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
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
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
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
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.
September of 2006,
in Chambersburg called Craig to be their pastor. The Lord has
richly blessed Craig and Susanne with two daughters.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Deacon Mike Fitzpatrick
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
The Lord brought them to Chambersburg in 2008 and they are happy to be
members of a local Reformed Baptist church.
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
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.