An Open Letter From Tony Campolo
January 15, 2019
Dear St. John's Baptist Church Members & Friends,
After many years of faithful service, Rev. David Powles retired as the pastor of St. John's Baptist Church.
Two weeks before his leaving, I was called by the Philadelphia Baptist Association and asked if I could step in and serve as an interim pastor. Believe me, I was thrilled with this invitation because St. John's has always held a special place in my heart. It was through the Settlement House once associated with this church, that both my mother and father came to know Jesus. It was there that they were baptized. Their earliest friends in America were made at St. John's, and these friends have stayed connected to each other through the years. Given these kinds of associations, you can understand why I jumped at the opportunity.
There was a problem, however, and that was that I am scheduled for speaking engagements across America and even overseas, which would keep me away almost half the Sundays when I should be in the pulpit. That is why I asked Dr. Lindy Backues to join me as Co-Pastor. Lindy is a fellow faculty member with me at Eastern University in the suburbs of the city. For twenty years, Lindy was a missionary in Indonesia; this is most fortunate since surrounding St. John's is the largest concentration of Indonesian people in North America.
In addition to being theologically trained, Lindy knows the language of our Indonesian neighbors. We don't have to go overseas to have a missionary outreach. Our mission field is all around us. In addition, Lindy lives within two blocks of the church, so he doesn't have to go far to minister to us and our neighbors. He already has taken up preaching at the church and is looking forward to establishing a Wednesday evening Bible Study for us.
It's obvious that there's a lot that has to be done if we are to get St. John's running in high gear once again. Financially, we need all the support we can get. Most important! We need you to be there on Sunday mornings for worship at 10:30 AM. Your presence will encourage Lindy and me more than we can tell you. We want St. John's to again become a strong congregation, and your presence on Sundays is essential to making that happen.
Lindy and I have an array of plans for our church that we believe will enable us to reach our neighborhood with God's love, and meet the needs of the people. We believe that the Holy Spirit is about to do a new thing at 13th & Tasker Streets, so let's pray and work together!
Tony Campolo, Co-Pastor