MARBC News & Notes – August 2007

ALLENDALE, Allendale Baptist Church (Bob Searles) — Allendale Baptist welcomed Ken Floyd as a special speaker for Father’s Day Sunday. This thriving church plant is led by Pastor Bob and Lois Searles. The Searles are enjoying this special ministry at a time when other couples their age are in retirement (they celebrated their 50th anniversary in July!) God has blessed this work through the mother-daughter church planting relationship it has with First Baptist Church of Zeeland (Pastor Mike Faris). Besides Pastor Searles’ ministry, the church is also blessed by the ministry of Mark Shepard as worship pastor, and Jim Ankney as outreach pastor. The church currently meets in the new school facilities of Springview Elementary School in Allendale. They have purchased prime acreage on the growing corridor of Lake Michigan Dr. for a future building program. In addition to these blessings, God also led another couple (Steve and Heather Bunce) to join the church last year. The Bunce’s former experience in pastoral ministry gave them a burden to start a media ministry that could assist churches and ministries in sharing their story with their community. As a result, they started the media ministry, Waterline Productions. They helped Allendale Baptist design a very attractive portfolio to use in outreach, as well as a quality DVD that introduces people to the ABC ministry. Those interested in the Bunce’s ministry can contact them at; 1.866.957.4968; or email.

BYRON, Byron Baptist Church (Tom Cooper) — “Welcome to the family, we’re glad that you have come to share your lives with us, as we grow in love” These were the opening lines of the song we sang on Sunday Morning, July 1, as we welcomed Associate Pastor Luke Rosenberger, wife Laura and daughter Madison to our church family! Pastor Luke grew up in Lowell, Michigan. Laura is the daughter of Pastor Tim and Dawn Mattison, serving with Continental Baptist Missions in Wayland, MI. Both Pastor Luke and Laura are graduates of Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. We are excited to have them join our family, and are looking forward to the ministry the Lord has for them here.

Byron Baptist had 43 campers attend Lake Ann, June 11-16. The kids had a great week and many decisions were made. The church held a SonForce Kids Vacation Bible School, June 18-22, and had the opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel with 122 children! Colonel John Murdoch, GARBC Director of Chaplaincy, ministered on Sunday, July 8. Colonel Murdoch ministered in music, preached, and gave a report of the chaplaincy ministry.

MUSKEGON, Wolf Lake Baptist Church (Burt Wachter) — Wolf Lake Baptist Church held a special day of celebration for its 50th anniversary on Sunday, July 15. The morning worship service, fellowship luncheon, and afternoon service included testimonies, special music, remembrances, multimedia displays, and historic memorabilia. The services featured a testimony by Rev. Dan Smith, who formerly attended Wolf Lake before entering pastoral ministry. Rev. Pat Deja, director of Christian radio station WFUR-FM and frequent speaker at Wolf Lake, shared a message focusing on God’s blessings in the past. Rev. Ken Floyd (MARBC) shared a message emphasizing important issues for the present. Rev. Burt Wachter’s message focused on the future of the WLBC ministry. Pastor Wachter and his wife Julie have ministered at Wolf Lake for more than half of its history (26 years). The church facility has been enhanced and expanded and lives have been impacted by the gospel.

NORTH ADAMS, First Baptist Church (Eric Sass) — June 3rd was an exciting day for the congregation of the First Baptist church in North Adams, Michigan. On that Sunday, Eric Sass became their 42nd pastor. During the installation ceremony each of the three deacons joined him at the pulpit and prayed for God to bless his ministry and to guide and guard their new pastor. Then Pastor Sass shared his first sermon with 135 in attendance. The flock at First Baptist has been seeking a new shepherd since the retirement of Pastor Fred Jensen in June 2006.

Pastor Sass comes to North Adams from Ankeny, Iowa with his wife Kelly and son Joey. Pastor Sass has ties with Michigan. He graduated from Kearsly High School in Flint and his parents still live near that city. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny. Pastor Sass has also completed a Masters of Arts and a Masters of Divinity from Faith Baptist College. While this is his first position as senior pastor, he was associate pastor of First Baptist Church of North Branch, Michigan from 1998 to 2001.

The congregation in North Adams is so thankful to our gracious Lord for bringing the Sasses to them and for His watch care over the church during the search process. They are also thankful for His bringing Pastor Jack Richard as the interim pastor along with his wife Zelma. The church prays that Pastor Sass’ ministry will be long and fruitful.

SAND LAKE, Ensley Baptist Church (Jim Ankerberg) —Ensley Baptist held a dedication service on Sunday, June 10, to celebrate the completion of a new 10,000 square foot gymnasium addition. The total cost of the project is $360,000. Many hours of volunteer labor were given by members of the church family to help lower expenses. The dedication service included presentations by church leaders Mark Doren, Al Brummel, and Scott Botruff. A dedication message was shared by MARBC representative Ken Floyd. Pastor Jim Ankerberg led the congregation in a dedicatory response and prayer. Following the service, a special fellowship meal was held in the new facility and an afternoon concert was shared in the gymnasium by the church choir. The church is already enjoying special blessings by using the facility for children and youth programs. It is also being used regularly as an outreach to the community through sports and recreational events.


Rev. Dick Cross, who pastored several churches in the MARBC and recently in Indiana, entered the presence of his Lord on June 28. A memorial service was held at Blythefield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford on July 3. Prayerfully remember Dick’s dear wife, Anita, and his daughters Suzie, Julie, and Christi. Anita is currently residing at 3401 Burton Ridge, Apt. A, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

Dr. Joseph M. Stowell II, former GARBC National Representative, went home to be with the Lord at the age of 96 on Saturday evening, June 23. Dr. Stowell was born on a farm near Colon, Michigan, in 1911. He professed belief in Jesus Christ at age nine through the ministry of First Baptist Church of Colon and was baptized into the membership of the church. Joe met his life-long sweetheart, Corabelle, at a youth rally here in Michigan. Corabelle shares, I first noticed Joe at a pastors’ rally in southern Michigan. On the program was this whippersnapper from the Upper Peninsula. I thought, “Ohhh, Joe is so…, but he won’t pay any attention to me. I’m just a high schooler.” But he did! And God gave the Stowell’s a rich marital partnership of 69 years. God blessed Dr. Stowell’s ministry as a pastor of several Regular Baptist Churches in Michigan, Indiana, and New Jersey. He was noted for his preaching ministry at conferences and on the radio, his involvement as a leader in world missions, as well as his ministry as National Representative. He is survived by his wife Corabelle; three children, Hannah (Clifton) Jensen, Margaret (R. William) Wheeler, and Joseph M. (Martha Bennett) Stowell III. A memorial service was held on June 25 in Carol Stream, Illinois. Remember the Stowell family in your prayers. You may send your correspondence to: Mrs. Corabelle Stowell, 120 Windsor Park Drive, A104, Carol Stream, IL 60188.

Dr. Harold Commons, the second president of the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) from 1935-1971, went home to be with the Lord on July 21 at the age of 101. Through his wise and godly leadership, Dr. Commons had a worldwide ministry of impacting people for Christ. Dr. Wendell Kempton, President Emeritus of ABWE shares, Dr. Commons assumed his role of leadership during a time of religious apostasy and controversy. He therefore took a very firm stand on the Word of God and pursued doctrinal integrity with passion, grace, and love. He was known as a missionary statesman throughout his entire tenure of thirty-six years. He was considered by the world of missionaries as a man of God and a gentle servant.’ Dr. Commons also served as president of Baptist Bible Seminary, Johnson City, New York. A memorial service was held July 28 in Ticonderoga, New York.

Dr. Harold Garland, former pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Flint, and former president of Baptist Mission of North America, went home to be with the Lord on July 23. A memorial service was held at Hagerman Baptist Church in Waterloo, IA, on July 26. Remember Dr. Garland’s wife, Carmen, in prayer. You can send notes of encouragement to: 421 Wesson, Box 665, Hudson, Iowa 50643.

GARBC Annual Conference Highlights

The Annual Conference of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches was held this year, June 26-29, in Lancaster, PA. The conference theme was I Will Build My Church.’ Highlights of the conference, including downloadable messages and pictures are available online at

Two items at the conference pertaining to the MARBC fellowship are noteworthy:

National Talents for Christ scholarship competition. The MARBC was very well represented at this year’s competition. High school students from MARB Churches receiving scholarships are: Sara Moody, 1st place, Female Public Speaking (First Baptist, Middleville); Rebekah Swift, 2nd place, Oral Interpretation of Scripture (Evangel Baptist, Taylor); Andrew Henry, 1st place, Piano (Hamilton Baptist, Hamilton); Timothy Pyne, 1st place, Preaching (Evangel Baptist, Taylor); Alyssa Pyne, 1st place, Woodwinds (Evangel Baptist, Taylor); and, Emily Gehman, 1st place, Writing (First Baptist, Rochester). Group competition (non-scholarship) MARBC winners were: Evangel Baptist, Taylor — 1st place, Small Vocal Ensemble; and, Standale Baptist, Grand Rapids — 2nd place, Puppets. We congratulate these fine young people, their parents, and churches for their wonderful testimonies and thank all of our MARBC youth who participated in this year’s TFC. We encourage our youth and their churches to begin preparations for next year’s MARBC (April) and GARBC (June) TFC events.

Dr. Jim Vogel, Lead Pastor at South Baptist Church, Flint, was announced as the Director of Pastoral Ministries and Associate Representative of the GARBC. This is a newly approved position by the Council of 18. The position involves providing resources and training for pastors and churches, along with encouragement and counsel, and placement and procurement. Jim’s wife, Jeannie, will serve in the Ministry Resource Center as a consultant with Regular Baptist Press and as a women’s ministries speaker. Jim began his ministry in 1977 as a youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Johnson City, NY. He served in that position for six years and then served as the church’s senior pastor for eight years. In 1991 he became the pastor of Southgate Baptist Church in Springfield, Ohio. For the past twelve years he has served as the lead pastor at South Baptist. South Baptist held a farewell service for the Vogels on July 29. Pray for the Vogels as they make their transition to the Schaumburg area and begin their new ministry responsibilities in September.


Be sure to make note of these SPECIAL UPCOMING SEMINARS being held in our state: BLUEPRINT SEMINAR, Friday, September 14, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at Berean Baptist Church, 7813 S. 12th St., Portage. Seminar leaders are John and Daria Greening from RBP. The seminar is applicable to pastors, church leaders, and lay leaders. Registration information is available by visiting and by contacting Berean Baptist (269.375.0244). Early registration deadline is August10 and the pre-registration cutoff is August 31.

IMPACT TEACHING SEMINAR, Saturday, September 15, 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at Berean Baptist Church, 7813 S. 12th St., Portage. Seminar leaders are Alex Bauman and Andrea Farlow from RBP. The seminar is applicable to Bible study leaders, Sunday School teachers, and any person involved in church teaching ministry. Registration information is available by visiting and by contacting Berean Baptist (269.375.0244). Early registration deadline is August10 and the pre-registration cutoff is August 31.

NEXT GENERATION STUDENT MINISTRIES SEMINAR, Saturday, October 20, 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at South Baptist Church, 4091 Van Slyke Rd., Flint. Seminar leader is Mel Walker. The seminar is applicable to pastors, youth workers, Sunday School teachers, and other youth ministry servants. Registration information is available by visiting and by contacting South Baptist (810.233.5000). Early registration deadline is September 14 and the pre-registration cutoff is October 5.


BAPTIST CHILDREN’S HOME (St. Louis, MI) — A couple is needed to help serve in the care of children at the Michigan campus. BCH has plenty of facilities space to house more children. However, the ministry needs more couples willing to serve in order to care for more children. The need is urgent. Please contact Bill Brittain, 219.462.4111 or email.

BOOK OFFER – Pastor Dave Grinnell, York Baptist Church in Milan, shares a special opportunity for ministries ministering to Spanish speaking people groups to get quality Bible commentaries and literature translated in Spanish. A lady in our church works for a company in Ann Arbor that does a lot of reprint books for Baker and Kregels, including several books in Spanish. She is willing to start obtaining books for pastors in our fellowship who are involved in works to Spanish speaking people. Those desiring books will need to make arrangements to pick up the books.’ Those interested in obtaining books should contact Pastor Dave Grinnell, telephone, 734.439.7440 or email .

CREATION MUSEUM — Consider visiting the Creation Museum, a ministry of Answers In Genesis, directed by Ken Ham. We had the opportunity to visit this new museum during our recent travels and found it to be a great blessing. Located in the greater Cincinnati area (just across the border in northern Kentucky off I-275 west), it is a tremendous testimony for Christ and the Biblical record of creation and the flood. The July issue of the Baptist Bulletin features pictures and narrative regarding the museum ( The museum is very reasonably priced, with a $5 discount available. A planetarium visit is also available for an additional fee. For more information, including prices, directions, and hours of operation, visit the AiG website at

MARBC Annual Conference — The 65th
Annual MARBC Conference will be held Monday — Wednesday, October 22-24, at Lake Ann Baptist Camp, near Traverse City. The theme for the conference is Discerning the Times and Seasons.’ This year’s conference speaker is Dr. Renald E. Showers from the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. A special interactive Tuesday morning session will be led by Ken Floyd regarding the vision of the MARBC fellowship. The Council of 15 has designed this year’s conference to have a more relaxed schedule so that couples can enjoy the opportunities afforded by the wonderful Lake Ann campus and the surrounding area. The conference will begin with a Monday evening session at 7:00 p.m. and conclude Wednesday at lunch time. Conference packets with information and registration forms will be mailed at the end of August. Information will also be posted on the MARBC website ( in early September.

MARBC Messenger: The Messenger is a regular communication from the MARBC to our pastors and churches. Several MARBC Messengers are sent out each month from the MARBC office. If you have not received MARBC emails recently, be sure to contact email Ken or email Sharon. Thank you!

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