Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A church that makes their pastor proud

In a week it will be one year since I was called here to be the pastor of 1st Baptist of Franklin.  In that year I have witnessed many things which have confirmed to both myself and my wife Nicole that we made the right choice when we moved here.  The spirit of love and generosity that embodies this church is certainly at the top of the list.  My heartfelt thanks go out to all who have donated of their time, skills, money, and prayer to this ministry.  I have often been the recipient of your generosity, as with the Christmas gift my wife and I received, and countless other acts of kindness, you have my thanks.

When I became involved in Mustard Seed Missions, I found a church eager to follow me.  When I suggested changes, big or small, for the sake of the mission of this church, I found a thoughtful people willing to give it a try.  Along the way I have built new friendships both within these walls and without.
I have been strengthened by the words of encouragement and support of this people, thank you once again, you know how hard it is for me to accept compliments, I am the product of the path that the Lord has set me upon, when I do my job well it reflects upon the care with which my maker crafted me and the loving hands in which my life was entrusted along the way.

This has been a good year, the Lord is good, his people have proven worthy of the high calling of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ecumenical Week of Prayer - January 21-26

The Franklin area ministerium is hosting a week of Christian unity through prayer that will feature events each day in a different church throughout the community and culminating in a time of worship alongside the congregation of St. Patrick's with their Saturday evening Mass.  The participating churches of Franklin feel strongly that Christian unity is best fostered when we serve those in need together and when we worship and pray together.  The week will offer us all the opportunity to step outside of our normal routine and join with those who we don't normally have a chance to worship with in praying for our churches, our community, and our nation.

Event Schedule:
1/21  Franklin Alliance Church - Noon
1/22 First United Methodist Church - 6:15 PM
1/23 Christ United Methodist Church - 6:15 PM
1/24 First Baptist Church - Noon
1/25 Holiness Church of Rocky Grove - 6:15 PM
1/26 St. Patrick's Church - 5 PM

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mustard Seed Missions - logo, pamphlet, and bulletin insert

In addition to the website:
Mustard Seed Missions now has an official logo (thanks to my wife Nicole for the design)
You can also download our pamphlet and bulletin insert for yourself, your organization or church; please feel free to print your own and distribute them; the more volunteers and donations we receive, the more families we can help; God is good.
Mustard Seed Mission bulletin insert

Mustard Seed Mission pamphlet (pdf)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Concert brings joy and praise

Our Christmas Concert was held this past Saturday in front of a packed house that enjoyed the instrumental and vocal music.  Thanks to Dennis Geib and all those who participated.  We look forward to additional concerts in the future, as well as the use of Miller Auditorium by the public.
The beautiful stained glass windows and murals of the church

The doors are open to the adjoining Miller Auditorium for overflow seating
with one of the two large murals and the organ in view.

Pastor Powell opens the concert with prayer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Concert, December 15th 6:30 PM

Victorian Christmas Concert
December 15th at 6:30 PM (doors open at 5:30)
First Baptist Church of Franklin
1041 Liberty St.

Christmas is a time of wonder, celebration, and joy as we share in the commemoration of the advent of Jesus Christ.  One of the most heart-warming aspects of Christmas is the amazing music that fills the air.  On Saturday, December 15th, First Baptist Church will be hosting a free Victorian Christmas Concert featuring both classical and sacred Christmas music.
The concert will be held in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church, a beautiful example of Victorian architecture with massive stained glass windows, murals, and an Estey pipe organ.  This setting will add wonder to the evening which will also feature a Steinway concert grand piano generously provided by the event sponsors.
            The concert will feature local vocalists Brianna Steves and Kevin Downey (winner of A Taste of Talent 2011), guitarist Max Schang, pianist and trumpeter Nicholas Nasibyan, and pianists Erin Clarahan and Dennis Geib.  There will be additional performances by sensational young pianists Joey Babcanec, Will Heller, Kevin O’Brien, and Jonah Brown, as well as string pieces by Tom Karg, Diana Downey, and Nicole Powell, and a performance by “Whimsy” of Sweet Adelines International.
            The concert is free to the public and donations will be accepted to continue the renovations of the adjoining Miller Auditorium and to support future concerts and plays featuring local artists that will become a regular part of the outreach of First Baptist Church.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Venango County Children's Summit

We hosted the Children's Summit yesterday and had about 130 participants representing agencies, charities, and faith-based groups throughout the county.  The day featured presentations about changes that have been made to the legal system to make it non-adversarial, to decrease the amount of time needed for a child to find permanence (less foster care), to encourage families to take ownership of their problems and assist in the resolution of them, to decrease truancy, to encourage fathers to become more involved in their children's lives, and lastly to harness the faith-based community to help in the process. 
As you know, we've launched Mustard Seed Missions of Venango County in order to utilize the resources (primarily volunteers) of our churches to help people whom CYS has referred to our organization for help.  The help will include transportation, mentoring, and various repair projects designed to help kids (primarily) avoid being put into the system by helping their families to become better integrated in their community and connected churches where they can find acceptance and support.

There is a mountain of work left to go, but the journey has begun.
Thanks to all who have helped thus far, God bless you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mustard Seed Missions of Venango County: A cooperative effort where Faith Works

We finally have a name to simplify our Venango County Children's Roundtable outreach effort.  The committee met today and chose the Mustard Seed Missions of Venango County name under which this county-wide effort will begin.  The first project, a local home in desperate need of repair before winter, will be underway in the next few days, with other referrals from CYS (and other gov't agencies) to follow.  In addition, the transportation and mentoring components will also be up and running soon.
For those who may not know; an effort by local county government aid agencies (headed by CYS) to find faith-based partners to help families in need here in our county has been met by an overwhelming response of ecumenical cooperation in recent months.  The initial response from area churches has been a commitment to help from fifty area churches already, with volunteers for specific aspects of the project being gathered together into a database to help when the needs arise being put together.
In the months ahead, CYS will begin to regularly refer their clients who are willing to receive help from our organization and we will then match them out with volunteers who will bring both physical help and the love of Christ to them.  We are not simply a short-term need based group (although we must also meet that need for each family), but more than that, a group that wants to build long-term church based relationships that will help families to be connected to their community and have the support they need.
This effort will not be possible without the ongoing generous support of hundreds of volunteers whose time and care for those in need will be the true valuable commodity that we offer.  "We love because he first loved us." - I John 4:19

The website: will be up and running soon; we'll link it to the church's wesite
as soon as it is ready.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bible Studies - All are welcome

The Wednesday morning Bible Study (11 AM) is working through II Peter.
The Wednesday evening Bible Study (7 PM) is nearing the end of our study of Galatians...
There are no materials needed, if you don't have a Bible, we'll give you one when you get here.
As always, we'd love to have anyone who wants to learn about God's Word join us regardless of what church you might normally go to, and we certainly want to encourage those who don't go to church, or haven't gone to church in a long time, to join us.

Monday, September 10, 2012

AWANA - Off to early success.

We had our opening kick-off event for Awana last night and ended up with over 30 kids in attendance.  About 1/2 of the kids were new to us, a few from families that have recently begun worshiping with us, but the rest were neighborhood kids who were invited, saw us setting up in the parking lot, and came on over for the food and games.  Many thanks to all the volunteers that helped us get started, and much prayer is needed as we reach out to these kids each Sunday night.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Venango County Children's Roundtable meeting

Today was another Venango County Children's Roundtable meeting; this one was located here at 1st Baptist, we had an amazing 75 in attendance, with new representatives from lots of new churches as well as for the first time from St. Patrick's and two other Catholic organizations, the Boy Scouts, and others that are now a part of the discussion...continue to pray for this process moving forward, that we have the wisdom to utilize God's people in a way that helps those in need both physically and spiritually.
The next Roundtable meeting will be here at 1st Baptist on October 10th, with a meeting for pastors and lay leaders at 8 AM, followed by the regular Roundtable meeting at 9:00-10:30.
If you know of pastors or lay leaders, para-church organizations, or other charitable groups interested in being part of the discussion, spread the word and have them call to RSVP to 432-8061.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1st Baptist to host Venango County Children's Roundtable meeting

The Venango County Children’s Roundtable is inviting pastors, lay leaders, and any other interested parties to an informational meeting to discuss helping those in need in our county through cooperation between governmental and faith based organizations.  The meeting will be at the First Baptist Church of Franklin, 1041 Liberty St. on Sept 6th at 9:30 AM.  Please RSVP to 432-8061.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Exciting Outreach opportunities in the works...

We are in the midst of several new exciting opportunities for Outreach into our community.  The Community Connections team have already put on 2 events at the Arbors, and combined them with follow-up to see what needs we can meet there.
In addition, a new potential partnership with the County CYS (and other gov't agencies, groups) and local Churches is being discussed and proposed.  There are a lot of people involved who have shown enthusiasm for helping those most in need in our county.  As this idea moves forward, there will be lots of opportunities for other churches to join us in this Ecumenical effort.  I'm sure there will be plenty of questions asked; that's ok by me.  There will also be details that need to be worked out before a referall system can be put into place; but in the end, if we have something that allows Churches to focus on those whose need is greatest and helps us to put more of our resources into helping others (rather than administrative functions), the real winners will be those who receive that cup of cold water (or repaired plumbing, job mentoring, friendship, etc.) in the Name of Jesus.

A very important meeting will take place here, at 1st Baptist, on Sept. 6th at 9:30 AM, where Seeds of Hope (an organization already doing similar work in PA over in Tioga County) will help explain the nuts and bolts of their relationship and help us move forward with this idea.
Every church pastor in the county is invited (or a lay representative), we can do more together than we can alone.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Community Connections Outreach

The 1st Baptist Church of Franklin is one of six churches currently supporting an initiative to reach out into our community and attempt to fill in some of the gaps between the already existing government and charity aid.  As a group, we are committed to bring real help to those in need and doing so in the name of Jesus.
The group's first project is an outreach effort at the Evergreen Arbors housing here in Franklin.  Our first event was this past Saturday.  There were over 30 volunteers that helped bring an enjoyable afternoon to 73 children and their parents.  The ultimate goal is to follow-up with those families willing to talk to us and see in what ways we can help them.
Thanks to all who came to help out and to those who have given donations in support of this effort.  The Arbors is the beginning, where we learn to work together and learn the true nature of the need in front of us.  Where we go from here is in the hands of God.

To view the thank you letter (also contains comments from residents and statistics)
click on the link below:
Arbors Thank You Letter

Thursday, May 31, 2012

VBS flier

If you know any parent whose child might attend, please direct them to our website or print off the flier and give it to them, thanks! (Special thanks to Nicole Powell for creating this year's flier and banner design)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vacation Bible School - June 17th-21st

First Baptist will have our Vacation Bible School, "Big Heart Farms"
this year from June 17th-21st; 5:45-7:30
All children K-6th grade are welcome for Bible lessons, songs, snacks, and games.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On the National Day of Prayer, 1st Baptist Church of Franklin will be joining our brothers and sisters in Christ at St. John's Church.  Everyone is welcome to join us.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

1st Baptist hosts American Baptist Women spring meeting

The ABW held their spring meeting at 1st Baptist of Franklin this past Saturday.  At the meeting Pastor Powell spoke about passing the mission on to the next generation and Nicole Powell (pastor's wife) sang about remembering the contribution of others to the Church.

To watch Pastor's message, or Nicole's song, click on the link's below:
Message: What will my church do without me?
Nicole's song

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

First Baptist participates in the Franklin Cross Walk

Pastor Powell carries the cross from the steps of First Baptist, where the reading for station #2 took place, to First United Methodist Church across the street.  We were thankful for the opportunity to join our brothers and sisters in Christ in this public display of unity and devotion.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Musical Reflections on Good Friday video

Thanks to all who helped make this service possible.  It is indeed honoring and pleasing to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when his people come together to glorify his name.

To watch the video of the service, click on the links below:
Musical Reflections part 1

Musical Reflections part 2

Musical Reflections part 3

Musical Reflections part 4

Musical Reflections part 5

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 25th, 1932

On this date, eighty years ago today, Helen "Jo" Beach was baptized and became a member of the First Baptist Church of Franklin, PA.  We have been very blessed here at Franklin with long-serving members of our congregation whose contributions have spanned not only years, but decades.  Congratulations to Jo on eighty years of membership!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Church membership aproves By-Laws revision

The membership of the church voted to approve the recommended changes to the church By-Laws that were put forth by the By-Laws committee and approved by the Board.  The proposed changes took effect on May 1st.  There are several significant changes that anyone interested should see for themselves by clicking on the link below to view the new By-Laws.  Among them: the boards have been restructured from 3 to 2 and from 20 members to 10.  The requirement for membership has been changed to no longer require a re-Baptism of anyone who has already been baptized in another Christian church, and the new position of Missions Representative has been created to focus on the task of communicating with and caring for our church's missionaries.

Newly adopted By-Laws