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20th Anniversary Celebration

Video highlights of the 20th Anniversary Celebration.

Sermon: Bone, Sword, and Quill: Sola Scriptura and the English Bible (2 Tim. 3:16-17)


On Sunday, November 3, 2019, All Saints Church celebrated our 20th Anniversary.  All Saints' first service was in February 1999, Pastor Gregg Strawbridge was called to All Saints in 2001, and ASC was seated as a member of the Communion of Reformed and Evangelical Churches in 2002.  

Over the past 20 years we have met regularly for worship in five different buildings, changing worship times to accomodate for the shared space (at one point, we even had Sunday afternoon services).  All Saints has celebrated approximately 130 baptisms, and currently has just under 200 members between 40 families.  Pastor Gregg and All Saints have commissioned and sent six ministerial students into pastoral ministry!

We recognized our past and celebrated the future with a meal at the home of Don and Jenny Graves - complete with hay rides!  After dinner, Pastor Gregg played music, accompanied by Noah Northup and Herb Suereth, and Kevin Kanoff (elder) shared some personal reflections about the start of All Saints, and read letters from friends of All Saints (see below).  As a special treat, Pastor Gregg shared an original song during the chuch service (listen live!  or see lyrics below).

Thank you to all who attended, and to Graham Dennis (elder) for the pictures!

      


FROM DOUGLAS WILSON PRESIDING MINISTER OF THE CREC 2014-2017

 

Greetings from Idaho, and I trust that this finds your souls fat and flourishing. If you don't mind bearing with a little exhortation from this distance, I would only want to remind you that what God can do for 20 years, He can certainly do for 200. You have seen His kindness in many ways over the last 20, and so I would urge you to tell your children and grandchildren the stories of what He has done for you. When this is done in faith, you are reaching forward, you are anticipating the next 180. So recount His kindness to you, and pray that He would enable you all to speak to your families in such a way that on All Saints' 200th anniversary, your descendants, still walking faithfully, will be able to point to you -- pictures on the wall and souls in Heaven -- and thank God for you. 

 

Cordially in Christ,

Douglas Wilson

 


 

FROM RANDY BOOTH PRESIDING MINISTER OF THE CREC 2005-2008

 

Greetings from East Texas, and congratulations on your 20th anniversary. We celebrated our 20th anniversary at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nacogdoches last year, and we join with you in giving thanks for all God’s rich blessing over these two decades. I have known and worked alongside your pastor over these years and I have fond memories of the early days of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals (CRE), where we (pastor Strawbridge and I) both served as presiding ministers of a fledgling denomination. I remember your congregation gracious hosting one of our Council meetings as well as an occasion where I came to speak for a weekend conference and challenge Pastor Strawbridge in an “Iron Chef” completion on the 4th of July. You live in a beautiful place, but you are an even more beautiful community.

 

Your faithfulness and service are a great encouragement to us all and we will be praying for you today and asking the Lord to expand your boarders and fill you with the joy of the Lord. May you be a glorious outpost for the kingdom of God for many generations to come.

 

Your fellow servant,

Pastor Randy Booth


 

FROM FOUNDING ELDER (PRO TEM) CHRIS SCHLECT 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

It was my great honor to supply pulpit for the inaugural service of a new, tiny Presbyterian church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. That first service took place in June of 2000, and Marlin Detweiler had arranged to rent the chapel of a magnificent Anglican church in the ancient part of the city. My sermon text was 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses…” The text recalls what warfare it is to confess the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it was the first pastoral charge to this new congregation.

 

The following day I drove to Westminster Theological Seminary, my first of what would become many visits to the archive of J. Gresham Machen’s papers. Machen was a stalwart who had fought to uphold the peace and purity of the church. I started into the storage boxes containing letters from 1935 and 1936, when Machen’s fight to reform the mainline Presbyterian church became the most intense. I was looking for his correspondence with key church officials, which I found, but there was a great deal of other material that I hadn’t expected to see. These were not the letters that would typically make it into history books, but I think they are the most important letters I found in the archive. In letter after letter—often with poor grammar and poorer penmanship—humble people wrote to Machen about issues in their own churches. I remember one elderly woman asked Machen what she could do about her new young pastor who did not believe that Jesus was really born of a virgin. Machen’s most powerful letters were written to these individuals. He thanked them for doing him the great honor of bringing such important questions to him. 

 

I realized that this is what it looks like to fight the good fight of faith. Machen understood that a good shepherd wages war by preparing a table in the presence of his enemies. 

 

This has been the faithful witness of All Saints Presbyterian Church. As I write this reflection today I am looking back over some old files dating from the first decade of All Saints. I reviewed old session minutes. I reread the notes I took down from our first interview with Gregg Strawbridge back in 2001, before we called him to All Saints. I reviewed our 2002 report to presbytery when we put forward All Saints as a particularized CREC church. I also looked back over some of our most difficult sessional correspondence, remembering some hard pastoral situations we faced together. I thank God for all of it.

As I look back over those old All Saints files, they also carry me back to the archive I visited in that very first week of All Saints’ existence. In the archival storage boxes I read page after page, file upon file. My old session files from All Saints Presbyterian Church tell basically the same story—a story of loving God and His people, and loving them enough to fight on their behalf, for the peace and purity of the church. I continue to be thankful for your good testimony and your faithful example of the right kind of love for one another. And so as I exhorted you twenty years ago, I will do so once again: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses…”

 


          


 

JACK PHELPS: PM OF THE CREC FROM 2008-2014


Dear Officers and Brethren of All Saints Church: 

 

Congratulations on the completion of 20 years of ministry as a congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a great delight for me to join you in the joy of this celebratory occasion by letter. Were it possible, I would be with you in person. 

 

On memorable occasions it has been my pleasure to be associated with the ministry of All Saints. The earliest of them was in 2004. In that year the then-CRE held its presbytery meeting in Lancaster County. Covenant Bible Church was admitted to membership at that time, in that place. Again, in January, 2014, during my tenure as CREC Presiding Minister of Council, I was privileged to visit with the leadership of All Saints and fill her pulpit for a Lord’s Day service. I remember fondly my fellowship with you at that time. 

 

Moreover, I have on several occasions had the privilege of ministering together with your Pastor Strawbridge. We have traveled together to Europe, sharing a platform at theological conferences, including teaching a week of intensive courses at the Reformed seminary in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2012. Also, Pastor Strawbridge has ministered to my congregation in Alaska, during one of our Reformation Day Church History Conferences. He was genuinely a blessing to us. 

 

God has truly blessed a long-standing partnership of ministry between CBC and All Saints. May the Lord Jesus continue to bless the work of the gospel in Pennsylvania through the faithfulness of your ministry in Lancaster County. 

 

For the Session, 

Rev. Jack Phelps, Pastor Covenant Bible Church, Chugiak 



FROM BEN ROSSELL OUR FIRST MINISTERIAL STUDENT (SENT FROM ALL SAINTS)

 

What can I say about a church that means so much to me personally and my family? All Saints was the first place I ever tasted craft beer, rabbit, a properly grilled-steak or bbq’ed apple pie [both hatched from a big green egg].  It was the first place I ever read Greek or led worship.  When I open iTunes on my phone, the first picture I see is the face of Graham Dennis because of a lecture I downloaded once from wordmp3.com…I have songs, sermon quotes, proverbs, bywords, and countless anecdotes that come directly from Gregg Strawbridge, whose great grandfather founded Methodism just down the street from my hometown, “the Strawbridge Shrine” . . . Time would fail to tell of Ty, Duane, George, Carl and many other leaders and so  precious families over these 10 years. What a gem your congregation is to our little Communion of Reformed Evangelical churches! You are an example of resurrection life and labor among us, of which we are truly proud.

 

How can one little congregation have turned out so many gospel ministers and sponsored so many church plants?  It just doesn’t seem possible. How can a church that has been doing this for so long, and has been burned a time or two [as any such faithful church will be], how can such a church still be willing to take risks; still be willing to keep going when many others would have long since stopped or at least slowed down to catch their breath and do the sensible thing and start to play it safe?

 

The answer is this – I don't know and I don't care. And apart from God's grace, I certainly can't explain it.  Just please - don't stop or slow down just yet. Keep on going just a little bit longer so that a few more of us can catch the fire and the zeal and maybe follow suit.  As your tribe increases, the big-C Church will be much better for it.

 

May God bless and reward you, both now and in the age to come! Congratulations on the big 2-0. 

All the love in my heart,

Ben

 


 FROM JON HERR (MINISTERIAL STUDENT)

 

Dear Saints,

 

As you likely know, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, on All Saints Eve, 1517. And from that point and that place, the Reformation began.

 

You at All Saints Church in Lancaster have got big boots to fill. Not only does your church name commemorate all of the departed faithful of the Church of Jesus Christ across all time; it also shares its name with the church that found itself at the epicenter of the Reformation!

 

For 8+ years, Jackie and I worshiped with many of you. We were married there. I preached my first Sunday sermon there, and led my first worship service there. Three of our children passed through the waters of baptism there, and later took their first communion there. We made lifelong friends there—and better yet—eternity-long friends there. It was our absolute joy to be called saints along with you.

 

As you hear these words at your celebration, I’ll be getting ready to lead another body of saints in worship—since our service time is in the afternoon. But though we worship at different times and hundreds of miles apart, the same Spirit by whom we have adoption as sons unites us all. “I believe in the communion of saints” means that we are united to Christ, and thus to one another in His one mystical Body. 

 

And so, do continue to pray for us. We give thanks for you all, praying for your endurance and joyful patience. God the Father has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light! Therefore: live in the peace of His Son’s cross, and in the power of the Spirit, and go be an epicenter of the Gospel of Grace which was believed by all of the saints and recovered by the Reformers.

 

Happy All Saints Day! We love you all.

 

Soli Deo Gloria,

Jon, Jackie, Louisa, Idelette, Cyrus, and Wilhelm Herr


FROM JARED MCNABB, FORMER MINISTERIAL STUDENT

To our Church Family at All Saints:
 
Having been asked to provide a few remarks upon this occasion, I cannot help but be filled
with gratitude as I reflect upon all the ways that God used All Saints to minister to me.
 
I remember my first time attending on Palm Sunday 2007 - the wonderfully strange music, the
robust liturgy, a sermon about bearing spiritual fruit from the book of Ezekiel, communion (with
real wine! And a common cup!). Then the strangest thing happened; someone spontaneously
invited me to their house for after church fellowship. I had never experienced something like
that in all my life. It was all so different and so compelling, I knew I had to go back.
 
In my 10 years at All Saints, I graduated college, got married (to a wonderful woman whom I
met through my friends at All Saints), had my first Son, and graduated seminary. All through
that time our Church family was there - encouraging, questioning, teaching, guiding,
admonishing, marrying, and baptizing us as the McNabb family took shape and began to grow.
You were patient and kind after my first attempts to preach. (I feel as If I owe you all apologies
for those sermons!). You laughed with me after my DREADFUL attempt at singing “OUR
FATHER!” You provided encouragement to me as I pursued my theological and pastoral
studies. You prayed for us as I was seeking and found a pastoral call.
 
I can say without any hesitation that All Saints has left an indelible mark on my life. My love of
God’s word, my faith in Christ, my joy in Reformational Christianity, my hope for the future, my
vision of what covenantal Church life can be, have all instilled and strengthen in my life through
All Saints.
 
Pastor Strawbridge has been a key part of this. He was willing to reach out, meet regularly
with, and even befriend this confused, cage-stage Calvinist sophomore in Bible college, and
guide me to the great truths in the Bible and the Reformed Tradition. His modeling of family life,
church life, and joy in ministry will remain with me. His mentorship and friendship I count as
among the great blessings in my life.
 
I praise God for you all, and we celebrate with you these 20 years of God’s goodness!
 
With Love,
Jared McNabb

 

          



MAKE YOUR GREAT NAME KNOWN

Building Dedication Anthem 10/10/97
(listen here)
(c) Gregg Strawbridge

 

THE HIGHEST HEAVEN CAN’T CONTAIN 

THE MAJESTY AND GLORY OF YOUR NAME

HOW MUCH LESS THIS HOUSE OF WOOD AND STONE

O THAT BY IT MAKE YOUR GREAT NAME KNOWN

 

UNLESS THE LORD BUILDS THIS PLACE

THE LABORERS WORK IN VAIN

THAT WHICH LASTS IS FROM YOUR HAND ALONE

O THAT BY IT MAKE YOUR GREAT POWER KNOWN

 

MAY GRACE ALONE THROUGH FAITH ALONE 

BE SOUNDED FAR AND WIDE

MAY CHRIST ALONE, THE LION-LAMB 

BE SEEN AND GLORIFIED

MAY GOSPEL TRUTH PROCLAIMED ON FIRE 

BE HERALDED ALONE

O THAT BY IT MAKE YOUR GREAT NAME KNOWN

 

MAY WE TELL THE GOSPEL WORD

TO THE NATIONS WHO HAVE NOT HEARD

LET THE GOSPEL SCEPTER RULE AND REIGN

O THAT BY IT MAKE YOUR KINGDOM GREAT

 

MAY GRACE ALONE THROUGH FAITH ALONE 

BE SOUNDED FAR AND WIDE

MAY CHRIST ALONE, THE LION-LAMB 

BE SEEN AND GLORIFIED

MAY GOSPEL TRUTH PROCLAIMED ON FIRE 

BE HERALDED ALONE

O THAT BY IT MAKE YOUR GREAT NAME KNOWN

 

MAKE YOUR COVENANT PEOPLE PRAISE

LET ZION’S JOY-BELLS ALWAYS RING

MAKE OUR HEART OF FLESH AND NOT OF STONE

O THAT BY IT MAKE YOUR GREAT GRACE KNOWN

 

MAY GRACE ALONE THROUGH GIVEN FAITH 

BE SOUNDED FAR AND WIDE

MAY CHRIST ALONE, THE CRUCIFIED

BE THAT WHICH WE LIFT HIGH

MAY TRUTH IN LOVE PROCLAIMED WITH POWER

OUR METHOD BE ALONE

O THAT BY IT MAKE YOUR GREAT NAME KNOWN

 

 


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