Surviving Stormy Times
RON HAMILTON, CCCC CONFERENCE MINISTER with
DAVID GRAINGE, PASTOR OF SNYDER AVE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
The Snyder Ave Congregational Church (SACCPhilly) in south Philadelphia, PA has been a member of the CCCC since 1964. Rev. Herb Anderson served as Senior Pastor at the church from 1965–2016. He recalls many of the early days of life in the Conference, especially the 1976 Annual Gathering at Cape May Bible College in Cape May, NJ. Herb served as the chair of the Local Arrangements Committee and he remembers all the work involved in welcoming the CCCC delegates to the Eastern PA and NJ area. That meeting was interrupted by the passing of Hurricane Belle that brushed the New Jersey coast and made it impossible to start the meetings on time.
The Snyder Ave Church has endured many stormy times as an urban church. While a number of inner-city ministries were not able to survive the storms, this church adapted to a changing culture and is now thriving in Philadelphia. SACCPhilly first welcomed a Cambodian church plant into their building in 1996. Today the church is a multi-ethnic, multi-congregational, evangelical church. In addition to an English-speaking congregation, the church currently hosts congregations of Burmese (Karen and Chin), Central American, Congolese (African), Laotian, Nepali, and other ethnic origins.
David Grainge became the pastor of the church when Pastor Anderson retired last year. He says this about the church and its ministry:
“Our South Philadelphia neighborhood is wonderfully diverse, consisting of many ethnicities and cultures. SACCPhilly – Snyder Avenue Congregational Church—is both a church and a multi-ethnic gathering of churches— 6 in all— that serves the newly arrived refugees and immigrants of our neighborhood. The Lord Jesus said, ‘I will build my church’…and we are asking him to build his church out of the nations that have come to us. SACCPhilly is a disciple-making church that teaches the rich doctrines of the faith while creating a passion for God and a love for our neighbors.”
Conference Minister, Ron Hamilton, spoke at the church on Worldwide Communion Sunday on October 1, 2017. All the congregations meeting at Snyder Ave. Congregational Church joined for worship that morning and shared at the Lord’s Table. Each congregation participated with special music, Scripture reading and prayers. Ron shared from Galatians 3–4 with Galatians 3:28 as the theme verse.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Pastor Hamilton recalls, “I was excited when I received the invitation to share at SACC. I knew that I had to prayerfully prepare for this service when I was told, ‘The service will be in 5 different languages…your message will not be translated.’ It was a joy to share with this congregation and this was one of the most encouraging experiences I’ve had as Conference Minister. The communion service was special as I witnessed people from many nations, tribes and languages gathered together in praise and thanksgiving for the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.”