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Pastor Craig Harris
      
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.

I
n 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, Lindsay born in 1994 and Lydia, born in 1998.  Both are presently enrolled at Shalom Christian Academy in Chambersburg.
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Elder C. Kenneth Shannon

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.
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Elder Jeffrey A. Garner

 

Born in Chambersburg during the tumultuous sixties on June 5, 1967, the first day of Israelˈs Six-Day War, and sharing his first birthday with the date of the infamous assassination of Bobby Kennedy, Jeff, along with the Garner family, was a microcosm of the shearing forces that were tearing the country in different directions.   Raised by a godly mother who protected her two sons and two daughters from the potential hazards of the age, Jeff found early refuge in the life of the church.

 

It was during these early years of Sunday school, summer camps, and worship services, that God transformed the life of a little lost boy, bringing him from spiritual death to life, 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 within walking distance of his boyhood home.

 

A Garner family move to Path Valley proved providential, as Jeff excelled in studies at Fannett-Metal, graduating as class president in 1985, enlisting the same summer in the Nuclear Power program serving the US submarine force.   Finishing first in his prototype class of Reactor Operators, Jeff was assigned to the Ballistic Missile Submarine U.S.S. Daniel Webster at the height of Cold War tensions.   Stationed in Holy Loch, Scotland, the submarine served as a deterrent to the Soviet threat, a vital role in the doctrine of "mutually assured destruction" - a deterrent made necessary by human depravity.

 

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.   Lianne, a banker since her teenage years, now works at Susquehanna Bank in Chambersburg.

 

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 Brooke Garner came as a true blessing from God.   Hannah has grown to be a sweet young woman who loves the Lord.   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 by adoption in August of 2001, adopting their son David just two months shy of his 15th birthday.   David graduated from CVCS in 2004.   Davidˈs son Cameron is now the joy of his Grandparentsˈ hearts, adding much energy and fun to the lives of the Garners.

 

Jeff has enjoyed interesting and varied work and ministry experiences.   In 1994, while still in college, he worked with several churches in the community of Edenville to begin an all-summer evangelistic day camp.   In 1995, he added to his schedule work at The Childrenˈs Aid Society of Franklin County and was eventually promoted to Residential Program Supervisor of the home for children on Franklin Street, Chambersburg.   Jeff, working with the leadership, helped found a new on-site school, serving as its Director of Education, tasked with guiding the school through its founding and daily operations.   Jeff was later called to the pastoral staff of Calvary Bible Church in Greencastle in 2000.   Here he worked closely with his friend and godly mentor, the late Pastor Glen Miller.   Jeff served here until 2006 when he was hired as Bible and English teacher at Shalom Christian Academy.

 

A lifetime learner, Jeff holds a bachelorˈs degree in Bible, with a minor in Christian ministry from Lancaster Bible College and a Master of Business Administration in Nonprofit Management from Walden University, with studies concentrating of education administration.   In connection with his work as Administrator of Providence Christian Academy, Jeff is now completing studies at South African Theological Seminary concerning Reformed Baptists and the discipleship and education of orphans, a work he hopes will provide clarity for Grace Baptist Church as it seeks to care for the needy in our surrounding neighborhoods.   Jeff hopes to complete a PhD in Theology within the next three to four years.

 

Jeff was called as Elder of Grace Baptist Church in January of 2013.   Lord willing, he looks forward to continued service to the Savior in the years ahead as we worship, witness, and work to the glory of God at Grace Baptist Church.   Soli Deo Gloria.


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Deacon David Bookamer

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 there.  The Lord blessed them abundantly with the arrival of four daughters between November, 1997 and May 2004:  Jamila, Joanna, Julia, and Jenna.  All four daughters presently attend the public schools.  David has served as a deacon of the church since January of 2009.

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Deacon Mike Fitzpatrick

Mike Fitzpatrick was born in 1975 to Christian parents.  He grew up in Perry County, PA where his father is currently a Reformed Baptist pastor.  He came to know the Lord in high school largely due to the influence 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 Boyce and 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 again. 


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Deacon Douglas Fischer

 

Doug Fischer was born in 1955 in Passaic, NJ.   He grew up in Allentown, PA where his father was a Mack Trucks executive.  He came to know the Lord in college largely due to the influence of Calvary Baptist Church in Allentown in which he grew up and the witness of Janice Yerkes, his future wife.  Doug, Janice, and family have led a God-blessed and joyful life.

 

He graduated from Bucknell University (where he met Janice, visiting from Keuka College in New York), and went to work for Mack Trucks in Hagerstown, Md.  Then he married his wonderful, God-given wife, Janice.  In Hagerstown they were members of Paramount Baptist Church, where Doug held various church positions, including being ordained as a Deacon.  Their children, Micah, Hannah, Zachary, and Benjamin, were born in Hagerstown. 

 

He obtained a Masters degree from Johns Hopkins University, which led to his employment at IBM in Gaithersburg, MD.  Within two years they moved to Augsburg, Bavaria, West Germany to install the government project that Doug had been working on in Gaithersburg.  While there, they joined Calvary Baptist Church, an English language church of mostly American service members and pastored by an American missionary.  Doug served as a Deacon at this church.

 

On returning to the US, they moved to Mt. Airy, MD and joined Mt. Airy Baptist Church.  Doug held many positions and served as a Deacon.  When the Pastor was called elsewhere, Doug was the Chairman of the Pastor Search Committee, which led to the calling of the Pastor who has been at that church since that time for 22 years and counting. 

 

Once again, because of the project he was working on with IBM, they had the opportunity to move to England, where they lived for over 4 years.  They joined a British Baptist church, but left after a couple of years due to concern over the charismatic leanings of the Pastor.  They became members of the International Community Church in Surrey County, led by an American Presbyterian pastor and which had mostly American expatriate members of several different denominations.  Doug taught Sunday school.   On return to the US, they re-joined Mt. Airy Baptist Church, Doug taking up his former positions, including Deacon.

 
In God's providence, Doug retired in 2013 at the same time that Janice began work as a Nurse Practitioner in Chambersburg, where they became members of Grace Baptist Church, a church that is firm in the Doctrines of Grace.  He was elected a Deacon in October, 2014.


 
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