Our 330th Anniversary Celebration Well be this June 3. This year's theme is going to be Celebrating our Welsh Heritage, with our special guest The Welsh Society, of Philadelphia and the Welsh Guild
. Along with the street closure festival also. More info to come.
This is the news letter that Cheryl mailed out;
Greetings, Friends and Family;
I pray that this year's letter finds you in good health. I thank God for His continued Blessing as I serve Him as the Pennepack Baptist Church Lay Leader; we have Worship every Sunday at 11 AM, and Christmas Eve at 7 PM. Our Pastor, the Rev. Gerald Fortunato preaches for us twice a month, including Communion on the first Sunday of each month. We continue to be the oldest Baptist Congregation in PA. As God continues to Bless us, keep us healthy, and bring us together every Sunday, we strive to serve Him. We are also proud to continue to host the Northeast Philadelphia History Network on the first Wednesday of the month.
This year, for our 330th Anniversary, on, Sunday June 3rd, “Pennepack Day” will be combined with the “Krewstown Road Street Closure”. Last year’s festival was very successful. We had so many people out to witness something that was never seen in this part of our city before: Krewstown Road was closed to vehicular traffic from Bloomfield to Algon. The Pennepack Baptist Historical Foundation, the Northeast Philadelphia History Network, the Friends of Pennypack Park, the Greater Bustleton Civic League, the Councilman Brian O’Neill’s office, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation worked very hard planning this very special day. Once again, this street closing will allow everyone an opportunity to stroll, walk, bike, jog, skate, or explore the area. It was an unforgettable experience to be able to walk to the historic Krewstown Road Bridge, look down at the creek and follow the path to Baptismal Rock; all without risking your life. There were many local groups, and there will be many added this year. I continue to pray that the Holy Spirit leads us on and that God will enable us to work in and through this community in many ways.
The committee has been looking into the influence of our founding members who came here from Wales. This is the reason for this year’s theme: “Celebrating Our Welsh Heritage”. Five out of the 12 charter members who established the Church in 1688, were baptized members of the Dolau Baptist Church at Nantwel, Radnorshire, Wales. They are Sarah Eaton, her brothers John and George Eaton, George’s wife Jane, and Samuel Jones. They arrived in Philadelphia in November of 1683 and were settled on Pennepack Creek by early 1684. Without this group of people, we would not have this Church today. A Pastor at Pennepack also named (Rev.) Samuel Jones came from Wales, and was the son of a Baptist Minister and became a Baptist of national stature in America. His influence was felt in Philadelphia, New England, and in the South. He held a leading position in the Philadelphia Baptist Association, which is the oldest and best organized of the Baptist Associations in America. We had been thinking about these very important people and wanted to look deeper into their contributions that we appreciate so much. Through the will of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Fortunato reached out to two groups that he is associated with in Philadelphia: “The Welsh Guild” and “The Welsh Society of Philadelphia”. As it was truly meant to be, they agreed to visit with us for our “Anniversary” day. The Rev. Owen Griffiths will be our very special Guest Speaker at the 4:00 Anniversary Worship Service. We are very happy to also welcome our soloist for the service: Ms. Katherine Aregood-Crusi and her accompanist Mr. Jack R. Williams, Jr. I also look forward to meeting some of the officers of both groups. The Rev. Owen Griffiths has served as Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church on Woodhaven Rd. for the last 18 years. He traces his Welsh roots back to Cardigan. He was born in Lawrence, KS, grew up in Long Beach, CA & holds a BA form Cal State University at Long Beach and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He lectured and taught before earning his MDiv from the Lutheran Seminary in Mt. Airy. He and his wife Marilyn live in South Jersey with their shih-tzu Greta. Our soloist, Katherine is a graduate of the University of Akron with a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance. She has been seen in the roles of Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, Olympia in The Tales of Hoffman, Fiametta in The Prima Donna, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, and Rose Maybud in Ruddigore. Ms. Aregood-Crusi has been the Soloist for the Welsh Guild and Society many times, and maintains a private voice studio in nearby Ambler. Our accompanist, Mr. Williams has for many years been found behind the organ of Capel Dewi Sant. He was raised in Reading, PA, and performed at a Divine Service for the first time at the age of 13. Jack graduated cum laude from Temple University where he studied choral music and keyboard. His service to the government and the nation led him to be the recipient of the Robert Morris Award of Cymdeithas Gymreig. His natural feel, enthusiasm and talent for Welsh music make him indispensable for any Welsh event. He is the President of the Welsh Society and lives in Wayne, PA.
“Pennepack Day”, will begin on June 3rd this year, with a Special Worship and Communion Service at 11 AM led by Pastor Fortunato.
Open House will begin at 1 PM with several tents placed outdoors in the shade along the ancient cemetery wall. A special new activity for this theme will be Welsh Crafts for the children and their adults. Activities will include tours of the cemetery and Special tours of Baptismal Rock on Pennypack Creek. The many participating organizations will set up the activities and demonstrations at the Krewstown Road parking lot for Pennypack Park. Refreshments will be available outside of the Caretaker’s house. A favorite feature from last year will be “Peter Pennepack” sharing a lesson at Baptismal Rock.
As always, I would like to thank all of you who have supported us in the past. We continue to use all our donated funds to keep our grounds, buildings, and historical artifacts in the best possible condition. We need to have hazardous pruning done on the six huge Oak Trees, and possibly one or two removed. The proximity of the electric lines and the trees is causing this to be more difficult and dangerous. It is too big for our volunteers, and we are losing limbs in every wind storm. Any help towards this large bill is greatly appreciated.
The Church continues to operate mostly through the God given gifts and talents of its volunteers and members. It is through the mercy of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit which makes the continuing congregation possible. I truly love and want to thank our members for their dedication in keeping this congregation growing and enabling us to continue on in Jesus’ precious name! Praise God!
Unfortunately, I am sorry that many of you are not able to be with us in person. For those who need it Handicapped parking will be available. Access to other church parking lots will be available at Bloomfield Road. Please leave me a message on my home phone, and I will get back to you. My phone number is: 215-698-2572.
For those who are able, donations can be made out to “Pennepack Baptist Historical Foundation” and mailed to the Church at the address below. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Sunday, June 3rd. I understand that many of you are not able to attend and continue to pray for God’s Blessings on you all.
In Service of the Lord,
Cheryl A. Carlson
Cheryl A. Carlson
Church Clerk and Lay-Leader
Pennepack Baptist Church & Historical Foundation