On Sunday, November 26, we were blessed to hear about a church plant that is happening a mere twenty minutes from our own church, right across the Betsy Ross Bridge in the town of Frankford, PA. Stephen Bowne, current pastor at Grace City Church of the Northeast and fulltime worker at a book-binding company, is leading this church plant, along with his wife Abby and their four children. Throughout his message, he was able to share about the Frankford church plant and how it began.
In April of 2015, Stephen and his wife Abby, were sent out with a small group of people from Grace City Church of the Northeast to meet in Frankford twice a month for prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. The Bowne family and almost all of the others in this small group were living in Frankford already. It was their hope that one day their small group would be its own church. At last, it looks like that time is now approaching. Starting this March, the church plant in Frankford will stop attending Sunday service at Grace City Church of the Northeast and will hold their own services in Frankford. On April 1, Easter Sunday, they will publically launch their church plant and invite those in the neighborhood to attend. Stephen will be the lead pastor of this church plant.
Of course, while excitement is brimming for this church plant, reality is never far away. Frankford is a low-income, urban neighborhood characterized by crime, poverty and street violence. The public schools are ranked very low, drug and alcohol abuse are a reality in many homes, and there is racial tension between different sections of the neighborhood. Several people who were once a part of their small group in Frankford have fallen back into addictions or were incarcerated. Most people avoid driving through Frankford if they can help it. Stephen and Abby often face the question – “Why would you move there and raise your kids there?”
Despite these grueling facts, the church plant unanimously agrees that “this is why we need to be here.” While there are many negative things going on in Frankford, many organizations and individuals are working hard to create a healthy community. The Frankford church plant hopes to be a part of this work. As Stephen put it, their “heart is to plant a church that ministers especially to people from hard situations.” And that’s exactly what they’re doing.
In response to the work that the Bowne family is doing in Frankford, a special offering was taken after Stephen’s message, and we are excited to support the church plant with a blessing of $5,550. But beyond just financial support, Stephen asks for prayer. “Your prayers will make a real difference in the neighborhood of Frankford.” He poignantly related his message – entitled “Praise God Who Sits in the Highest and Cares for the Lowest” – to how God cares for the hurting and broken in Frankford. The Frankford church plant hopes to be an extension of God’s care. Please consider partnering with them in prayer and, if you are so led, financially as well. God is doing a great work in Frankford!
You can learn more about the Frankford church plant on their website.