Faith Baptist Church was incorporated in 1985 when a small group led by Pastor Glenn Jago which met on Sundays, at the Buckingham Elementary School in Berlin, MD. In 1988 another small baptist church led by Pastor Steve Wagner was meeting at 517 Main Street in a small building they rented. While there the church with the help of two other ministries, Allen Memorial Baptist Church and Faith Baptist Church, both in Salisbury, purchased the 3.5 acre parcel of ground which Faith Baptist Church now occupies.
How did this happen? Well in 1988 Pastor Wagner decided to pursue another ministry that was an outreach ministry to Jews and decided to approach Pastor Jago about their two ministries merging. After much prayer and many discussions the merger took place and Faith Baptist Church inherited from that merger all the assets of Pastor Wagner's ministry.
The church grew and moved to Stephen Decatur High school and after another year eventually moved to the Four Corners Commercial center on Racetrack Road, just one mile from Ocean Pines.
In 1992 Pastor Glenn Jago and his wife Tammy after many ministry difficulties with the merger, decided it was time to move on and allow a new Pastor to come and restart the young struggling ministry.
A Pastoral search committee was formed which consisted of Deacon Bob Mahlstedt, Dominic Brunori, Charlie Scheisser and Eloise White. Many candidates were interviewed and Pastor John Abent was the one the board chose to recommend to the church which at that time consisted of about 20 members.
In May of 1992 Pastor Abent began to travel to Berlin from Norristown PA., on weekends and moved to Ocean Pines in September of 1992. He officially became the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in October of 1992.
The ministry was supported by the small group and underwritten and financed by Calvary Baptist Church of Lansdale, PA., for one year. After that year the church grew enough to become self supporting but still could not pay the Pastor a living wage, so Pastor John Abent took a part time position as maintenance supervisor with the Commander Hotel in Ocean City.
In 1994 the new ministry had its first Vacation Bible School at Showell Elementry Park with hopes of building a youth ministry.
It was a very hot summer that week but the members persevered, overcoming many challenges. Some of the early teachers were, Doris Welsh, Barbara Hager, Lucille Mahlstedt Laurene Abent and Pastor John Abent. The theme for the Vacation Bible School was Creation. With about 30 youth in attendance, out of which was born the FBC youth ministry which continues to this day as Patch The Pirate Club. As the ministry grew it rented a total of three spaces at the Four Corners Commercial property.
In 1996 the church, which was trying to sell the property at 519 South Main Street in Berlin, but then decided not to sell that property after Pastor Abent did an in depth survey of the area. Instead the Church began a two tiered savings program after meeting with Taylor Bank who helped lay out the necessary steps. The Church had to raise another $20,000 dollars and secure another $15,000 in pledges for the bank to authorize the $200,000 loan. Well, even though the church exceeded these goals, Taylor Bank chose not to grant the loan.
This was a very big disappointment, but the Lord was in the work. Another bank manager who heard about our ministry and our situation through one of our families called Pastor Abent and asked if they could talk to us. The Bank at that time was Peninsula Bank, which later would become PNC Bank. In short the loan was approved and the work began in earnest in February of 1997. A ground breaking ceremony was held on the property under a tent with an Eastern Shore Noreaster blowing, but this did not keep people away. Dr E.R Jordan Pastor Emeritus of Calvary Baptist Church in Lansdale, and Pastor Robert Rinnert of Faith Baptist Church in Salisbury Maryland., offered up both Scriptural challenges and prayers for the new facility to be built. Dr. E.R. Jordan said, "The devil hates what you are doing here and he will do all he can to discourage you and destroy this work." He went on to say, "...people will disagree over what color the carpet should be or what to paint the walls. If you have a disagreement with your brother or sister in Christ over things that really do not matter, just kiss them and move on." This brought many laughs but was very effective because everybody remembered what he said.
In five months the Church had to be finished and ready to move in because Four Corners had a contract with Peninsula Regional Medical Center to remodel and rent the spaces the church was using. The members did much of the work themselves saving the church 50 % of the actual cost to build the 40 by 200 foot, 8,000 square foot structure. Brunori Construction acted as the General Contractor and carpenter Ralph Frazier and Pastor John Abent, with his background as a Plumbing, Heating and Electrical Contractor were the lead project managers. Jim Thompson, and Chris Merritt where there on weekdays and every Saturday as well. The Ladies of Faith would bring meals every day for the workers and it was a very special time in the history of Faith Baptist Church. Many other members came when they could and Saturdays were especially well attended to complete the construction on time. It truly was a miracle to complete the project in only five months.
As the ministry grew and expanded it would add a 2000 square foot fellowship hall, install a kitchen and build a two story facility maintenance garage.
Many memorable VBS's were held at the church's new location and FBC is known through out the community for its exceptional VBS programs and its strong stand on the Word of God.
Pastor Abent and his wife Laurene continue to minister at FBC and are excited that Alex Valdes, the son of long time members, Pedro and Julia Valdes has surrendered his life to full time ministry and is completing his Seminary training at Maranatha College and Seminary in Wisconsin, with the expectation that he will take over the ministry when Pastor Abent retires in the not too distant future.
"Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it:..." Psalm 127:1a
April 28, 2020
To God be the glory for all He has done.