COLEMAN MEMORIAL CHAPEL
During the years of 1998-2019 Russ Hobbs was the pastor of the Historic Coleman Memorial Chapel. Russ & Darla(wife) spent 21 years helping to pour life and excitement in a church and ministry that had many needs; physically, emotionally and spiritually. These years were filled with sharing the Word and reviving a unique ministry setting.
This is a historical accounting of our ministerial years at the Coleman Memorial Chapel in Lititz, PA as told by Rev. Russ Hobbs. Who would be better qualified to tell this portion of the Coleman Memorial Chapel story than the pastor who lived, worked and directed pastoral ministry during these years?
It is not my intention to record a comprehensive history of the chapel. There have been many others who have added to the historical era of the Chapel adding accounts of its origin and development since 1874. It is my goal to share with you some of the key events of my pastoral and ministerial years at this Lancaster County Pennsylvania landmark.
My call to pastoral ministry dates back to the 60’s when I felt a call to the gospel ministry. I was raised in a Christian home, introduced to the church at an early age and involved in Christian ministries since my childhood and teen years. I graduated from Montrose Area High School in June of 1968 and that fall was enrolled as a student at Lancaster School of the Bible which became Lancaster Bible College in the 70’s. The years of my professional and ministerial training at LBC spanned 50 years at this writing. I graduated from Lancaster Bible College in 1978 and again with an M.A. in Ministry/Leadership in 2003. I have moved from student, to Instructor to Adjunct Professor of Counseling and Psychology courses which I have written and taught.
My professional ministerial journey has included the work of Pastor, Broadcaster, Storyteller, Writer, Counselor, Treatment Specialist and Professor.
I grew up in the Baptist and Presbyterian churches. I have held several youth pastorates and pastorates that has involved work in the United Methodist Church, Church of God as well as non-denominational churches and entities including an organization that I founded in 1977, Midnight Hour Ministries and Russ Hobbs Ministries in 2019.
It was September of 1997 and I was engaged in full time employment as a Treatment Specialist at the Dauphin County Prison. At that time I was seeking a pastoral assignment and had contacted the Lancaster Bible College to check out some alumni news to explore churches that were seeking pastors. It was there that I discovered a call for pastor at the Coleman Memorial Chapel. I contacted the Chapel in September and began candidate process in October of that year. In February 1998 I was called, confirmed and installed as the Pastor of the Chapel.
There were significant transition years in coming to the chapel. The Coleman Memorial Chapel was in a state of dysfunction and collapse when we arrived. The church and parsonage were in shambles. There was much work to be done. The stately chapel parsonage had been vacant for more than a decade and was in dire need of restoration and repair. There were more than 5,000 little brown bats dwelling in the attic of the chapel parsonage. These ecological little creatures would come out in the nocturnal hours for their nightly flight. Bugs and mosquitoes were not a problem during these years of transition. The house did not smell too good at that time and bat guano was seeping down and through the walls. A former pastor would awaken in the night and swat them with a tennis racket sometimes. It was a storyteller paradise for me! Stately gothic architecture, gorgeous sandstone buildings dating to the 1800’s and treasures within and outside, it was a storyteller paradise! I took advantage of that backdrop as I proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ from week to week.
I believe that throughout the twenty-one years of our ministry at the Coleman Memorial Chapel that the Lord guided Darla and I in ministering to a broken church and conflicting saints. We ministered to spiritually and Biblically illiterate people at the CMC. We instituted significant pastoral care through a variety of ministries and programs. We lit the steeple with the help of some VERY good people. We added professional dimensions of light and sound. We raised funds for renovation projects at the Chapel, Parsonage and Guest House. We installed a beautiful new sign in front of the church along Route 501. WE developed vision, mission, core value statements, a philosophy of ministry, doctrinal statements, broadcast communications and so much more during our years at the chapel. God blessed in many ways.
I/we thoroughly loved our 21 years of ministry at the Chapel. The last year of ministry prior to our retirement might have been more enjoyable had it not been for a few disgruntled saints seeking to stir drama and create dysfunction. If you were to boil down the primary reasons for contention that year, I believe it would be fair to conclude that jealousy and control issues topped the list. Some of the disgruntled engaged in outright manipulation and lies to further their desire for selfish and unproductive reasons. As most often is the case some very good people got hurt and left the church.
Nonetheless, some of us continued to proclaim the Word and performed the business of the church honorably and with integrity. My thanks to my wife Darla Hobbs for standing with me in pastoral ministry for a lifetime of challenge and labor as we served God together in the good and not so good of life, the challenge, if you will. There was a lot more “good” than not and that was and is true during this period of transition. Thanks to Tina Zartman, Tammy Ober, Sharon Montgomery, Heather Montgomery and Matt Edmiston for the roles they played as we labored together to be the church and share the work and mission of the love of Christ to our community.
I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the Coleman Memorial Chapel during my entire tenure of service. As I have mentioned when Darla and I arrived at the Chapel in 1998 it was in shambles! There was little or no direction being offered by those there. There had been steamy conflicts that had shattered the morale of the church and severed friendships and relationships along the way. It was a mess to say the least!
Initially, I felt it important to establish a mission, vision statement and philosophy of ministry.
Our Mission Statement
It is the mission of Coleman Memorial Chapel to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ, to witness the Word of God, to respond to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our community and to encourage discipleship through communication and commitment to the Christian way of life.
Philosophy of Ministry
Coleman Memorial Chapel
The Coleman Memorial Chapel was built and dedicated in memory of James Coleman, age 14, who died in March l874. The grieving parents, George and Deborah Coleman, witnessed the dedication of the chapel in July, l877.
While the chapel was erected as a memorial to a beloved son who was tragically killed, this is not the purpose for its existence today.
The Coleman Memorial Chapel is in existence and is open today to bring
honor to Jesus Christ. We desire that men, women, boys and girls may know Jesus Christ as a personal savior and come to experience and know him as the Lord of their lives. Psalm 95:6, John 3: l6-21.
We believe in godly leadership, edification, fellowship, evangelism, worship and Christian service.
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God. We believe that the Bible is divinely inspired and without error in its original writings. We believe that the Bible is the supreme and final authority in faith, life and practice of our Christian walk and talk.
We believe that through the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s word, the Holy Spirit speaks to needy hearts. As a result of honoring and teaching the word and through faithful witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ people are saved, experiencing what Scripture refers to as eternal life.
At the Coleman Memorial Chapel, we are committed to seeing our people become strong and vibrant disciples of Jesus Christ who are able to effectively share the gospel. We want our people to apply the gospel in their lives through practical day to day living.
We want to win the lost for Jesus Christ. We want to give hope to the troubled and downtrodden in our community. We want to unite and strengthen families by providing an understanding of the meaning of functional family life. Our examples will come from scriptures that relate to the family of God.
We believe that we are commanded by the scriptures to worship God. We worship from grateful hearts, openly and with sincerity.
Our worship blends both traditional and contemporary styles. We believe that as long as our worship honors God, we may be creative in expression of word and music. Our music includes hymns, gospel songs and more contemporary arrangements. Our preaching and teaching goals are to minister to both seeker and to the mature and seasoned child of God. The preaching and teaching ministries of the Coleman Memorial Chapel are evangelistic and edifying in nature. Matt. 3:2, Acts 2:38, 3:19, l7:30, 2 Tim. 2:l5
We believe that the word and music should challenge, inspire, comfort and bring a message of hope and healing for our stressful and troubled world. We believe that baptism is an essential witness of the believer. Baptism is for those who have trusted in and accepted Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord.
Baptism’s are generally conducted as a part of our worship service. We baptize by sprinkling. Baptism by immersion will be arranged by the Pastor for those who wish to be baptized in this manner. We believe that the baptism of the believer is important and that baptism is scriptural. We do not believe that salvation and baptism are the same. We believe in and practice believer baptism.
The church will baptize infants, we view this as a dedication by the parents to raise their child in a godly home according to the scriptures. It is our belief that parents need to commit and accept the responsibility of teaching, nurturing and leading their child to the Lord. WE DO NOT believe that baptism of infants is a salvation mechanism that removes the responsibility of that child from making a personal profession of faith when he or she is old enough to understand the importance of this personal decision.
We observe Holy Communion (the Lord’s table) quarterly and during other significant times of reflection and celebration in the church. We do not believe that there are any scriptural time tables for communion, but that it be observed with the right attitude and with a clean heart. Our communion table is open to all who will confess that Jesus Christ is their personal Savior and Lord. I Cor. 11: 23-28
Our church doors are open to “saint and sinner” which means we want people to come and seek the Lord. We define saint as one who has trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We define “sinner” as everyone. We want everyone to feel welcome to enter the Coleman Memorial Chapel.
It is our intention to minister through evangelism to the non-believer. We believe evangelism is living our lives so that others will see and accept Jesus Christ as Savior.
We will use a variety of methods that we believe will point that individual to Christ. We will not incorporate methods that are not Scriptural or are questionable or violate biblical standards.
Our ministry to the believer will be to challenge and encourage a relationship with the Lord. A part of this Christian nurture will be to encourage consideration for professional ministry. (John 3:15-16, John ll:26, 12:46, Acts l0:43, 2 Tim. 2:15, Psalm 100:2)
The spiritual leadership of the Coleman Memorial Chapel is provided by the pastor, elders and deaconesses. (I Tim 3:1-13, 5;17-19) The executive committee is comprised of the pastor, elders and deaconesses. The executive board meets monthly. At these meetings the board conducts the ministry of the Coleman Memorial Chapel. The presiding officer is the pastor.
The pastor may call a special meeting of the executive committee.
The pastor and executive committee will work together to encourage Christians to pursue preparation for ministry. The executive committee may involve consultants and/or other advisors in the work of this congregation. These consultants and advisors may be invited to board and committee meetings. These individuals will not have the right or privilege to enter motions or vote on any item of church business.
It shall be the task of the pastor and executive committee to appoint people to fill necessary positions. The Pastor will provide training and leadership assistance to those individuals chosen for leadership. It will be the primary duty of the pastor of the Coleman Memorial Chapel; l. to preach 2. teach 3. pray 4.plan 5.train. The sacraments and the solemnization of marriages shall be performed by the pastor.
We believe in discipline. We believe that a well-rounded and functional church must include the discipline of its membership.
Today, there are many who fear the word; “discipline”. We understand discipline to be part of Christian fellowship. At the Coleman Memorial Chapel we understand discipline to involve; watching over each other in love, advising, exhorting, admonishing and praying for one another. Some of the areas which would bring about the need for church discipline at the chapel would involve; doctrinal deviation (Gal. 1:6-8, Acts 20:28-30, I Tim. l:18-20, 2 Tim. 2: 17-18); divisiveness (2 Thess. 3:ll, Romans 16:17-20); undisciplined living (2 Thess. 3:6, I Thess. 5;14); conflict between believers (I Cor. 6:5, Phil. 4:2-3, Matt. l8:15-18) sins of the flesh (I Cor. 6:5, Phil. 4:2-3, Matt. l8:15-18, I Cor. 5:11); sins of the spirit (I Cor. 5:11). We believe in a tough love approach, which means we will be hard on “sin” as defined in the Bible. The scripture will be our source of defining sin and rebellious living.
While we will be tough on sin, which separates us from God, breaking our relationship with him, we will be loving, challenging and caring with the individual caught or snagged by a particular sin. If an erring member is removed from leadership and/or membership of the church, he or she will be welcomed back into our fellowship, after repentance and correction of the problem which resulted in removal. This individual must be approved by the Pastor and elders and recommendation made to the congregation for this individual to be returned to any church office or position. We will discipline our leaders and members with the same biblical guidelines. We are committed to using biblical procedures as given to us in the book of Matthew. We will not demonstrate partiality in any matter of church discipline. The process of membership and or leadership will be according to church policy and under the leadership of the pastor and elders.
The Coleman Memorial Chapel will be fair and consistent in dealing with disciplinary matters. We will not act hastily, except where diligent action is needed to resolve a potential threat or danger to the body. For example, we will respond quickly and decisively in matters where divisiveness or sexual sin is involved. We will not tolerate gossip or backbiting.
A member who falsely accuses another member of sin will be disciplined. If it is proven to the satisfaction of the leadership and congregation that a member has knowingly harmed another in word or deed, biblical principles will be applied. If the person who falsely accuses fails to repent, he or she will be asked and required to leave the fellowship.
Members of the Coleman Memorial Chapel are those who:
l. Have placed faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. (Acts 16:31)
2. Accept the scriptures of the Bible to be the divinely inspired Word of God.
3. Desire to live a godly life and practice their faith.
4. Attend worship and fellowship programs regularly unless medical reasons
5. Support the work and ministry financially as able.
6. Are involved in Christian service to the church and community.
7. Give evidence of faith in Jesus Christ to pastor/elders.
8. Agree with our doctrinal statement.
9. Attend and complete membership classes with the pastor.
10. Are baptized as a believer.
The nurturing process of the Coleman Memorial Chapel takes place as we come together for worship, study and fellowship. We believe that steel sharpens steel, that nurturing becomes a two way street in which we train and equip each other. We believe
that in accordance with the great commission, we are to be and make disciples. (Matt. 28:18-20,2 Tim. 2:2) Further, we encourage each other to make disciples for Jesus Christ by supporting the teaching and nurturing process of this church.
We seek to learn from other churches and parachurch organizations how to do a better job of nurturing. We are open to examining various models of nurture. We will use small group process and fellowship opportunities to sharpen our skills, as we reach out to disciple and make disciples. Our programming effort(s) will be for the purpose of making disciples. The word disciple, not program will be the operative word.
We believe that we are responsible to each other; physically, emotionally, spiritually. This means that we are concerned whether our members and community have food, shelter, emotional and spiritual care. We will address these needs to the best of our abilities and available resources. (Mark 3;14, Gal. 5:25-6:2, I Pet. l:22, Eph. 4:15-16)
Our house of worship dates back to approximately 1750. The present adult Sunday school room and fellowship hall was the ironworkers meeting house. Our current sanctuary construction began in 1874. The church was dedicated in July of 1877. The gothic architecture of the sanctuary is that of a unique cathedral. The colorful tiffany windows are a collection of appropriate Christian symbols. The chancel combines a lighted stained glass depiction with gold leaf. The folding doors are paneled with hand painted scripture quotations and the Apostles creed. The ceiling of the sanctuary depicts with gold leaf, stars shining in an early blue night sky all done on stretched canvas. The original lighting features oil lamps held in artistically crafted cast iron wall brackets.
The Apostles window, combining the haloed lamb and the book of life outlined and bordered by twelve stained glass brilliants, highlights the rear wall. Hand carved in wood in the lunette of the narthex doors are lilies of the valley and the scripture of Joshua 4:7, “These stones shall be for a memorial.”
We have a beautiful building with historical significance. But, we recognize that the building is just that…the church is comprised of the believers who meet here. When the benediction is pronounced each Sunday, the church goes into the world, to be the church and bear witness for Jesus Christ.
We are a small rural church with a weekly attendance of approximately of 20- 65. We seek to reach the surrounding communities of Brickerville, Lititz, Ephrata and the area within a 15-25 mile radius of our church.
We want to minister to our community through outreach programs to singles, couples and families between the ages of 23-55. As a traditional church, we want to minister to our seniors. Our senior ministry will offer fellowship-oriented programs. These programs will address loneliness, loss and the problems of aging.
We recognize that in many cases we will be speaking to and ministering to Christians. However, we do not want to take this for granted. We will also minister with purpose and plan to reach the unchurched. We will be seeker sensitive in worship and outreach.
We believe that there are no sacred cow methods of reaching people for Christ. We intend to be creative and relevant in reaching people. It is our belief that the reasons for leading a soul to Christ are:
l. Liberation from sin and death. Romans 8:12
2.An entrance into the Family of God. John l:l2, Gal. 3:l6, 26-29, 4:5b-7:1, I John
3.Participation in the reign of Christ. Eph. l:2
We believe that evangelism is a work in which God is involved with man. We understand that unless the Lord is moving and working in the lives of those we minister and witness to that our labors will be in vain. Psalm 21:27
We want to place our efforts and finances where they will be used, most effectively. It is our policy to evaluate our missions and evangelistic outreaches on a consistent basis
in an effort to determine how best to reach those without Christ.
It is our expectation that the members and friends of the Coleman Memorial Chapel, who have been born into the family of God will share their faith in the circle(s) of influence where Christ has placed them.
The church will assist its members and friends to be more effective in areas of evangelism and outreach through training and support. We will assist financially these ministries and outreaches as we are able. We will carefully and prayerfully consider our time commitments, so that we may utilize our time wisely, as good stewards through evangelistic effort and outreach.
We believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. John 3:l6, We believe that the church should minister and share the gospel with all people.
We believe that “our” church best ministers to the Lancaster County culture where we serve and have influence. While our congregation is primarily, Caucasian, middle class, blue-collar workers, we embrace and welcome individuals without prejudice.
We have a particular interest in children and youth, we believe they represent hope and the future of the church. We work to offer programs and services for this population, which we believe will meet their needs, encouraging them to walk with the Lord. Our congregation is comprised of middle age and seniors as well. Our middle age folks and seniors are not second class citizens at the Coleman Memorial Chapel, we believe in the value and dignity of all.
We will do our best to minister; physically, emotionally and spiritually to all members of our church family. Our preaching and teaching reflects the culture and persons we minister to, as do all other programming efforts of the Coleman Memorial Chapel.
We believe that we have a mission and mandate to reach the lost for Christ. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10) While we see this as our primary objective, we further understand this to include an obligation to minister to the specific physical, emotional and mental needs of the people we serve and have opportunity to minister to.
We believe that God calls us to show our love for him in the way that we treat other. Lev. l9:l8 We are to love and care for our neighbors. We will use our benevolence fund to meet physical needs, food, clothing and shelter. Our desire and goal is to show mercy. James 7:15-16, Matt. 5:13-16
The church benevolence committee is comprised of the Pastor and an Elder.
The mission program of the Coleman Memorial Chapel will focus on both home and foreign missionary endeavors. The primary consideration for giving and disbursement of funds will be for home missionary projects.
The pastor will recommend missionaries and mission. The pastor will be assisted by a missions chairperson who will give input into the selection of both missionary and mission project Acts 4:34-37, Hebrews 13:5, I Peter 5:2
In those years we offered some core values that simplified what we were about, stood for and projected to the community and world.
Coleman Memorial Chapel Core Values:
We Value The Bible:
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, that it is comprised of the Old and New Testaments. The Word is divinely inspired and inerrant in its original writings. It is the supreme and final authority in faith and life practice.
We believe that through the Word, men, women, boys and girls are able to find the words and necessary requirements of faith which lead to a relationship with Jesus Christ. We believe that the Word offers hope, strength and comfort for times of joy and need. Col. 3:16, II Tim. 2:15, Jas 1:22.
We Value Prayer:
We believe that prayer changes life and the outcome of life events. We believe that God, the creator and sustainer is pleased to work on the behalf of mankind, when we approach him through prayer.
We believe in and value prayer on behalf of our families, church, community and world. We believe that prayer is essential to Christian faith and practice and that prayer should be practiced on a consistent basis, which includes living in an attitude of prayer, daily. Eph 6:18, Phil 4:6, I Thess 5:17
We Value Worship:
We value assembly and coming together to praise and worship God. We believe that it is our duty and privilege to bring praise and adoration to God. We practice corporate worship weekly and personal worship, daily. Ps 95:6, Rom 12:1
We Value Friendship:
We believe that friendship is important to the very ministry which we have been called to. We want to be a friend to each other and those in need, including visitors and strangers. Prov 17:17, 18:24
Pauline Risser & Hellen Faddis
Ocean City, MD trip!
We Value Fellowship:
We enjoy times of fellowship and conversation. We come together to eat, talk, laugh, sing and “be involved” in each others lives. Fellowship is part of our mutual sharing and walking together as believers.
We fellowship during formal and informal times, we fellowship with spontaneity. I John 1:7
We Value Service:
We are a congregation that is involved in service to each other and to our community. We value and support home and foreign missions, through contribution and encouragement.
We encourage our people to use their gifts to serve others. Psa. 2:11, 100:2, Eph 6:7
We Value Simplicity:
We believe that communication with God is best achieved from a simple and open heart. We value simplicity in our relationships with each other… open and honest trust and communication. Psa 116:6, Psa 119:130, Prov 14:15
We Value Freedom:
We believe that our relationship with Jesus Christ brings us freedom to live and enjoy a godly life. We realize that freedom is not license to sin, but, to enjoy an open fellowship with the Lord which removes fear, guilt and shame from our lives and relationships. We believe that is to be freedom. Psa 16:16, Rom 3;24, 2 Cor 3:17, Jas 1:25, Rev 1:5
We Value Growth:
We want to be a church which grows biblically, spiritually and numerically. We are committed to personal and congregational spiritual growth. Col 1:10, II Thes 1:3, II Pet 3:18
Our doctrinal statements were equally concise and clear for everyone to understand and embrace.
The Coleman Memorial Chapel
1. We believe in one Triune God, Creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent (All Powerful, All Knowing and ALL Present) “perfect and eternally existing in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” Colossians 1:16, Psalm 139:6-12, Psalm 18:30, John 10:30, Luke 3:22
2. We believe Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, born of a virgin into the world without ceasing to be the second person of the Triune God. He is both fully God and fully man; two natures perfectly united in one person. He was crucified, died, was buried and resurrected bodily. He ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. John 18:19, 20, Isaiah 7:14, Colossians 2:9, Phil 2:5-11, Acts 1:9, Hebrews 10:12
3. We believe the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, convict people of sin, regenerate and indwell believers, assist in prayer, equip the saints for service unto God, and lead the believers into all truth necessary for godliness. Luke 3:22, John 16:7, 8, Ephesians 3:16, 17a, Romans 8:26, John 16:13
4. We believe the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, in their entirety, to be the inspired Word of God and the final authority for doctrine and Christian conduct. 2 Tim 3:16, 17, James 2:15a
5. We believe man was directly created by God being fashioned in his likeness, his very essence, but sinned, incurring both physical and spiritual death resulting in separation from God. Subsequently, sin is inherited by every member of the human race and every person is hopelessly damned unless they respond to Christ’s invitation to accept His finished work on the cross and be saved. Gen. 3, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 8:1, I Corinthians 15:21, 22, I Timothy 2:14
6. We believe in the atonement of sin through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, bringing the believer into a vibrant relationship with God whereby a deliverance from the power and penalty of sin is eternally effected in the life of the believer. Romans 3:23-26, 5:8-11, Ephesians 1:7a, Ephesians 2:8 & 13
7. We believe in water baptism by the mode of sprinkling or immersion as a public declaration of the Lordship of Jesus Christ testifying that regeneration has occurred in the believer’s life. John 3:5-8, Romans 6:1-4, I Peter 3:18-22, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
8. We believe in the Church as the body of Christ, having all the necessary power and authority to carry out Christ’s commands. The Church consists of all who, through faith in Jesus Christ, have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:22, 23, 5:25-32, Colossians 1:21-24
9. We believe that a free and vigorous exchange of ideas, philosophies, and theologies is conducive to Christian maturity; that such an exchange will of necessity include ideas, philosophies, and theologies of a heterodox and neo-orthodox nature, resulting in a Christian theology that is dynamic and fluid rather than static and rigid. Ephesians 4:15, I Corinthians 13:11, Hebrews 5:11-14, 2 Peter 3:18
10. We believe in intensive world evangelism and missionary endeavors in accordance with the Great Commission and in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Proverbs 11:30, Matthew 28:18-20, John 10:10, 14:6
11. We believe that Jesus Christ will be coming again at a time known only to God the Father. He will come in glory to judge the living and the dead according to what each has done. We must therefore be ready and patiently waiting with joyful expectation, living self-controlled, upright and godly lives so that, when He appears, we may be unashamed at His coming. Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 12:35-40; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 2:28
12. We believe in the eternal security of ALL individuals who have placed their hope and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We believe that Christians are saved by grace through faith and are eternally secure; justified before God, preventing us from being separated from God throughout eternity. John10:27, 28, Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 4:2-8
I will be telling my story and sharing our history of ministry and CMC Chapel life as time and inspiration permits. Check back from time to time if you’re interested in reading more. If you have a question about what I’m sharing e-mail me at email@example.com Let the stories begin.
MEET ME AT THE CROSS
If you’re travelling 501North through Brickerville you will pass the historical Coleman Memorial Chapel. As you gaze at the small gothic chapel you will see a wooden cross in front of that place of worship. I suppose to some that cross might look a bit out of place right at that spot! How did it get there anyway?
Several years ago just before Easter, Craig Achey was commissioned by the Reverend Russ Hobbs to construct a wooded cross and place it in a prominent and noticeable place in front of the church. Mr. Achey did a fine job and that Easter Sunday Pastor Hobbs dedicated the cross during Easter Worship. It was a very cold Easter that year and worshippers were encouraged to pray and be anointed at the cross.
The cross has stood there since its placement in the mid 2,000’s when the pastor and congregation wanted to make a public pronouncement of the importance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! How important is that old wooden cross?
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
LOVE, SERVING, CHICKEN BARBECUES and AUCTIONS
Tina Zartman, Mary Engle, Tammy Ober, Sharon Montgomery, Heather Montgomery, Darla Hobbs! (a host of others) The CORE GROUP that every July would pour their hearts and time into The CMC Annual Chicken Barbecue & Auction.
The church would secure a 30X30 tent from Tents For Rent each July and the FUN and WORK would begin! The Chapel was always in need of funds for restoration, repair and programming. Throughout the year plate offerings were collected, folks would give in various fund-raising campaigns and for specific programs and ministries.
The Chicken Barbecue/Auction was always considered a major fund raising event because it would raise several thousand dollars each summer that would sustain church operations for several months. The companion fund-raiser of the CMC was the chocolate Easter Egg candy sale that would raise additional funds always needed for operations.
The labor, contributions and leadership of the above mentioned cannot be under-estimated. Their love, commitment and zeal spoke volumes about their love for Christ, his church and their desire to reach neighbors and friends with a message of love and hope.
TEAMWORK and sweat was what the fundraisers were all about! The above team definitely practiced Matthew 5:16.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in Heaven.”
BACKSTABBERS and CHARACTER ASSASSINS ARE ENEMIES OF THE CHURCH
“Backstabbing, Character Assassination” It all has many names, what does back-stabbing actually mean?
Backstabbing is a betrayal, often verbal, by one posing as a friend. The word is self-explanatory, creating an image of a person who is pleasant to your face but, when your back is turned, stabs you. Backstabbing is cowardly. It lacks the courage of honest confrontation and resorts to slander or passive-aggressive revenge without revealing its motives. It’s “really quite” serious and often results in harm to a local church or any organization.
Backstabbing destroys the character and relationships of good people! Backstabbers do not walk in love as God commands us to walk (Ephesians 5:2; 2 John 1:6). They look out only for themselves (Philippians 2:4). Backstabbing is hypocrisy in action because the backstabber pretends loyalty to a person while secretly destroying him or his reputation. Backstabbing goes hand-in-hand with slander, gossip, and discord.
The Bible condemns backstabbing and all it entails. Proverbs 10:18 says, “Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.” Backstabbers are fools because they are rejecting honesty, love, reconciliation, and kindness. They are defying Jesus’ Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). Those with a tendency to backstab others need to closely evaluate their motives and attitudes in-light of Scripture’s commands.
WOW, that’s a mouthful, huh? There are some stories here! During my years of ministry and pastoral care outreach I have witnessed some very good people being harmed by the cruelty and vicious verbal attacks of others. I recently met a man who told me a story about how his “pastor” had been called by a congregation to help them during a time of turmoil! The problem? That pastor never got his facts straight because he never dug into the controversy of that congregation, before taking the word of, yep you guessed it, a bunch of gossipers and troublemaking individuals. That just sounds like more gossiping to me! Why wouldn’t a pastor have the courage to speak with another pastor before accepting verbatim the insults and verbal assaults cast at another “brother” who was not present to state his views on the matter at hand. 😊
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
The Coleman Memorial Chapel was a very different place when Darla and I arrived there in October 1998. When we began our pastoral responsibilities at the chapel, there were about 12 active participants, dilapidated and uninhabitable buildings, extensive termite damage in the chapel, poor and dim sanctuary lighting, carpets and sanctuary flooring and walls in need of repair and so much more than you can begin to imagine! These and so many more problems and issues were successfully addressed by the Hobbs pastorate and leadership team(s) that worked with him and the board. In the early days the board was comprised of a multitude of members. But, for a significant period of time the board was comprised of a “faithful few” who worked diligently and lovingly with Pastor and Mrs. Hobbs. They were Tina Zartman, Sharon Montgomery, Heather Montgomery, Tammy Ober, Jason Silks, (who also served in later years as the youth pastor)
In the summer the chapel was HOT! There was no AC in the chapel, never had been. Neil Diamond did this song Hot August Nights! We had HOT August Sundays for years until three little old ladies visited the chapel one very hot summer Sunday! Remember, that burger commercial of years ago? Where’s the beef? 😊
These three ladies responded after this particularly hot Sunday with Where’s the AC? WE explained that there never had been any AC in the historic Coleman Chapel and that we were not in a financial position to purchase an AC system!
You must remember here that we had never seen these ladies before this Sunday. We did not know them, WE as a church didn’t know anything about them. But, these ladies strongly urged and insisted that WE get AC for the chapel. They stated that they were in a position to donate a new AC system to the church! They stated that the check would arrive shortly. They left after that service and to the best of my knowledge, we never saw them again.
That next week WE took a step of faith and committed to a new AC system!
A local company was hired to do the work, a date was set and the work began. No check arrived that week! We wondered if we had been “snookered” and were naïve to have believed that such a generous gift had actually been given to the Chapel! WE were now fully committed to the job at hand AND didn’t have the wherewithal to pay for it. Now what, we didn’t know anything about the ladies of mercy or there whereabouts. I know what you must be thinking. How stupid could someone be, right? I mean, imagine believing that three little old ladies were going to be true to their word and follow through with a promise made to a little country chapel to bring about, “a summertime breath of fresh air, anyway”
The Bible says “that we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
WE had faith that hot summer that God was going to minister through “a breath of fresh air” and use three strangers to do just that. WE just believed it would happen.
A few days later God came through and so did those three little old ladies. The checks arrived and the system was paid for in full!
That wasn’t the first or last time that miracles would occur for the little Coleman Memorial Chapel and that God would come through for a little country chapel and its people, who learned to trust HIM and believe that the impossible could be possible and in fact often is.
THE MYSTERIOUS STEEPLE of the COLEMAN MEMORIAL CHAPEL
Several years ago there was an urgent need to repair the steeple of the historic Coleman Memorial Chapel. The chapel, built in the 1870’s was a unique work of art that stood and withstood the elements of nature for some 140 years. It was not known how long the present steeple stood in place prior to former repairs or reconstruction of the stately church steeple.
It was discovered one Sunday morning that there appeared to be some issues with the steeple and that it should be inspected. The inspection was performed by the present caretaker, Jon Yunginger who noted serious deterioration and structure issues with the steeple. It would be the Yunginger family in subsequent days who would actually supervise the steeple operation and perform the needed repairs to the chapel steeple.
During this time Matt Edmiston, the audio engineer of the Chapel and Pastor Hobbs discussed and initiated a project to equip the refurbished and repaired steeple with a state of the art sound system with huge speakers that could be used for outdoor services and programs. It was truly a labor of love, an enhancement and smashing success which added to the chapel aesthetics.
The Yunginger family and Mr. Edmiston performed a masterful job of repairing the steeple and equipping it with the capability for professional programming efforts which the Reverend Mr. Hobbs was known to utilize on many occasions. The speakers and sound system of the church were a huge asset to the CMC. Several years earlier the church under the direction of Pastor Hobbs had retained Clare Brothers of Lititz to install a new state of the art sound system which blessed the members and visitors of the chapel for many years.
Ahhhhhh, but the ministries of preaching, teaching and music that were offered via the sound system and steeple of the Coleman Memorial Chapel.
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