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Church to mark anniversary

May 28, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

John Miller and his wife, Melissa, have known for a long time they were called to serve the Lord.

"I sent out resumes and we were looking at a church in Back Creek Valley, W.Va.," John Miller said.

But last May, the Millers took a big step and joined a movement to form a new church in Hagerstown.

"We met a group of people who were having Bible studies and they asked me to speak," Miller said. He knew then that he wanted to be a part of this new church.

From those humble beginnings, Faith Christian Fellowship was born. The congregation, which started with five families, now numbers between 95 and 100 faithful from around Washington County, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

"It was just word-of-mouth," said member Charles Zulauf. "We are historically of the Baptist faith but we are promoting Christ before denomination."

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The congregation meets at 10:30 a.m. Sundays at the Ramada Learning Center at the Ramada Inn on Dual Highway. At 6 p.m. Wednesday, prayers are said in homes.

"We are set aside at the Ramada," Zulauf said. "It's a very good arrangement."

Indeed, there have been five baptisms at the church in its first year.

John Miller said the church is getting people who are looking for a church.

"We are not competing with any other churches for members," he said. "We are looking for the unchurched."

Even though the congregation is just coming up on its first anniversary on June 7, there is already a children's ministry, child care and interpreting for the deaf at the Sunday morning service.

Melissa Miller is truly a partner in her husband's ministry and in his life. She said the church and her husband's ministry are both based on love and unity.

"My husband's sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is his strong point," Melissa Miller said.

People's needs for love and a place to worship were the forces that began the church, the Millers said, and it is those needs that will keep it growing.

"We can be like a hospital for healing or an oasis," Zulauf said.

Zulauf and his wife became involved in the church last June after a meeting at which John Miller was the speaker. They prayed then that he would start a ministry and he did.

"John is a man of great vision to minister to the hurting and the unchurched," said Zulauf.

A native of Martinsburg, W.Va., John Miller studied for the ministry at Liberty Home Bible Institute. From 1991 to 1994, he taught at Martinsburg Christian Academy, which is affiliated with Shenandoah Bible Church.

Since 1994, Miller has been at Harvest Baptist Church as youth minister.

When he felt the call to lead his own church, Miller knew he would need to get a "regular" job for a while and he got one at Hagerstown Kitchens. There, he got flexible hours that allowed him to explore his ministerial goals.

Since February, the Millers have worked full time at the new church.

For more information, call 301-745-5386.

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