Ravi Zacharias Remembered as a ‘Gentle Giant of Our Faith’

Ravi Zacharias, the India-born Christian evangelist and apologist whose intellect, winsomeness and grasp of diverse cultures helped him gain a global hearing for the Gospel, was remembered during a May 29 memorial service as a “gentle giant of our faith” and the “C.S. Lewis of our day.”  Zacharias, 74, died May 19 after a brief battle with cancer.

“Ravi shared the truth of God’s Word with millions worldwide, ‘so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Philippians 2:10-11).”
 —Franklin Graham

Zacharias grew up in a nominal Anglican household in Delhi, India. His father was influential in the Indian government, and much to his father’s displeasure, Ravi neglected his studies in favor of playing cricket. But at age 17, Zacharias was converted to Christ in a hospital bed after attempting suicide by poisoning. That week, he was visited in the hospital by a Youth for Christ worker, who asked Zacharias’ mother to read to him John 14. As she read John 14:19—Zacharias said that the words of Jesus to Thomas, “Because I live, you also will live”—penetrated his heart, and he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ.  “I walked out of that hospital a different man,” Zacharias recalled.

For 49 years, Zacharias traveled the world as an evangelist and apologist.  In 1984, Zacharias launched Ravi Zacharias International Ministries as a way to “meet the thinker where they were” and “to train cultural evangelist-apologists.” Today, RZIM has more than 100 affiliated speakers in dozens of countries. Its flagship podcast, “Let My People Think,” is popular on audio streaming apps.


I join in the sorrow, anger and confusion felt by Americans across the country following the death of George Floyd. The nature of his death is shocking to all of us who believe in a just, lawful, and equal society.

I believe that God’s love is all-encompassing and it urges us to reject racism and discrimination. The Bible commands us to “be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” We are committed to fighting racism wherever it exists and will speak up wherever we encounter it. As we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven, I will continue to work toward a world where all people are loved.

I encourage people of good will to look closely at their own attitudes to determine how they can contribute peacefully to solving this problem. I support the peaceful protests and dialogue that have come from this tragedy. I encourage a display of love for all, in non-violent ways.

Never has our Christian mission been more imperative: to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. I call on all individuals to work together toward a common cause in the spirit of love, tolerance, and forgiveness.

Bramwell Kjellgren



If you are donating cookies, bring store-bought, prepackaged cookies to church on Sunday, June 21 and place them in the yellow wagon in the foyer.  If you want to donate cookies but are not planning to attend church, cookies can be placed in the cooler located outside the church at the foyer entrance on Thursday June 18 and Friday June 19.


One Year Anniversary

We wish to recognize Rev. Bramwell Kjellgren our Interim Minister
and congratulate him on his one year anniversary at our church as of June 9.
The Lord has richly blessed First Baptist Church with your ability to shepherd the flock.


Eleanor Keenan (Mission Board) and Carol Clayton (organizer) would like to say THANK YOU to all the ladies who spent days sewing a grand total of 1,354 face masks for the safety of others.
For a small group of servants, you selflessly shared A LOT OF GOD’S LOVE!



A few short weeks ago, the Mission Board sent out a plea for donations to assist the Westmoreland County Food Bank who was in dire need of funds due the coronavirus crisis. As God’s will be done, the contributions began rolling in totaling $1,888.00!
 MANY, MANY THANKS to all the donors for such a quick response and amazing result! 


Farmers to Families Food Box distributors are planned twice monthly at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds, 123 Blue Ribbon Lane, in Mt. Pleasant township. The drive-thru program provides federally purchased food on a first-come, first-served basis. Recipients don’t need to meet income guidelines to qualify. Distributions will continue as long as the federal program lasts. Tentative dates include 3-5pm June 8 and 10am-noon June 22. Visit westmorelandfoodbank.org and search under “What We Do” for more information about the distributions.


THANK YOU to all who donated cookies and monetary gifts to Tri-City Meals on Wheels.  They were very appreciative.  Our next date to collect cookies is JUNE 21.    … Diane Meyers
First Baptist Church, Thank you so much for the boxes of goodies and the letters over this school year!  I really appreciate the thought especially because I am so far away.  Your kind words / bible verses really help on the bad days but also the good.  Thank you for thinking of me. 
 … love, Abbey Smith
Dear Quilting Ladies – Carol Clayton
Amazed. Grateful. Inspired.  That’s how your donation has made us feel.  Thank you SO MUCH for your generous gift of cloth masks!  UPMC Senior Communities gratefully acknowledges this wonderful contribution that came in a time of great need.
Your thoughtfulness during this global challenge has helped to sustain the health and well-being of many.  Because of your help we continue to provide quality compassionate care to those we serve.  It is a blessing to have the support of wonderful friends and neighbors like you. 
Once again, a heartfelt thank you from the leadership and staff of UPMC Senior Communities.
… with gratitude, Nanci L. Case, Senior Vice President Business Development, UPMC Senior Services, UPMC Western Behavioral Health


Give your gift to
Invest in Futures
For over 200 years, American Baptists have been investing in the futures of people all around the world! From our local communities here in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and wrapping all the way around the globe, ministries have been undergirded by American Baptists for over 200 years. It’s remarkable! What God has done and continues to do through American Baptists is invest in God’s people by meeting spiritual and human need.
“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”  I Corinthians 3:9


Thanks to everyone for your kind and caring wishes on my birthday. 

The cards, phone calls, and messages were so appreciated.  You touched my heart. 

I hope you know how much I deeply care about all of you at First Baptist.  

…May God richly bless you, Rev. Bramwell Kjellgren


First Baptist, thank you so much for giving to Camp Carmel.  We know this summer will look a little different for camp, but we value your continued support of this ministry.  Please continue to keep camp and the board in your prayers.

…In His Service, Chris Carson


I would like to acknowledge and thank all those who have had a part in the online presentations of our Sunday morning Worship Services.  It has been heartwarming and comforting to see and hear members and friends that make up our Church Family each Sunday during this period of isolation and uncertainty.

The messages you bring, Rev. Bram, have kept me grounded in the Word. 

Mary Ellen, the music has lifted my heart each Sunday morning.  Just beautiful. 

I enjoyed singing the prerecorded praise songs along with the Praise Team. Thank you for those familiar choruses.

Jim Gongaware, in his gifted way, to the children, presents a down to earth message to all of us.  I know that someone puts this all together with a special technological skill.

That would be Alan McBride, thank you.  I would also like to thank Dana Loucks for all she does behind the scenes to keep us all informed and up to date with all that is happening with our Church Family.

Thank you all for the gifts you have been given and so willingly share during these unusual circumstances. May God bless you all and keep you safe.

Most Sincerely, Carol Clayton