Hopewell Baptist pastor hopes to unite Jeannette community
Willing to help the community quietly and humbly, the Rev. Anthony Murray, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, and his wife, Karen, have been working diligently in the Jeannette area to bring faith and unity to the city.
Though Murray is celebrating 12 years at the Chestnut Street location, he previously spent part of his ministerial career as an associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. The couple still travels to Jeannette from their home in Pittsburgh to serve the 35-40 members.
Murray came into a deep, committed relationship with Jesus at the age of 21. Having grown up in the church, he said one of the blessings he received was that his father was able to witness his son spiritually mature and begin to preach at his church before he passed away.
The Murrays share five daughters. Antoinette is a principal of an elementary school in Las Vegas, her immediate younger sister, Adrienne, works as an administrator for UPMC. Angela is studying computer forensics in Texas; Ashley is attending college classes in computer technology and early childhood development for children with special needs, and Alisha is in her final year at Geneva College, studying music education.
The couple endorses the message of “Each one, reach one,” meaning for each member of their church to reach out to one friend, one coworker, or one neighbor, to share the love of Christ.
“If we do just that, it'll build a church,” Murray said “We enter to worship, and depart to serve.”
Murray works to meet with other pastors and priests in the area to unite those who share the Christian faith in an effort to present the message of God to the community.
He has attended sessions with the ministerial community not only to unite them as servants of God and shepherds of the community, but as a way of becoming aware of the area's needs, because they “doesn't know how much we can help.”
Murray said the connection between families and communities has impacted the church. He believes family structure is missing and this can be observed in the community and school, as well.
“People need hope,” Murray said. “They need a loving, caring, understanding church that loves fellowship. We willingly want to help.”
The couple said those who are interested in coming to church should not feel apprehensive about walking in.
“Come as you are. Recognize the importance of where you are if you have a plan to survive. You're either ‘in it,' ‘at the tail end of it,' or ‘it hasn't hit you yet.'”
As a minister, Murray said faith in Christ and regular fellowship can ease the apprehensions of life and its struggles. He said all anyone has to do is ask, seek, and knock.
Murray's biggest testimony to his faith is that he sets an example with his own life. It reflects in his life not only as a minister, but in his relationship with his wife, as a parent, and as a member of the community.
Murray's favorite hymn is a tie between two: “Down at the Cross,” and “Pass Me Not, My Gentle Savior.” His favorite verse is Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation for every one who believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Hopewell Baptist offers Sunday school at 9:15 a.m. with Sunday service following at 10 a.m. Wednesday night from 6-7 is a prayer meeting and from 7-8 p.m. is Bible study, and it is open to all family members.
The church is a short walk for those who live downtown Jeannette and may not have the convenience of a car. It is located in the 400 block of Chestnut Street.
Maria Tyger is a contributing writer.