The members of First Baptist Church in Allentown, a small congregation in the central part of our region, decided to do something "big" for Baptist Camp Lebanon. They sponsored a Souper Saturday fundraiser event on February 22, and invited the community to come for good fellowship, food and shopping. Local businesses set up tables (and made donations), and the variety was excellent. Enthusiasm ran high, and they reached their first year pledge goal to the ABCNJ Cedars of Lebanon 2020 endowment campaign - raising $1,454. Dr. Lois Spitzer, our Senior Regional Pastor's spouse, expressed the Spitzer's support by making a potful of matzo ball chicken soup! Rev. Leslie Martin, pastor of FBC Allentown, reported that it was the first soup to completely sell out - even before lunch hour! All of the soups smelled great and were supplemented by breads, bagels and pastries.
Rev. Martin noted that many ABCNJ members came out in support of the church's initiative:
We were truly blessed today with good attendance, including our ABCNJ family, you and Lois and Josh, Camp Lebanon Director Don Smith and Katie and their daughter Sarah, President Paul Hart and Judy Hart, Rev. Dr. William Webb and his wife Martha, and Rev. April Van Ness. Rev. Van Ness brought with her many of the Memorial Baptist Church members. The Allentown United Methodist Church Pastor, Rev. Fran Ballinger attended and brought several of her church members too. Also, our church members and their families, our friends from Allentown and beyond, several vendors and merchants all came out to support us today. We had a steady stream of people coming in to enjoy the wonderful special soups from 10 to 3. Some ate at the church with us, others took containers home. The Tricky Tray drawings helped significantly in raising funds. Our little church is blessed with hard workers, and they dedicated themselves to making this event a success. Praise the Lord!
The Cedars of Lebanon 2020 endowment has been established to ensure that future generations of New Jersey children may benefit from a week of Christian summer camping, regardless of ability to pay. Launched at the ABCNJ Annual Session in September 2013, individuals and churches have given and pledged over $250,000 so far!
The FBC Allentown donation from Souper Saturday represents the fulfillment of year 1 of their pledge goal of $10,000. The region is asking every ABCNJ church to pledge - with a suggested challenge goal of $10,000 or more. We are also accepting donations and pledges from individuals. One time and repeat scheduled donations can be given online by going to www.abcnj.net and clicking the "Donate Now" button at the bottom of the home page. It only takes a moment to make a donation and your transaction is secure.