Pastor Scott Phillips knows the Southern End.
Now he's getting to know the members of his new congregation.
On June 5, he was installed as pastor of Andrews Bridge Christian Fellowship, a Mennonite congregation just north of its namesake village on Rt. 896 in Colerain Township.
"I heard of the opening here and felt pulled to apply," he said.
After graduating from Solanco High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in business education and a master's in divinity from Lancaster Bible College.
Phillips has been in the pastoral ministry since 2013, when he moved from working with a Christian ministry. "As they transitioned, I felt the pull to give pastoring a try," he said.
He first appointment was as an associate pastor for the Mill Creek Bible Church. He came to Andrews Bridge after serving as interim pastor of Union Presbyterian Church.
"This is an evangelical congregation, a close-knit group and very multi-generational," he said of Andrews Bridge. "Most of the people here do not have an anabaptist history."
Phillips and his wife, Mary, have three children and live near the village of Witmer. She teaches at the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in Greenfield.
"I'm from the Southern End and she's from the north part of the county, so we're about half-way in between," he said.
The Andrews Bridge congregation is a member of the Alliance of Mennonite Evangelical Congregations.
Planted by Bart Mennonite Church in the late 1990s, it later became an independent congregation. In 2004, it withdrew from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Mennonite Church USA and joined the Alliance.
It's not the first congregation at that location. In the late 1850s, the site was home to the Colerain Free Presbyterian Church, a congregation founded by abolitionist Presbyterians from Union, Middle Octorara, and a church in Chester County. Following the end of slavery and the Civil War, many of its members returned to their original congregations. In the years that followed, the property was home to several Presbyterian congregations until the early 20th century.
The congregation has grown in recent years.
The congregation is now coming out of Covid restrictions and looking to expand its outreach. "We're talking about what we need to do to reach out to people," he said.
"Now we're looking at what we can do to be as welcoming a congregation as we can."
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