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Historical Timeline

BRN History

1922
January 1

First Churches in Pennsylvania

The first Southern Baptist churches were established in Pennsylvania as a result of the local mission efforts along the Maryland border. The first of these churches was started in 1922 in Hungerford, Pennsylvania, a short distance south of Shrewsbury on..Read More
1933
January 1

Longest SBC associated church in Pennsylvania

Wrightsdale Baptist Church
The oldest church in Pennsylvania that has been continuously Southern Baptist is Wrightsdale Baptist Church, which was established east of the Susquehanna River in 1933 in Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania.
1958
January 1

The Beginning

The major work of the Southern Baptists in Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey began with the establishment of three missions in 1958: one in Pittsburgh, one in central Pennsylvania at Middletown, and one in Levittown, northeast of Philadelphia.
1961
January 1

The Beginnings of an Association

In 1958, several churches established State Line Baptist Association, which was called Eastern Pennsylvania Baptist Association by 1961. At the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland in 1961, these churches attended and expressed a desire to affiliate with..Read More
1963
September 13

Greater Pittsburgh Baptist Association organized

Baptist Missions and Ministry Center - Pittsburgh
On September 13, 1963, Southern Baptists in the Pittsburgh met and organized Greater Pittsburgh Baptist Association (GPiBA). Four churches and their five missions joined in this effort. The GPiBA began full operation on January 1, 1964, with Joseph Waltz as..Read More
1970
August 1

Joseph Waltz takes office as Executive Director-Treasurer and served from 1970-1971

Joseph Waltz
Joseph Waltz was the logical choice among the pastors and leaders of Southern Baptists in the Pennsylvania/South Jersey Baptist Fellowship  (PSJBF) to be the first executive secretary of the convention. One suspects that the personnel committee at first expected to..Read More
October 2

The Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey is officially organized

Country and Town Sign
The BCPSJ was organized at the Country and Town Baptist Church, which was then meeting in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, on October 2-3, 1970. Joseph Waltz served as the first executive director.
1971
February 18

Publication of Penn-Jersey Baptist Paper

Penn Jersey Baptist-feature
In the remaining months of 1970, Joseph Waltz began working on his responsibility to establish a state Baptist paper. He contacted three publishing companies for information. The Maryland Baptist offered the proposal that was ultimately accepted. The Maryland state paper..Read More
December 13

Ed Price: Interim Executive Director-Treasurer of BCPSJ

Ed and Mary Price
After the death of Joseph Waltz on December 13, 1971, Ed Price served as acting Executive Director-Treasurer for eight months.
1972
August 1

G.W. Bullard: Executive Director-Treasurer of BCPSJ

G. W. Bullard
G. W. Bullard takes office as Executive Director-Treasurer and served from 1972-1978. He had shown his administrative ability as superintendent of missions in Delaware Valley Baptist Association since 1965. He had earlier served as associate state Sunday School secretary (1945-1946)..Read More
1978
March 31

Growth of Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey

Annual Convention at Country and Town Baptist Church
The BCPSJ showed considerable growth during G. W. Bullard’s time as Executive Director-Treasurer. The number of churches had increased from 51 to 86, and the number of chapels, from 26 to 46. Reported church membership increased from 8,291 to 15,572.
April 1

Ellis Bush: Executive Director-Treasurer of BCPSJ

Ellis Bush
Ellis Bush takes office as Executive Director-Treasurer and serves from 1978-1986.
1983
February 28

Harrisburg Offices Purchased

Baptist Convention Building, Harrisburg, PA
One of Ellis Bush’s greatest achievements while he served as Executive Director-Treasurer of BCPSJ was the purchase of the building then known as the Baptist Resource Center in Harrisburg, which continues to serve as the headquarters for the BRN. Bush..Read More
1986
January 1

The BCPSJ Shows Growth

Paoli Church 1989
In 1986, there were 173 congregations in the BCPSJ with a membership of 19,231, and a Sunday school enrollment of 15,657.
January 1

J. N. Evans: Interim Executive Director-Treasurer of BCPSJ

J. N. Evans
After Ellis Bush ended his period of service, J. N. Evans (gentleman on right in picture) served as interim Executive Director-Treasurer for one year from 1986-1987. J.N. Evans had been employed by the Home Mission Board for twelve years, working..Read More
November 7

BCPSJ Building Debt Free

Baptist Building Dedication
On Nov. 7, 1986, the BCPSJ was able to dedicate the Baptist building free of debt at the annual meeting, thanks to a capital fund drive that turned out to be a great success. The assistance of Florida Baptist in..Read More
1987
November 1

Wallace Williams: Executive Director-Treasurer of BCPSJ

Wallace Williams
Wallace Williams takes office as Executive Director-Treasurer and serves from 1987-1992.
1991
January 1

BCPSJ Church Membership Grows

Congregation
In 1991, the BCPSJ records a membership of 25,553!
1992
January 1

The BCPSJ Grows Ethnically

Birds-eye View of Church Pulpit
By 1992, there were 31 ethnic churches and ten other units in the BCPSJ, with a total membership of 1,358.
1993
May 7

David Waltz: Executive Director-Treasurer of BCPSJ

David Waltz
David Waltz takes office as Executive Director-Treasurer and serves from 1993-2016.

The Baptist Resource Network is indebted to author Frederick J. Boehlke Jr. and his book, “From Generation to Generation: A History of Southern Baptists in Pennsylvania/South Jersey” for this information. 

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