Summit Baptist Bible Church celebrates milestone 50th anniversary

By Ben Freda - For Abington Journal
Associate pastor Stephen Merkh enjoys a celebration meal with his family. From left, Ellena, 3; Rev. Merkh, Hannah Merkh and Jack, 1. - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal
Church member Ted Boykin enjoys a meal with his family. From left, daughter Katherine, 12; Ted and his wife Sherry. - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal
Decorated pumpkins mark the church’s 50th anniversary. - Ben Freda | For Abington Journal
Two-year-old Emmett Hibbard is about to begin his meal by eating bread. - - Submitted photo
A large crowd gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Summit Baptist Bible Church. - - Submitted photo

CLARKS SUMMIT — Summit Baptist Bible Church had a big meal for a big celebration on Nov. 12. Although it seemed like an early Thanksgiving with all the meats, side dishes and desserts brought by friends and families, the event was actually a commemoration of the church’s 50th anniversary.

Church members, new and old, celebrated the milestone with food and fellowship together at the tables along with songs of worship. Pastor Don Roe, who has been preaching at the church since 2010, shared the church’s covenant, which is “as one redeemed and saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, to promise to love God and others by worshiping and seeking community in the church and sharing the Gospel so that others may be transformed by Christ.”

Pastor Don also allowed fellow church members to either share a verse or share their testimony about what being a part of the church means to them.

“My favorite part of being part of this church is how the church cares for another whether in happy times or in hard times,” said associate pastor Stephen Merkh, who sat with his wife Hannah, their 3-year-old daughter Ellena, and 1-year-old son Jack. “I’ve had people to share in my joys or hardships.”

Sarah Phillips, who has been attending Summit Baptist Bible Church with her family for 30 years, sees her friends from the church as family members.

“It’s a family,” she said.

As editor of the church’s newsletter called The Women’s Link, Phillips put together a history of the church in a fall 2007 issue, which commemorated the church’s 40th anniversary. According to this issue, Summit Baptist Bible Church originated when 12 church members, who lived in the Abington area but attended service at Grace Bible Church in Dunmore, saw the need of Bible preaching in the Abington area due to its rapid growth. Reverend Wilford Young canvassed the Abington area for over a year in preparation of a new church, On Oct. 2, 1967, the church was officially organized and began services in the former Clarks Summit Baptist Church, which was located on 113 N. State St.. On Feb. 8, 1968, to accommodate students and faculty of Baptist Bible Seminary, the church members voted to add “Baptist” to the church’s name.

The attendance began to grow through the years, especially when a new Christian day school called Summit Baptist Academy was dedicated on July 27, 1975. Pastor William Broughton, who was ordained pastor in the spring of 1978, saw the need for the church to have a bigger building. This led to the purchase of the American Baptist Church on 232 Noble Road, the current location of Summit Baptist Bible Church. On June 1, 1980, church members moved to this building and, since then, have called the building home.

Pastor Don Roe hopes this church will continue to be a loving and supporting church for the next 50 years and 50 years after that.

“We are a church that involves emphasis in worship, community groups, and family ministries,” he said. “We keep it simple by focusing on those things.”

Referencing the Penn State motto, Pastor Don and everybody else attending the 50th anniversary celebration chanted, “WE ARE…REDEEMED!”

Associate pastor Stephen Merkh enjoys a celebration meal with his family. From left, Ellena, 3; Rev. Merkh, Hannah Merkh and Jack, 1.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/web1_Summit1.jpgAssociate pastor Stephen Merkh enjoys a celebration meal with his family. From left, Ellena, 3; Rev. Merkh, Hannah Merkh and Jack, 1. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Church member Ted Boykin enjoys a meal with his family. From left, daughter Katherine, 12; Ted and his wife Sherry.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/web1_Summit2.jpgChurch member Ted Boykin enjoys a meal with his family. From left, daughter Katherine, 12; Ted and his wife Sherry. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Decorated pumpkins mark the church’s 50th anniversary.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/web1_summit5.jpgDecorated pumpkins mark the church’s 50th anniversary. Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Two-year-old Emmett Hibbard is about to begin his meal by eating bread.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/web1_summit3.jpgTwo-year-old Emmett Hibbard is about to begin his meal by eating bread. Submitted photo

A large crowd gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Summit Baptist Bible Church.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/web1_Summit4.jpgA large crowd gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Summit Baptist Bible Church. Submitted photo
Summit Baptist Bible Church celebrates milestone anniversary

By Ben Freda

For Abington Journal

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at news@theabingtonjournal.com.

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at news@theabingtonjournal.com.