“Friends and Family Reunion” planned at First Baptist Church of Tarentum


executives at First Baptist Church of Tarentum have a message for the community.

“We are still here for you,” said Rev. Felicia Brock.

“The pandemic has been tough and people are used to staying at home, but we want everyone to know that we want to make an impact on the larger community around us.”

A “Family and Friends Reunion Sunday” is planned for November 13.

Church moderator Chris Clune of Lower Burrell said the invitation extends not only to people who have disrupted in-person worship during the pandemic, but to the wider region.

He said the church, tucked away on a side street, was hidden from passers-by.

“A lot of people don’t know we’re there, and our message is that everyone is welcome,” Clune said.

Services begin at 10 am and lunch will follow at the church at 401 E. Third Ave.

“As we transition into the post-pandemic world, we want to share the gospel with everyone who needs it, and after that we will break bread and spend some time socializing,” he said.

Founded in 1890 by a Tarentum merchant, First Baptist was a 12-strong congregation that met in a rented hall. The first church, a wooden building, served the community for almost four decades.

When membership grew to several hundred, the present red brick church was built in 1927. The site is behind the Corbet Street commercial corridor.

Brock, who moved from Michigan to take over the church in 2019, has made it his mission to keep services flowing during the pandemic.

The board implemented Sunday live streams to reach people in their homes. When restrictions were eased, an outdoor service was held in the parking lot.

The reality of the church today is that Covid has “exposed the fact that you can worship from home. Every church has to deal with that,” said Brock.

“But we are a church that people have appreciated and revered and visited over the years. I can imagine that many of the children of the original members are still in the general area and I want them to know that we are still here.”

The Church Council is working on programs to get people back into the building.

Adult Bible classes are held on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. Recently there was a church picnic and other community events such as fasting meals.

Brock hopes to start community outreach programs, such as food collections for the Allegheny Valley Association of Churches.

That summer, the Church Council sponsored a trip to Lancaster for a performance of “David” and paid several Highlands Middle School students to attend camp.

“Part of the key to reviving the church in the post-Covid era is attracting people who may only be interested in special events,” Brock said.

“I think events let people know we’re here. We’re in the middle of the block and sometimes get overlooked, but it’s a good place to call home.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a Contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact Tawnya via email at [email protected] or via Twitter .


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