Agape Christian Church (Bath, Pennsylvania, USA)
In September 1988 Jim and Debi Lopresti were led to start a new church in the area of Bath, Pennsylvania, in the northern Lehigh Valley. They rented the Bath Fire Hall for a meeting place and chose the name Agape Christian Church. Shortly after the church began meeting, Stanley Sikorski and family were received as members, and Stanley was appointed as an elder. A Wednesday evening service was held in his home through the duration of the church. Others who were active in building the congregation included Dale and Loretta Oswald and Marty and Jean Sauder. Marty was licensed in 1992 to serve as assistant pastor.
The fire hall was not an ideal meeting place since chairs had to be set up and taken down every Sunday, and there was not adequate space for Sunday School. Soon after its founding, Agape Church moved two miles south on Route 512 to an old school owned by the Governor Wolf Historical Society. There were two buildings, and one was used for children’s Sunday school classes.
|Jim and Debi Lopresti family, 1986. Photo courtesy
of Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville, PA
On 2 September 1993 Pastor Jim Lopresti gave the message at his father’s funeral. Upon returning home from the funeral, Jim had a massive heart attack which took his life. His funeral was at Easton Mennonite Church, a sister congregation in the Lehigh Valley.
After Jim’s death, the group appointed a team of four to pastor the congregation: Stanley Sikorski, Barry Weber, Marty Sauder and Dan Lipski. By the end of 1994 the attendance had dropped considerably and the historical society no longer wished to rent their buildings. As a result, the last service at Agape Christian Church was held 31 December 1994.
Agape Church was a member of and supported by the Franconia Conference of the Mennonite Church. Charles Brunstetter, pastor at Easton, served as overseer. The congregation worshipped and served in the charismatic tradition; contemporary-style worship was led by James Taylor. During six years of ministry, attendance at worship varied between 40 and 60.
Agape Christian Church Pastors
Agape Christian Church Membership
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MLA style: Sauder, Marty. "Agape Christian Church (Bath, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2013. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/agape_christian_church_bath_pennsylvania_usa.
APA style: Sauder, Marty. (January 2013). Agape Christian Church (Bath, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/agape_christian_church_bath_pennsylvania_usa.