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McKeesport pastor will bring church closer to his new flock

| Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 4:46 a.m.
Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News
Taking a break from Tuesday night Bible study, from left, are Cathy Buhl, Gina Kucsmas, Crissy Kane, Cyndi Grilli, Crystal Pastories, and Pam Fagin.

For two years, a group of women have been gathering at Cyndi Grilli's home for weekly Bible study.

While they were delving into the Word, their children were in an adjacent room with Pastor Bob Fagin learning how to be sensitive to hearing God's voice when praying and studying scripture.

“This summer I taught on water baptism and 24 people were baptized by water,” Fagin, the pastor of McKeesport Open Bible Church, said.

Despite the baptisms, Fagin said the converts were not in the pews at the Union Avenue church.

“I decided to bring the church across the river to them so it's at a convenient time and close to home,” he said.

South Allegheny Open Bible will have its first service Sunday from 6-7 p.m. in the Port Vue Borough Building, 1191 Romine Ave. There will be worship songs, prayer time and a message from the Word.

“I want to get folks not currently going to church with those who profess Christ but are not going to church, and those who don't know Him,” Fagin said.

Fagin said he was looking around the stands at a South Allegheny football game a few weeks ago and was struck by a thought.

“I wondered how many of those people would say they are believers but don't go to church?” he said. “I would like to be able to purchase a building and be a blessing to the community.”

Participants in the weekly Bible studies said they have been a blessing.

“We've grown from a group of friends doing a Bible study to a family,” Cathy Buhl of Port Vue said.

The women started meeting when Grilli posted online about her desire to start a Bible study in her home.

“I was born and raised a Christian and I wanted to be able to study the Bible with other women,” she said. “I asked on Facebook if anyone would be interested and these women have been coming ever since.”

Grilli said the group has helped the women grow in the faith.

“But I never thought it would evolve into a church,” she said. “God has been good to us. We've overcome a lot of challenges in the last two years and that makes us stronger.”

Gina Kucsmas of Liberty said the weekly studies are “a great support system.”

Fagin, who said he was saved in 1976, was a musician in high school and continued performing in coffeehouses and bars when he graduated.

“God started using me more and more in music ministry,” he said. “I started as a choir leader. Then I started working with youth as a young adult leader.”

He said he realized that God was leading him into formal ministry.

“I got my license and was ordained,” he said, noting that the Open Bible church is a small world-wide denomination.

The Chicago native met his wife Pam in Atlanta and moved to Port Vue, where her family lives.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

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