“By this, all people will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.” John 13:35.
Church supports autism walk
High Tide Church, in Dagsboro, De., is supporting families with special needs by participating in the annual “Delaware Walk for Autism” on April 6, raising funds and promoting awareness for the developmental disorder. This is the second year the church has participated, rallied to the cause by church members Tom and Shelley Stolle, whose son Jimmy has autism.
Pastor Andy Ehlers said the event is a great way to love their neighbors. “We want to be a church that reaches out into the community, including those with special needs, to let them know we care about them, and their children,” he said.
Last year a team of about 30 members and friends participated, calling themselves “Jimmy’s Buddies.” They wore t-shirts, held signs and walked with the Stolle family. They’re expecting another great turnout this year.
“It‘s a chance to rally together and support each other, and it’s good for everyone to see that there are people in the community with special needs who we can love and serve,” Ehlers said. “It’s encouraging to families with autism.”
In addition to the church, the local Green Turtle Restaurant in Lewes, DE., is also supporting the “Jimmy’s Buddies” group with fundraisers. The Stolle family frequents the restaurant — it’s one of Jimmy’s favorites.
Ehlers said that supporting Jimmy, with his photo on shirts and signs, puts a “face” to the cause. It’s not just any cause; it’s for Jimmy and others like him, he said.
Tom Stolle serves as the associate executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware and has led a strong initiative in Maryland/Delaware and beyond to recognize, love, and minister to and with families with disabilities.
Don Klapka called as pastor of Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church
Don Klapka began serving as pastor of Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church in Lutherville, Md., on March 1. Klapka was serving as associate pastor of youth and young families since April 2018. The church called him to the senior pastor position when former pastor George Weaver retired in February.
Klapka made a confession of faith in Jesus on Easter Sunday in 1994 while serving as a paratrooper in the United States Army at Fort Bragg, NC.
His passion and desire to learn and teach God’s word became evident as he began serving as a Deacon in August 2000. After retiring from the US Army and starting his next career with the federal government in July 2003, Don became active as a Men’s Ministry Leader, Youth Sunday School teacher and Marriage Ministry assistant while serving at Westminster Baptist Church.
In 2017 he felt God’s call to pastoral ministry, enrolled at Liberty University, and is now pursuing a Master of Divinity in Youth and Family Ministries.
In April 2018, Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church called Klapka as associate pastor for youth and young families, and when Senior Pastor George Weaver retired in February, the church called Klapka to the position.
He and his wife, Anne, have been married 35 years and have three adult children and four grandchildren.
Klapka said his goal is to reach the community and to impact the world for the Gospel of Jesus.
Church adds girls dessert bake-off to annual contest
Nanjemoy Baptist Church in Md. had their annual chili cookoff on March 15. Each year the men and boys participate,
and it’s a fun time to fellowship and build relationships. The girls were feeling left out, however, so this year the church opened a dessert competition for girls ages 14 and younger.
Longtime church member Connie Gilroy said the girls were delighted to be a part of the event, making brownies, carrot cake, cookies, and more. Even her two-year-old granddaughter made pudding!
“The girls were very proud of their desserts,” Gilroy said. Winners received trophies.