Pastor Craig HarrisPastor
Craig Harris was born into a family of three older brothers on February 12, 1962. He was raised by godly parents on a farm just outside of the village of Boiling Springs, PA. Craig's parents still live on the family homestead. Craig attended Cumberland Valley High School where his father worked as a guidance counselor for nearly forty years. It was during his high school years that he was drawn into saving union with Jesus Christ, largely through the influence of one of his brothers who had recently become a Christian. After high school, Craig completed his bachelor's degree in Business Management from the Pennsylvania State University in State College. Sensing a call from the Lord to enter the Gospel ministry, he pursued a Master of Divinity degree from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Craig married his high school sweetheart, Susanne, in June of 1986. They had known each from childhood because their families attended the same church. Susanne, like Craig, was savingly joined to Christ during her high school years through the influence of her church youth group. Her father passed away in 1997, but her mother still lives near Dillsburg, PA. In October of 1991, Craig was called as an assistant pastor by Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, PA and was ordained to the gospel ministry. He later was made an associate pastor. Craig subsequently completed a two-year certificate program in biblical counseling from the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation in Laverock, PA. In addition to his other pastoral duties, Craig also taught a daily Bible class for 8 years in the Christian School of Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle. In September of 2006, Grace Baptist Church in Chambersburg called Craig to be their pastor. The Lord has richly blessed Craig and Susanne with two daughters.
C. Kenneth ShannonElder
My parents, Charles and Betty Shannon, provided a loving and moral home in the suburbs of Philadelphia. They were church-goers who established their family after World War II. They bought a small home and worked hard to raise a family. Grandparents, aunts and uncles were an important part of family life. As the first grandchild I received a lot of good attention and care from my parents and extended family. When I was a young teenager I witnessed my parents' conversion to Jesus Christ as their living Lord and Savior. The change in their lives was centered upon a new, personal relationship with the resurrected Christ. It became clear to me that this new faith dominated their lives. I could see that this was something real and life-changing. It was as if Jesus had taken up residence in our home. I did not embrace this Gospel and though I was generally moral, I drifted into the pursuit of personal pleasure. In the core of my being I was not a good person, but I was proud my behavior was not as bad as my friends. I became gradually enslaved to a number of self-destructive behaviors and college life provided me with greater opportunity to pursue these. And yet the moral structure provided by my parents and their testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ were deeply ingrained in my conscience. I respected their testimony. It was genuine and heartfelt. It influenced my Dad to get involved in prison ministry with other African-American evangelicals. My parents befriended and sought to help people who lived troubled lives. Their Christian kindness was evidence to all though to some their evangelical Methodism was a little too religious. A few opportunities of serious reflection intruded into my late high school years. An influential teacher helped to read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. Methodist preachers urged me to be born again. A Jewish friend encouraged discussions about the meaning of life and politics. Nevertheless, I was more like a junior Augustine, dabbling in the life of the mind while principally pursuing my pleasures. At college I continued to pursue my pleasures but I also tried to be a good student and a thinking person. These were the years 1967-1969, the time of youthful rebellion and soul searching during turbulent 1960s. During the summer of 1969, God gradually brought me to faith in Jesus Christ, so that when I returned to college in the fall I was ready to identify with the Christians. Since that time I have sought by God's grace, to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The word of Christ, the Bible, became my guide in every area of life. Thus began my "great conversation" with the Lord of the universe. Imagine that He wants my fellowship and friendship! In some ways this was a radical break with my past, but old habits die hard, and progress in the life of a Christian was not without its failures and troubles. The Bible taught me that my thinking must change and come into agreement with God's thinking. In college I became a Christian in the midst of many intellectual challenges to the Christian faith. I took to reading Christian writers defending the faith and this has become a life-long pursuit. Books became an important part of my life; a life-long companion. My conversion to the Christian faith awakened intellectual interests. As a young Christian God led me to a church where Calvinists and Baptists mixed and I found this to be the most accurate expression of the teachings of the Bible. In 1970, I joined Grace Baptist Church of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and remain there to this day. This was not the church of my family or ethnic group, but I found it to be a church where Christ speaks to and meets with His people. In the early 1970s, God called me to teaching in the church and eventually to teaching as a profession. My latent interest in history was awakened as I now saw God providentially ordering the events of history for His own purposes. Teaching became a central focus of my life. With God's purposes motivating me it has been a great source of joy. God brought to me to Laurie, my wife, who shared a love for Christ. We were married in 1977 which was the first year of my teaching career. Marriage and the blessings of children, and more recently, grandchildren, became the most important earthly blessing from God. Christ has been teaching me through the years to be a more faithful husband, father and grandfather. God has truly showered me with blessings. For all these things and much more I am thankful to the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Jeffrey A. GarnerElder
Born in Chambersburg during the tumultuous late sixties, Jeff enjoyed the faithful guidance of a godly mother who protected her family from the potential hazards of the age. Jeff found early refuge in the life of the church, as God transformed the life of a little lost boy, bringing him into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Graciously, God knitted Jeff into the everyday life of a little Baptist church on the corner of Second Street in Chambersburg within walking distance of his boyhood home. After high school, Jeff enlisted in the Naval Nuclear Power program, serving in the US submarine force. Finishing first in his prototype class of Reactor Operators, Jeff completed several patrols on the Ballistic Missile Submarine U.S.S. Daniel Webster, stationed in Holy Loch, Scotland at the height of Cold War tensions. Following his honorable discharge from service in 1992, Jeff began a new life back in Pennsylvania, enrolling in college and enlisting as Sunday school teacher at the church nearby his Path Valley home. Here he would meet the love of his life, Lianne, who was at that time praying for a godly husband, trusting God for His providence. In 1998, Jeff and Lianne were happily married at Calvary Bible Church, with the late Pastor Glen Miller performing the wedding. On November 26, 1999, just a few hours past Thanksgiving Day, daughter Hannah came as a true blessing from God. In another tremendous blessing from the Lord, after a long and patient period of foster-adopting, Jeff and Lianne added a second child to their family in August of 2001, adopting their son David just two months shy of his 15th birthday. Jeff has served as Executive Director of an all-summer evangelistic day camp and as Residential Program Supervisor and Director of Education at The Children’s Aid Society of Franklin County. Calvary Bible Church of Greencastle called Jeff to their pastoral staff in 2000. Here he worked closely with his friend and godly mentor, the late Pastor Glen Miller. Jeff served here until 2006 when Shalom Christian Academy hired Jeff as Bible and English teacher. Jeff holds a B.S. degree in Bible and Christian ministry, an MBA in Nonprofit Management, and a Master of Theology degree. In connection with his service at Grace Baptist Church and his work as Administrator of Providence Christian Academy, Jeff is now completing studies at the doctorate level. Grace Baptist Church called Jeff as Elder in January of 2013. Lord willing, he looks forward to continued service for the Savior in the years ahead as we worship, witness, and work to the glory of God at Grace Baptist Church. Soli Deo Gloria.
David Bookamer was born in western PA in 1961 and raised in Ohio with his four siblings. His father was a pastor in the Christian & Missionary Alliance churches until he became convinced of the doctrines of grace. David was saved in his teens, but he struggled with assurance. After high school, David relocated to Carlisle, PA, in search of work. Following a couple miscellaneous jobs, David settled into trim carpentry work. He attended Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, where he met and married Phoebe Blosser in 1988. Shortly prior to that marriage, David was convicted by a sermon of Pastor Walt Chantry on the importance of believers' baptism, and he asked to be baptized. In August of 1990, David and Phoebe embarked on a ten-month experience in the United Arab Emirates. David worked in the maintenance department of the hospital where Phoebe had been born, and Phoebe taught in a British school. During that time, the Bookamers spent much time with local friends and in the ministry of the church there in Al Ain, UAE. Following their time there, the Bookamers returned to Carlisle. David and his brother formed a carpentry partnership in March of 1994. Their business has been greatly blessed and continues to thrive. In the fall of 1996, the Bookamers moved to Chambersburg, PA, where they became active in Grace Baptist Church. The Lord blessed them abundantly with the arrival of four daughters between November, 1997 and May 2004: Jamila, Joanna, Julia, and Jenna. David has served as a deacon of the church since January 2009.
Mike Fitzpatrick was born in 1975 to Christian parents. He grew up in Perry County, PA where his father and mother still live. His father taught Christian school in Carlisle, PA for almost 20 years and was a Reformed Baptist pastor for 19 years before retiring in 2018. Mike came to know the Lord in high school largely due to the influence of his parents and leaders and friends in youth group. He graduated from Grove City College and then furthered his education in Philadelphia, PA. While there he attended Tenth Presbyterian Church and sat under the preaching of Pastors James Boyce and Philip Ryken. He then married Robyn Hannaman, with whom he had been good friends from childhood. They have four children: Molly, Stephen, Megan, and Joshua. The Lord brought them to Chambersburg in 2008 and they are happy to be members of a local Reformed Baptist church.
Ray Kelly was elected deacon in 2019
Weston was born in 1980 in Norfolk, Virginia to parents Doug and Chris. He is the oldest of seven siblings. His father served in the U.S. Navy throughout Weston's childhood and teenage years, which meant the family moved around the country every few years. After graduating high school in Middleburg, Florida he went on to attend a small Bible college in Elgin, IL in the fall of 1998. It was at this college that he met his future wife, Judi, and they were married in December of 2000. God has blessed their family with four children—Timothy, Jeffrey, Bradley, and Madison. Weston grew up in church and spent his early life (childhood, adolescence, and young adult years) under the preaching and influence of the various Independent Fundamental Baptist churches that the family was a part of throughout the country. In 2002, Weston and his young growing family moved to Rockford, Illinois to be close to his parents and siblings and help in a new church plant being led by his father. He and his wife went on to spend most of the next 15 years serving in various ministries of this church, and living in the Rockford area as well as nearby southern Wisconsin. Around 2012, God began working through various circumstances to grow Weston, as well as a few other men in the church, in the doctrines of grace. Ultimately, Weston came to realize that the childhood prayer he had been holding to as his basis for assurance was not consistent with what he was seeing in Scripture, and this led him to see his need for faith in Christ alone as his sole means of salvation. It was also during this time that he began to be shown and taught the beliefs and teachings of historic Reformed Baptist theology. After much growth in grace over the next couple of years, God moved Weston and his family to the Chambersburg, PA area in the fall of 2017. After several years of running his own home-based business, Weston accepted a sales position at a locally owned hardware and masonry company. He and his family began attending Grace Baptist Church in October of 2017 and joined as members in January of 2018. They have been greatly blessed to be a part of the congregation of believers here for the past couple of years and have been active serving in various ministries of the church. Weston was elected deacon in 2020.