This morning I had a wonderful conversation with Larry Krause who will be coming up from Kittanning to knock doors with us next week. The Kittanning church is in the middle of a gospel meeting and he said the response has been tremendous. In fact people showed up who had not even been invited! That just thrilled and amused me.
I took the sign over to Sayre. Sandy finished the lettering yesterday. The floors and wall have been repaired where I had removed the counter. John Desisti has found an old refrigerator which he had put in the meeting area. It just squeezed through the doorway into the hall and I was able to find a place for it and plug it in. It works!
Before I left I had enlarged sections of my map of the area so we can easily see and target neighborhoods where we will be knocking doors. I planned to tape them up on the wall but neglected to take tape with me. It is on the list now.
I walked over to the Police station to notify them that we will be door-knocking next week. They sent me to the borough offices where I filled out a form. They did mention that there have been people knocking doors who are involved with the gas industry and who were quite pushy so that is something for us to be aware of. Then I walked around the little business area and was able to stop and chat with one of the firemen who was outside enjoying the balmy fall weather. They have the perfect, large map on their wall and I asked where I could get one but theirs is the only one of the kind.
I wanted to see if I could find the Washburns, or at least where they lived in Ulster so I struck out south on Rte 220 and was surprised how far away they are from Sayre. They were not home but I left a message on the phone and Rhonda called and talked with Sandy. She and her father will be joining us on Sunday.
Next, I drove over to Waverly, NY, about 1 mile away and stopped in to see Bob Hammond at the Frailey Auction house. I needed to pay him for four more chairs he had brought over last week. While there I asked if he had a microwave and a coffee pot. He had both and I loaded them in my little Focus after paying him another $15. Not bad!
I explored a different way back into Sayre and unfortunately made a hideous discovery. This was something I had been dreading and it will almost certainly lead to my undoing. I found SOPRANOS ITALIAN MARKET AND BAKERY!
Dough is me!
I am working on my sermon for our first meeting in Sayre which is designed to get us thinking about personal involvement in church building. It features a play on words…
“To properly build the Church we must be prepared to church the building”
Thanks to everyone for the prayerful, loving support,
Valley Cities church of Christ.
The pace is quickening as we get closer to the campaign/launch for the Valley Cities Church of Christ. Tomorrow, October 1st, is the first official day of our lease on the premises at 215 South Thomas Ave in Sayre, PA.
I have recently been busy getting utilities changed over to our name and opening a bank account for the church here. We took delivery of some used chairs, which definitely make our meeting area look more attractive. But, we need more chairs. Sandy and I have collected hymnbooks, Bibles and all manner of cleaning supplies and tomorrow we will begin clean up work needed on the chairs. Darlene Elsbree, who lives in Sayre, will be helping us as she has opportunity between work hours.
I have some modifications to accomplish before we start meeting, officially. There are is a large L-shaped counter as you come into the meeting room, which needs to be removed to free up more space. The only water supply is in the two bathrooms and the sinks are quite small, but there is a cold water supply and drain access outside the bathrooms. I asked the landlord if we can install a larger sink to facilitate the washing of dishes and he is agreeable. (I am not talking about ceremonial washing of dishes, mind you.) We look forward to being able to break bread of a physical nature together occasionally. :)
Today, I joined in a Bible study with a young couple who live in Athens, which is less than two miles from our meeting place. They have attended the church at Horseheads in the past, but will be joining us from now on. Including Brian and Vicki Ford there are six members of the Church already living in the Valley. There is also another couple I have contacted who live in Barton, which is only a few miles away. Herm and Maxine Shiel used to attend at Endwell back when Sandy and I were all new Christians.
When we meet on October 19, we will also have Ronnie and Lilly May Jones with us, who are currently in Honesdale, PA. Ronnie and Lilly May love to be involved with evangelistic efforts. We will be taking photos, of course, and hope not to bore you too much with them. Sandy and I are particularly excited because our oldest son in Alaska is sending his two oldest, Daniel and Jenna, to be here for the campaign.
We are deeply grateful for this opportunity to share with you all in this work of the LORD.
God is good!
Arthur and Sandy Barry
TO: Partners in PA Church Planting
FR: Arthur Barry (Evangelist, Valley Cities Church of Christ, Sayre, PA)
Good day, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
This week I have been chasing down a sign and some chairs for the new premises. Today I went to Sayre to look at chairs at an auction site. We have 24 used chairs that will serve very well once cleaned up and I am continuing to hunt for more. The auctioneer will deliver them free of charge and, hopefully, that will happen on Sunday afternoon.
Our premises will be available as of October 1st and we may be able to hold the mid-week Bible study that evening. I spoke with a couple who live in Ulster just a few miles south of Sayre—Rhonda and Donald Washburn. They will become charter members of the newly established Valley Cities Church of Christ along with Rhonda's dad--Jerry Lowe. They are excited about the new work, but a bit sad about leaving Horseheads congregation in Horseheads, NY even though they have not been able to travel that far very regularly. I am awaiting contact info on two more couples who live in the area who are members of the church. On Thursday, I will be visiting with the Tom Patrick family who live in Owego, NY to discuss plans. I want to get them involved as quickly as possible. Ronnie Jones and his wife, Lillie May, came to meet with us at Endwell on Sunday evening. They are attending the church at Honesdale, PA, but are eager to help with the work in Sayre. Ronnie is trying to get Sojourners to come this way. I have had good experiences working with that group in the past and would love to have them visit Sayre, if they come this way. My business cards have arrived and I have started handing them out as I have opportunity in Sayre.
The days are counting down, but it already feels like the church in Sayre is a present reality. We so appreciate all the prayers and encouragement.
May all the glory be HIS!
Excitement is building as we await the official launch of our campaign to plant the Valley Cities Church of Christ in Sayre, PA. Jimmy Davis from Montgomery, Alabama; Clarence McDowell from Oakridge, Tennessee and Larry Krause from Kittanning, Pennsylvania have fixed their plans to be in Sayre during the week of October 19 – 26. These brethren will be pouring their hearts into this effort to reach the lost by personally knocking on their doors. Others from this region will be joining them and on October 19 the Church will meet in Sayre anticipating God’s blessings in the following week. We have secured facilities that offer a meeting area plus office and classroom space. The address is 215 S. Thomas Ave., Sayre, PA 18840. We will be able to begin preparing the building as of October 1, and are looking for help with furnishings-- especially chairs.
By the first week in October we will have a sign up that says, “Church of Christ Meets Here” so that people will be able to find us. By the fourth week people will be hearing from us so that they will be able to know us. By October 26, LORD willing, there will be others from the Valley Cities attending our worship service so that they can join us.
We are the LORD’s people and the future of this world is in our hands. May God bless His Word in us.
Arthur (Evangelist, Valley Cities congregation)
Sandy and I were baptized on June 4, 1976 at Endwell, NY. And so began a journey that has been thrilling to say the least. Besides knowing the gospel of Christ at that time, I also was keenly aware of two things about these people who were the church of Christ.
So here I am approaching 66 years of age with knees still knocking and heart still meltingpreparing to assist some wonderful folks from several states in planting a Church in Sayre, PA. When summer began there was only a few weeks of house projects and a couple of trips planned before I would be back at driving a school bus. Even though I found myself still planning on working more years, life was good and relatively peaceful. Little did I know how things were to change so drastically, once again, for Sandy and me. Sandy, who has given me loving comfort, has been a constant help these many years.
So, here are words from the LORD that come to mind…
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2
“Be ready”… I have learned, very recently, that this is not just for young bucks like Timothy. And, I definitely solicit prayers for Sandy and me and all those involved with the Valley Cities Church of Christ.
God is good!
Having received the resume, interviewed the candidate, reviewed answers to various biblical questions answered and interacted with his references and other informed individuals, on the morning of August 6, 2014 the search committee of the Antioch Initiative Team (Clarence McDowell, Jimmy Davis and Don Myers) send a communication to the elders of Kittanning church of Christ in Kittanning, PA of their recommendation of Arthur and Sandy Barry of Dryden, NY to take up their ministry as evangelist of Valley Cities church of Christ effective September 1, 2014. Ben Wright (one of the three elders of Kittanning congregation) quickly acknowledged the communication and recommendation and will be colluding with his fellow elders (Steve Maul and Brian Steffy) as to a mutually agreeable time for the Barrys to travel to Kittanning for interview and interactions. A target date of Wednesday, August 20th, is being considered.
If God blesses us with the confirmation of brother Barry, tentative plans are being made to have a measured campaign in Valley Cities (Sayre & Athens, PA & Waverly, NY) sometime in early October of this year. Reports have been, unofficially, received from Christians who live in and/or near Valley Cities who plan to become charter members of the new church plant.
Whatever the developments, the Antioch Initiative Team want to acknowledge God as the giver of all good gifts and the one who should be praised for all positive developments in this work.
Continue to pray that the untold be told and the sheep of Jesus be called by the power of the gospel of grace.
On August 6th, the elders of Kittanning congregation in Kittanning, PA confirmed Arthur Barry as the evangelist of Valley Cities church of Christ. Arthur will seek the evangelization of Athens & Sayre, PA & Waverly, NY. Arthur’s confirmation will pave the way for an October 2014 campaign and the launching of the only congregation of the church of Christ in Bradford County, PA. May the Lord be praised!
Ed Dyche of Carlisle, PA has clarified with Clarence McDowell that he is unable to serve as interim evangelist of “Valley Cities church of Christ”. Yet, brother Dyche has committed to travel to Sayre, PA five days once per month to be of whatever help possible in preaching, teaching and evangelism. He further suggested that other preachers in the region might dedicate portions of their time in a similar way.
Arthur and Sandy Barry of Dryden, NY are, presently, being interviewed and considered for the work in Valley Cities having been approached and having expressed their interest in the work. Brother Barry has submitted his resume, references and has been interviewed via phone by one of the four members of the search committee. Should the search committee agree that brother Barry is their choice for this work, they will recommend Arthur and Sandy Barry for final confirmation by the elders of Kittanning church of Christ in Kittanning, PA. If brother Barry becomes the interim evangelist of Valley Cities church of Christ effective the first of September 2014, this will pave the way for a measured October 2014 campaign in Valley Cities. As the evangelist, Arthur would follow up on all campaign contacts, preach on Sundays (AM & PM), teach a mid-week Bible class, mentor church leaders and teachers while traveling to Sayre, PA from Dryden, NY several times per week & maintaining residence in Dryden for the first year. It will be proposed that after one year, his work will be evaluated and consideration be given to bringing him onboard as full-time evangelist of Valley Cities church of Christ.
A potential church meeting place with office and attendant rooms has been located for a reasonable rental rate in Sayre and will be investigated in the near future by Arthur & other brethren in the region. This building has been described as having one room able to accommodate 30 – 40 people with small office area and other rooms. One of those rooms might be adapted for a sleeping area when Arthur and/or Sandy find it more convenient to stay over in Sayre overnight instead of traveling back to Dryden.
We have received word from members of the church in or near Sayre, directly or indirectly, regarding their intention to become members of the new church plant once launched.
The elders of Kittanning church of Christ in Kittanning, PA will interview Arthur Barry on Wednesday, August 20th. This is the final step in what we hope will be Arthur Barry’s confirmation as the interim evangelist of Valley Cities Church of Christ. Should this confirmation be received, Arthur will assume his duties September 1, 2014.
From July 21 – 29, Jimmy Davis (elder, Elmore congregation, Elmore, AL), Don Myers (preacher of Elmore congregation, Elmore, AL) & Andrew Bowens (preacher of Calvert County congregation, Prince Fredrick, MD) traveled to Sayre, PA to meet Clarence & Eileen McDowell (missionary & former PA church planters, Memphis, TN).
God blessed Andrew and Jimmy to meet and share the gospel with a lady who loves the word of God and who has become burdened with the way denominationalism has departed from God’s revealed will. This contact came from God through the efforts of Tom Collier. She lives near Endwell, NY. An Endwell brother in Christ (John Patrick) promised to follow up on the contact. This wonderful truth-seeker was already trying to find ways to assist with the church plant in Sayre as she studied with Andrew and Jimmy.
Preachers, church leaders and other Christians from Wellsboro, PA (Tink, preacher, & wife); Dryden, NY (Arthur & Sandy Barry); Endwell, NY (Eric Cimuchowski); Horseheads, NY (Stephen Connors); Milton, FL (Ed Temple); Sayre, PA (Darlene Eliburg); and Lewistown, PA (Bill Garrett & Randy Morrison) met the Antioch Initiative travelers in Sayre, PA to discuss, pray and dream about the church of the Lord being planted in Sayre. Don commented, “I cannot overemphasize the zeal, excitement and spiritual identification of these NY and PA brethren regarding the church plant in Sayre. This trip has been an inspiration.” Arthur Barry (and wife, Sandy) of Dryden, NY coordinated the meeting in Sayre with the NY & PA brothers and sisters and the visiting Antioch Initiative Team.
John Patrick of Endwell, NY recommended brother Arthur Barry for the Valley Cities’ evangelist. Accordingly, brother Barry formalized his desire to be considered for the work of evangelist for Valley Cities in writing and Jimmy Davis assured him that his application will cycle into the interview process as soon as possible. Bill Garrett of Lewistown, PA recommended Ed Dyche as a possible candidate for the work of evangelist for the Valley Cities’ plant. (Brother Dyche is an extremely well known PA preacher, who now resides in Carlisle, PA).
As these recommendations are being explored, Clarence McDowell and Jimmy Davis proposed an immediate plan of action regarding brother Dyche to expedite the church plant, since he is retired and, potentially, available. Their proposal was that brother Dyche drive to Sayre, PA each week (about a two-hour trip for him) on Saturdays and depart each Wednesday morning en route to his home in Carlisle. This would enable him to preach for the Valley Cities Church of Christ (once launched) on Sundays (AM & PM); mentor new Christians and follow-up on campaign contacts Mondays and Tuesdays; and, teach a Tuesday evening Bible study for the Valley Cities’ church. A possible church meeting place adequate to accommodate thirty to forty people (including large room, office area and other rooms) was located in Sayre at a cost of $700 per month. A one-bedroom apartment ($650 per month) and a two-bedroom apartment ($680 per month) were also discovered as possible options for the preacher’s temporary residence. The DeSisti brothers (who handled these and other properties in the Valley Cities’ area) were enlisted to assist the Antioch Initiative Team in the investigation of these and/or other suitable temporary locations for the preacher’s housing and the church meeting place. These properties are under immediate consideration pending Brother Dyche’s decision.
Regarding campaign accommodations, Jimmy Davis and Clarence McDowell negotiated with the Best Western Grand Victorian Inn of Sayre, PA for church meeting place and rooms for workers. The securing of ten rooms will offer campaigners two-for-one meal vouchers in the hotel dining room and free use of a campaign meeting room for church gatherings and worship.
If brother Dyche agrees to this temporary plan, a campaign for Christ (measured and limited to a few campaigners at the outset) would take place in October of this year. The recommended teachers for the first campaign would be Jimmy Davis, Larry Krause, Terry Carlisle & Clarence McDowell paired with Stephen Connors of Horseheads, NY; Eric Cimuchowski of Endwell, NY; Tink of Wellsboro, PA; and Bill Garrett of Lewistown, PA. This would be aimed at the goal of setting up of a manageable number of Bible studies for brother Dyche to follow up after the October campaign concludes given his weekly time constraints. Andrew Bowens urged that local members in or near Sayre be included in the proposed October campaign to promote their ownership, fellowship and involvement in the work.
Brother Dyche will survey Valley Cities (Sayre & Athens, PA & Waverly, NY) in early August of this year to make his decision. If he decides to accept the proposal, this will enable Don Myers and Clarence McDowell to visit a select number of brotherhood schools (September forward) to continue the search for a permanent evangelist to locate in Valley Cities. It is believed that the permanent evangelist-elect will raise the remainder of this personal support and working fund.
Andrew Bowens (D. Min., Amridge University & Major USAF stationed at the Pentagon) is an extremely dedicated member of the growing Antioch Initiative Team. He added tremendously to this trip with his wisdom, knowledge of the word of God and experience. Andrew taught an excellent class at Kittanning, PA this past Sunday morning (the 27th). Don Myers preached at Kittanning, PA this past Sunday (the 27th) and directed the Bible class hour in Horseheads, NY on Wednesday (the 23rd).
Jimmy Davis (Elmore elder) led the discussion on July 26th in Kittanning, PA with Ben Wright (one of the Kittanning elders) regarding the plan of action reported above. (Don, Clarence, Eileen & Andrew were in attendance at said meeting.) Brian Steffy and Steve Maul (the other two Kittanning elders) were both out of town, but Ben will apprize Brian and Steve of the proposal. The Kittanning eldership has agreed to be the sponsoring and overseeing leadership for the evangelist who is selected. Ben promised to communicate the Kittanning leadership’s input into this plan within a week or so. Jimmy Davis’ leadership in this work is beyond calculation.
Regardless of delays, disappointments and/or setbacks, the Antioch Initiative Team reasons that Christ has mandated the evangelization of the world. And since Bradford, Susquehanna, Sullivan and Wyoming Counties, PA do not have congregations of the Lord’s church, these team members will not relent or rest until that work is done. The planting of germinal & faithful congregations capable of reproducing themselves must be continued until the final return of Jesus the Lord. There is no other plan and surrender is, simply, not an option.
Keep this matter in your prayers. More as God blesses.