ministry events included Teacher Recognition Day, Children’s Day, VBS, and had to disband Drama Club. Additionally, Christian Life Club continued to meet for the youth hosting a Murder Mystery, Weird Science Night, and Sign Language Night.  Women’s Ministry had a full year of activities including game night, movie night, bowling, barbecue, train ride in the New Hope area, retreat (October), and finishing the year with baking cookies to deliver them to 13 members of the church.

Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Men’s, Women’s, 2 Mixed Adult, classes continue to meet each Sunday morning. A new initiative to provide kid’s focused teaching met heavy apathy as it became increasingly difficult to find teachers to teach children during the Sunday Service.

New members (Suzanne Betschner, Juvens, and Georgia Charles, Bob and Sandy Clark, Sandra Elder and son James, Lisa Erwin and son James, Chuck and Jodie Goins, Ed and Sue Hagman and Brian, Phil Kashow, Cathy Penecale, Daniella Pantal, and Rick Woywood), baptisms (Heather Loring), Deceased (Pat Fudula, Jack Huges, Ruth Cook, and David Cunningham)         

 

2001 – Stan Repes took over custodial duties of the church, while Heather Kennedy began leading the choir, and Robin Meadows began to have the members of the Christians in Music group share their talents. The church launched its website www.willowgrovebaptist.com which is important to you being able to read this so many years later. The church also began sharing weekly e-mail updates.

Children’s Ministry events included Teacher Recognition Day, Children’s Day, VBS, and Rally Day. Additionally, Christian Life Club (Grades 1-4) was held on the last Sunday of each month), along with a Newsboy Concert. Women’s Ministry had a full year of activities including Bowling, a tour of QVC Studios, Mini-Golf, and a fall retreat. . Youth group students had their biographies in the newspaper, volleyball at Eastern College, Dorney Park, and volleyball and ping pong at the church. 

Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Men’s, Women’s, 2 Mixed Adult, classes continue to meet each Sunday morning. A new initiative to provide kid’s focused teaching met heavy apathy as it became increasingly difficult to find teachers to teach children during the Sunday Service.

New member (Elise and Freya Familiaran, Kevin Morgan, Pat, and Jack Zeller, Paul Koury, and Tracy Boehm), transfers (Lynn Larson and David Smith), baby dedications (Mia Iris Andrews and Kellie Mackenzie Wienczek), and baptisms (Juven Charles, William Elder, and Rick Woywood).       

 

2002 – Social activities included Soup Night (January), Potluck with a Talent show, Easter Egg Hunt (April), Puppet Show by North Wales Baptist Church, Strawberry Festival/Flea Market, Corn Roast (August), Thanksgiving Dinner (November), Decorating Party with Pizza, Christmas Carols (both December), Spring Clean Up, Crop Walk, Harvest Home, Women of Spirit, Food for Friends, VBS, and a Music Night with Robin Meadows.

Children’s Ministry events included Teacher Recognition Day, Children’s Day, VBS, and Rally Day. Additionally, Christian Life Club (Grades 1-4) was held on the last Sunday of each month), along with a Newsboy Concert. Women’s Ministry had a full year of activities including Bingo and Dominoes with Shrek Movie Night, Picnic at the Park, Swim Time, Women of Faith Conference, Women of Spirit Retreat, as well as delivering Valentine baskets to shut-ins. Youth group students had their biographies in the newspaper, volleyball at Eastern College, Dorney Park, and volleyball and ping pong at the church. 

Many of the groups had to be consolidated due to a lack of volunteers. Kindergarten and Elementary were condensed to the first Sunday of a month class. Youth Group continued to meet and led an event called Mission Impossible (March) along with a retreat in the fall. Christian Life Club moved from mid-week to the first Sunday of the month. Middle School, High School, Men’s, Women’s, Mixed Adult, classes continue to meet, averaging 3-7 people per class.

We officially licensed Pat Zeller by the church, new member (Emilia and Craig Andrews, Art Painter, Orville Gunmeier, Stan Fudula, and Keith Lindstrom), two baptisms (Arthur Painter and Joan Roberts), Deceased (Pat Fudula, Jack Huges, Ruth Cook, and David Cunningham)             

 

2003 – John resigned to take a pastorate at Point Pleasant Baptist Church and former Pastor Tony Tilford acted as the interim pastor from September 2003 to June 2004.  Social activities included Soup Night with Family Feud (January), Movie Night with “Remember the Titans”, Easter Egg Hunt (April), Strawberry Festival / Flea Market (June), VBS (July), Corn Roast with Bingo (August), Bonfire (October), Thanksgiving Dinner (November). Children’s Ministry events included Teacher Recognition Day, Children’s Day, VBS, and a Christmas program.   

Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Men’s, Mixed Adult, Women’s classes continue to meet each Sunday morning, as well as Saturday Night Life, a contemporary worship time that meets the second Saturday of each month.

New member (Joan Roberts), two baptisms (Arthur Painter and Joan Roberts), Transfers (Esther Bell, Beth Fazio Madden), Deceased (Paul Koury, Dorothy Rabensteiner)          

Rev. Dan Kline | 2004-2007

July 17, 2004-August 2007 | Rev. Dan Kline       

2004 – Pastor Dan Kline with his wife Cheryl Kline, and were joined by two children, Alicia and Josh. Dan was the minister of the Baptist Church in Center Square, Kansas. During this year, a Praise Team was formed, Sunday night Children’s and Youth programs were launched, a new sound system was purchased, Wednesday night Bible study was launched, additional Sunday School classes were added. Social activities included: Soup Night with Murder Mystery (January), Birthday Party (February), Hoagie Night with Mall Scavenger Hunt (March), Easter Egg Hunt (April), Phillies Game (May), Strawberry Festival / Flea Market (June), Corn Roast (July), Bonfire (September), Thanksgiving Dinner (November). Children’s Ministry events included: Teacher Recognition Day (May), Children’s Day (June), and Rally Day (September), and a Christmas program. Youth Group met weekly and included several fun Youth nights focusing on understanding the Armor of God, building the Youth Group, Halloween party, Video Game night, and football party.

Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Men’s, Mixed Adult, Women’s, and a Foundation class continue to meet each Sunday morning, as well as Saturday Night Life, a contemporary worship time that meets the second Saturday of each month.

The church added four new members (Daniel, Cheryl, Alicia, and Joshua Kline), while baptizing Felicia Desher, and grieve the passing of Vera Lyman, James Springfield, Elizabeth Henderson, and Joan Roberts.

2005 – After 29 years, the Willow Grove Day Care Center was shut down due to declining enrollment and increased expenses (October 28). This was a difficult decision but one that needed to be made to preserve the future of the church. During this year several other changes occurred. Alicia Kline became the new church secretary, a congregational care team was created, the appointment of Joy Ramil to organize and care for the kitchen and coordinate meals, pew captains to greet those in their seating area, recovering serves on DVD, the new electronic keyboard was purchased, launching Home Groups, expansion of weekly emails, hiring of Joan Baranyi as Accompanist, Maundy Thursday Living Last Supper drama, added greeters to the doors at the entrance of the sanctuary, follow up to inactive members over the past ten years, created a 3-stage vision for church growth, reviewed and phased out Saturday night Life, and updated business cards and stationery with a new logo and revised visitor cards along with the website. Social activities included a monthly fellowship hour on the third Sunday each month, Potluck luncheon for 2 congregational meetings, soup night with murder mystery Best of Philly Night of Trivia and Food, International Food night with Christian Comedian Gordon Douglass, Easter Egg Hunt, Talent Night/Pie social, Mini golf/Chip N Putt, VBS, participation in a church softball league, two newcomer luncheons, Corn Roast, Women’s soup luncheon, Bonfire, Movie Night “Left Behind: World at War”, Turkey Dinner, Men’s Pen Game, Decoration for Christmas, Women’s tea and Christmas cookie exchange, Christmas Carol sing, as well as Men’s Billards.  Many more wonderful events happened throughout the church this year through the Women’s Ministry, Youth, and many more.

During Pastor Kline’s tenure, there was a Sunday night Children’s program called “The Donut Repair Club” and Metamorphosis. Women’s Ministry attended the Women of Faith Conference and held a Christmas tea and cookie exchange in December. During the summer, Reverend Kline launched a Small Group for Dad’s. The Men’s Ministry held a Saturday breakfast.

The church added seven members (Pat Penecale, Thom Almerini, Alexis & Stephanie Moore, Bill & Linda Coyle (reactivated), and Joy Ramil), lost four (Wayne Hassenmayer, Stan Fudala, Paula Barr, Marge Lahnemann, and baptized Pat Penecale.

2006 – The largest project completed this year was the sanctuary updates which caused us to worship in the sanctuary for 6 months while the work was being complete. The sanctuary was having air conditioning installed, ceiling repair, painting, carpeting, and stage reconstruction. Additionally, the office areas had carpeting and several rooms were painted. A new copier was purchased, two trees were removed, and the front brick wall and roof were repaired. A janitorial service was hired as well. Stephen Dickensheets was hired as the minister of Music and rejuvenated the choir (February-October).

Social activities included: Sweetheart Banquet with Shalom Assembly of God, Soup Night (February), a third home group began (March), Maundy Thursday service (April), Pastors Class for children and youth, and an Egg Hunt (April), Apologetics Class by Jack Negro and started the Church Softball season (May), Celebrated the 40th Anniversary with an outdoor concert, games, and dunking booth, children’s inflatable play area, face-painting along with food. Sanctuary was completed by June in time for Jeff & Maureen Cybok’s wedding and VBS ended June, Corn roast in August, Men’s Breakfast, Family Nights, and rally Day, and Teacher Appreciation came in September, followed by Church Membership meeting and Bonfire in October, and Thanksgiving Dinner a month later, while closing out a donation drive for winter clothes to Burma refugees and a Choir and Children’s Nativity for Christmas.

During this year, several Sunday school classes were running including toddlers, kids, middle school, high school, two mixed adults, and a women’s class. An additional Kid’s Group met Sunday Nights, while Youth Group met the 2nd and 4th Sundays.

Additionally, new members were added (Bill Collier, Cassie Collier, Sarah Collier, Stephen Disckensheets, Donna Flacone, Joseph Gilbride, Donna Lewis, James Lewis II, James Lewis III, Jeannette Lewis, and Bob Sexton), six funerals were held (including Ursula Gilson), along with two baby dedications and four baptisms (Donna Flacone, Joseph Gilbride, James Lewis III, and Jeannette Lewis.

2007 – This was a difficult year as we said goodbye to Reverend Dan Kline as he moves on to new opportunities and no interim pastor has been available. Before leaving, Reverend Dan initiated a Wednesday evening program in March focused on Bible study with discussion time. It was replaced with a Dad’s group in May. Debbie Monaghan led a women’s Bible study for 5 weeks over the summer. Other social activities include puppet shows and soup nights (January), game nights for elementary school age (May), VBS (June), and Harvest Party (October).

One new member was added (Jennifer Kroll (reactivated), while 2 were removed (Edith Volz and Sally Green passed away.            

Rev. Tony & Jean Marie Tilford | 2008-2019

2008 – As Tony and Jean Marie return to WGBC for the third time and many other great opportunities had happened. Over the past year, worship services were led by the playing of Helen Lin Moll who did an excellent job but is now leaving to pursue her professional career as a concert pianist. Judy Nitzky will be taking over as our pianist. Jennifer Kroll was also hired as the Church Secretary at this time. There were also several large maintenance projects underway including the preparations to sell the parsonage and repainting of the outside sanctuary window frames, soffits, cross, and several classrooms.  Several activities and groups launched include Saturday Night LIFE contemporary worship service, Youth Game night, NFL Picks challenge, Women’s Night Out, and Celebration of Service. Additionally, the Children’s Ministry hosted the VBS and Youth Group met in the fall for a game night.

We had three baptisms (Cory Kroll, Jeremy Kroll, and Joshua Newberry) and three new members (Jean Williams, Jeremy Kroll, and Pat Kintz).

2009 – As Reverend Tony and Jean Marie begin their first full year back, one of the major events that took place was the consolidation of Ministry Boards/Teams to the Council Leadership Team. During this time, there were a lot of improvements to the communication such as installing a new sign for the church, major updates to the church website and e-mail system.

We hosted a Red Cross blood drive (April), supported the CRIB Program (helps new mothers) through donations for babies, provided 54 boxes to Operation Christmas Child, and providing food and clothing for Philadelphia homeless. Social activities included Murder Mystery, Cook-Out all Church Olympics, and Corn Roast.  Soup Night (January), Potluck & Movie Night “Jeopardy”, Murder Mystery (April) Corn Roast with Comedy Night (September), All Church Breakfast (October), a Thanksgiving Dinner (November), and Pizza/Church decorating night. The church had several Movie Nights to watch: Evan Almighty, The Nativity Story. 

The Saturday Night Life monthly praise service, Wednesday Night Prayer Groups, Men’s Bible Study, and Home Groups continued to meet. Both Children’s and Adult Sunday School took place this year.

Children’s Ministry also hosted a Valentine’s Day Party, Egg Hunt, VBS, Harvest Party, Puppet Club, and Harvest Party. 

 

2010 – We provided meals for the Aid for Friends program, supported the CRIB Program (helps new mothers) through donations for babies. The church also collected Food for our pantry and Interfaith pantry, New Britain Baptist Food Larder, while also providing boxes to Operation Christmas Child, and sponsoring a family through Tabor Children’s Service, and providing food and clothing for Philadelphia homeless. Also provided support for Keith Tifford’s mission trip to Haiti. Social activities included Soup Night (January), Potluck & Movie Night “Jeopardy”, Murder Mystery (April) Corn Roast with Comedy Night (September), All Church Breakfast (October), a Thanksgiving Dinner (November), and Pizza/Church decorating night. The church had several Movie Nights to watch: Saving Sarah Cain, Passion of the Christ, Flywheel, and It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

The Billiards Group for Men continued to meet. Additionally, Children’s Ministry had Christian illusionist, Brett Myers come and perform in May, as well as Bevan Greiner, Ventriloquist. Children’s Ministry also hosted an Egg Hunt, Puppet Show, VBS, Harvest Party along with a Christmas production. 

This year we added 7 baptisms (Jeano and Steven Pantal, Anna Zimmer, Gordon Smith Jr, Tiffany Nosener, Jared and Darlene Johnson) and 5 new members (Betty Portiz, Diane and TJ Lonesky, Peg Price, Jeano Pantal). TJ Lonesky and Gordon Smith Jr decided to follow Jesus. Two children were dedicated: Zoey Gonleh and Moses Gonleh. We grieve the loss of Charlie Smith, Ken McCullough, and Bonnie Schulz.

2011 – We collected various supplies to send to our troops in Iraq & Afghanistan and the CRIB Program (helps new mothers) through donations of diapers, care items, and clothing. The church also collected Food for our pantry and Interfaith pantry, New Britain Baptist Food Larder, while also providing boxes to Operation Christmas Child, and sponsoring a family through Tabor Children’s Service, and providing food and clothing for Philadelphia homeless. Social activities included Soup Night (January), Potluck & Trivia Night (February),  Corn Roast with Comedy Night (September), Ham & Potluck (October), a Thanksgiving Dinner (November), and Pizza/Church decorating night. The church had several Movie Nights to watch: Moondance Alexander, Akeelah, and the Bee, The Rookie, the Secrets of Jonathan Sperry, Soul Surfer, and The Christmas Lodge.

The Billiards Group for Men, Women’s Night Out, Senior Luncheons, and Men’s Bible Study continued to meet. Additionally, Children’s Ministry hosted an Egg and the Agape Gang (Puppet Show) and Brett Myers, BAMMAgic. There was also an Easter Egg Hunt, VBS, Harvest Party along with a Christmas production. The Youth visited “Amazing Maize Maze” at Cherry Crest Adventure Farms in Ronks, PA.

Brian Coyle, Kerstin Glenn, and Paige Williams decided to follow Christ The church grieved the passing of Bill Barr, Shirley Dutkiewicz, Al Edwards, Faith Holmes, Lorraine Koury, Dorothy Moore, Joan Muller

2012 –The church donated Candy Appreciation Baskets to local first responders including Upper Moreland Police Department, Upper Dublin Police Department, Abington Police Department, and others. The church collected Food for our pantry and Interfaith pantry, New Britain Baptist Food Larder, while also providing boxes to Operation Christmas Child, and sponsoring a family through Tabor Children’s Service, and providing food and clothing for Philadelphia homeless. Social activities included Soup Night (January), Trivia Night (March), Corn Roast (September), and Thanksgiving Dinner (November). The church had several Movie Nights to watch: A Dolphin’s tale, Angels in the Outfield, and The Last Brickmaker in America, and brought in Agape Gang and Christian Ventriloquist, Devin Geiner.

The Billiards Group for Men and Women’s Night Out met monthly. Additionally, the Children’s Ministry hosted an Egg Hunt, VBS, and Harvest Party. The Youth Ministry collaborated with Pennepack Baptist to host several activities.

5 people became members (Kathie Beck, Bill Coyle, Nancy Glenn, Brad Kibler, and Roger Salyards) and Alex Coyle was baptized. The church grieved the passing of Marge Max (charter member).

 

 

2013 – The Church launched a 2nd contemporary service from 9:30-10:15, titled “365 4 Him.”. The messages at the service were handled by Rick Beyerle, John Zimmer, Charles Robbins, and Pastor Tilford. A Fellowship Time was organized as a meet and greet for church members between the services.  

The church collected Food for our pantry and Interfaith pantry, New Britain Baptist Food Larder, and State Representative Tom Murt, while also providing 100 boxes to Operation Christmas Child, packing 120 meals to be distributed by Aid for Friends. The church also sponsored a family through Tabor Children’s Service and providing food and clothing for Philadelphia homeless. Social activities included Soup Night, a Super Bowl Party, a Final Four Party, Corn Roast, Monday Night Football, a Thanksgiving Dinner, and Pizza/Church decorating night.

The Billiards Group for Men, Women’s Night Out, Senior Luncheons, and Men’s Bible Study continued to meet. Additionally, the Children’s Ministry hosted an Egg Hunt, VBS, Harvest Party, and Children’s Musicalalong with a Christmas production.

The church grieved the passing of Bill Lyman  .

 

2014 – The Church launched its contemporary service from 9:30-10:15, titled “365 4 Him.” The church collected Food for our pantry and Interfaith pantry, New Britain Baptist Food Larder, and State Representative Tom Murt, while also providing 100 boxes to Operation Christmas Child, packing 100+ meals and 190+ breakfast bags to be distributed by Aid for Friends. The church also partnered with Feed the Starving Children and delivered beds in the Philadelphia area with Beds for Kids Program for OHAAT, and sponsoring a family through Tabor Children’s Service, and providing food and clothing for Philadelphia homeless. Social activities included Soup & Philly Trivia Night, a Super Bowl Party, a Pizza/Trivia Night, Corn Roast with Comedy Night, a Movie Night with “God’s Not Dead”, a Thanksgiving Dinner, and Pizza/Church decorating night. We organized groups to attend concerts for Big Daddy Weave, Group 1 Crew, David Akers, Building 429/Family Force 5/Hawk nelson concert, Sidewalk Prophets, and Apologetix along with going to the theaters to watch Heaven is for Real and attending a Faith Night at Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

The Billiards Group for Men, Women’s Night Out, Senior Luncheons, and Men’s Bible Study continued to meet. Additionally, the Children’s Ministry hosted Spring Fling, an Egg Hunt, VBS, along with a Christmas production. . The Youth Ministry collaborated with Pennepack Baptist to host several activities.

15 people became members and there were 15 people baptized (Maureen Gleming, Janette Gentner, Serafina & Sophia Goble, Olivia Lonesky, Pinky & Kate Moyer, Evelyn Prendergast, Morgan & Javier Patine, Channing & Michaila Regan, Sue Wagner, Donna Ziegler, and Vanessa Watts). The church grieved the passing of Marge Max (charter member).

2015 – The church partnered with Willow Grove Methodist and two churches to each host a once-a-month dinner for those in need. During this time, the church provides guests with free drug store items and books. The church hosted a food drive (November) to help the New Britain Baptist Food Larder and collected food and clothing for Philadelphia homeless. The church served at Feed my Starving Children and sponsored a family through Tabor Children’s Services Christmas Program, as well as delivered beds for the Bed for Kids Program for OHAAT. Bob Williams built and installed a Lawn Library share box available at the front of the property.  The church also hosted a Soup & Movie Night, a Super Bowl Party, and International Night followed by the movie “Heaven is For Real”, attending a Tim Hawkins Comedy Night, hosting a church yard sale, Corn Roast followed by TV Trivia Night, a Progressive Dinner, and Thanksgiving Dinner.

The Billiards Group for Men, Women’s Night Out, Senior Luncheons, and Men’s Bible Study continued to meet. Additionally, the Children’s Ministry hosted an Egg Hunt, VBS, and Harvest Party, along with six “Kid Sundays”.

Shane Kibler and Reubon Amaro were baptized. The church grieved the passing of Helen Weiser.

2016 – In September, the church launched its first Community Dinner. We also hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner (November). The church hosted a kickball fundraiser, an aerobics fundraiser, soup Movie Night with “War Room,” a Super Bowl Party, a live Simulvast of Harvest America, a men’s Movie Night with “Courageous,” Corn Roast with movie “Miracles from Heaven”,  and began a monthly Community Dinners (October), provided 100 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, partnered with Beds for Kids Program for OHAAT, and attended a Josh Wilson concert, The youth group met twice a month and partnered with local youth groups for fun activities. The youth helped with Mother’s Day Tea, Fall Festival, Food Packing, and VBS. Additionally, the youth had laser tag, bowling trips, and celebrated birthdays.

The church grieved the passing of Dot Smith.

2017 – The church helped to launch the Hope-Help Network in the area. The church also monthly community dinners, provided 100 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, partnered with Beds for Kids Program for OHAAT, partnered with Feed My Starving Children (October), and Pizza Party/Church Decorating Day.

Wednesday night bible study returned as well as a monthly women’s bible study. Billards Group for Men, Women’s Night Out, Senior Luncheons, and Men’s Bible study continued throughout the year. The Youth Ministry partnered with local Youth Groups for joint events. Additionally, the Children’s Ministry held an Easter and Christmas Production, Easter Egg Hunt, and VBS.

Bynn Kibler & Allie Kowalski (Bolot) were baptized. The church grieved the passing of three prominent members: Pastor Jean Marie, Phil Kashow, and Bob Williams.

2018 – A Food and Clothing Pantry was added to the dinner times. A new mid-week Bible Study was brought back. A new roof and LED street sign were added to the church as well as renovating the Fellowship Hall. The church continued the monthly Community Dinners and converted a room for a Share and Care room for those attending. We hosted a Pizza Party/Church Decorating Day, a Soup/Trivia Night, and Day of Service where 100 boxes were packed for Operation Christmas Child (September), Movie Night (I Can Only Imagine) as well as attended several local events including a local showing of Sight & Sound showing of Moses, comedy show by Michael Jr., and hosting a Philadelphia Eagles tailgating party. Wednesday night bible study returned as well as a monthly women’s bible study.

Additionally, the Children’s Ministry held an Easter and Christmas Production, Easter Egg Hunt (with 54 attenders), VBS, and a Family Fall Festival. The Youth Ministry helped with the Fall Festival and had a bake sale that raised $188.75.  

2019 – Throughout the year, the church hosted several activities including a monthly Community Dinner, Progressive Dinner (February), a Yoga Fundraiser to benefit a local family in need, CHOP Fundraiser which benefited Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a Day of Service where the church packed 50 boxes for Operation Christmas Child and held a retirement party for Pastor Tony (November)

Also, the Women’s Bible Study Billards Group for men, a Saturday morning Woman’s Group, Women’s Night out, and Senior’s Luncheon are all met once a month. Men’s Saturday Morning Bible Study and Wednesday Night Bible Study met weekly. Additionally, Children’s events included an Easter Egg hunt, Vacation Bible School, and Youth Christmas Production. 

Rev. Jorge (George) Suitor| 2019-Present

December 1, 2019 – Present | Pastor Jorge Suitor

December 1, 2019 – Pastor Jorge (George) Suitor, his wife, along daughter Molly, were called Family Worship Center, Lansdale PA.

December 2019 – Pastor Jorge took over Wednesday Night Bible Studies, hosted a Christmas Party (12/18), and the Church organized a Kid’s Christmas Pageant. New Facebook Pages and Groups were formed, along with a Youth Instagram page.

January 2020 – Youth events were revived along with a movie night “Overcomer”

February 2020 – The church hosted a Soup & Trivia Night as COVID-19 continued to spread and impact the world.

The following Ministry Teams were created: Congregational Care Team, Building & Maintenance Team, and Family Ministry’s Team.

March 17, 2020 – COVID puts the country into a quarantine closing all buildings and in-person meetings. People are asked to stay at home. Church Services are moved online including one 10:00 am Sunday Services and Wednesday and Saturday morning Bible Studies. Shortly afterward, the Church food pantry was expanded. Weekly collection drives begin along an outdoor donation box was added.

April 2020 – WGBC partners with Chosen Ministries to present an online workshop titled “Messiah in the Passover.” Easter Service is held online including interactive activities that were dropped off at every member’s house. Online Youth Scavenger Hunt.

May 2020 – Church launches a clothing pantry in addition to the food pantry.

September 2020 – Women’s Night Out and Youth Night’s returns in person at Pastors House. Packed 65 boxes through donations collected across the year for Operation Christmas Child.

October 2020 – Church hosts a Trunk or Treat with over 400 attenders, 19 Trunks, and raised $192 towards shipping Operation Christmas Child boxes.