Allegheny East Conference

Robert Kennedy baptizes Mark Devonport

Story by LaTasha Hewitt

Recently, the Emmanuel Worship Center in Alexandria, Va., hosted a drive-in baptism and communion service. Pastor Robert Kennedy baptized three people in a temporarily installed baptistry in a garage on the property the church is renting.

Prior to their baptism, Kennedy studied with the baptismal candidates by Zoom and FaceTime. Once they expressed their desire to be baptized, Kennedy went to work to make this possible and to ensure safety protocols were in place and were conference-approved.

On the Sabbath of the baptism, the church held Sabbath School together virtually. At the end of the lesson study, Kennedy interviewed the candidates and called for their vote into membership.

by Tracey Jackson

For the 2020–21 school year, Pine Forge Academy’s (PFA) theme is “Pray Until Something Happens” (PUSH), for it is by prayer that God has led and continues to lead.

Prior to the campus closing in March due to the pandemic, God had already begun to answer prayers. Leadership was inspired to develop a plausible plan on how to safely reopen for the fall semester.

Story by LaTasha Hewitt

Three churches in New Jersey: First church in Teaneck; Metropolitan church in Plainfield; and Mt. Calvary church in Salem, recently served as hosting sites for COVID-19 and antibody testing. This was done in partnership with the initiative by Phil Murphy, New Jersey governor.

“We recognize the need for people of color to be tested, but there is a lot of fear in those communities. Churches are typically viewed as safe places, so we put the call out for churches, and they responded,” says Derrick Greene, senior advisor to the governor for diversity, faith, urban and regional growth.

Testing sites were set up in the parking lots of the churches where social distancing and masks were required. Testing was free and open to the public as long as they provided a photo ID and insurance card. Workers at First church administered COVID-19 and antibody testing to 75 people. “The testing was a great success,” says Robert Smith, pastor. “Our community was able to view us as an asset, and we saw it as a great witnessing opportunity.”

Story by Dupont Park Church Staff

Members of Allegheny East Conference’s Dupont Park church in Washington, D.C., were disappointed when they had to suspend their Community Baby Shower (CBS) and Back to School Giveaway, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several months into the community’s new normal of social distancing, and after much prayer and discussion over the church’s spiritual obligation to the community, church members started planning the event.

Dupont Park’s Inner-City Ministries leader, Lamont Bailey, says, “Our goal [was] simple: to eliminate the choice parents have to make—deciding between what’s best for their kids and best for their budget.”