Plum Creek church in Plum finds new pastor

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Rev. Allan Drake had planned a career in communications.

Drake's life, though, took a turn when he joined the U.S. Army Reserve. Drake, 44, met a young woman who he said was pursuing a faith path.

“She shared it with me,” said Drake, a Beaver County native. “I realized that all my gifts could be used to serve God in the ministry. I found God in my life in the early '90s.”

Drake decided to pursue a Divinity degree from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. After serving as a pastor at three churches — two in East Liverpool, Ohio, and one in Moon — Drake last month became the new pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek that has about 300 members.

Drake succeeds the Rev. John Lolla, pastor for 26 years. The Rev. Brenda Barnes served as interim pastor for three years.

Drake said he decided after serving 10 years as pastor of the Riverdale United Presbyterian Church in Moon that it was time for another assignment and started to search for churches looking for pastors.

At the same time, The Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek was searching for a permanent pastor.

Drake said in January he received a call from Ed Smith, a member of the pastoral nominating committee, expressing an interest in Drake's candidacy.

Smith said Drake gave his nominating sermon during a service at the church in June, and Drake was endorsed by the congregation. Drake is scheduled to be installed officially on Sunday.

“We believe it is a spiritual match,” Smith said. “He is a family man, his beliefs are scripturally based. He seems to be an uplifting individual and very positive.”

Drake said his background in communications lends well to his ministry.

The new pastor said he was infatuated by his own voice when he was growing up. Drake said he frequently used a cassette player given to him by his parents to tape his voice as he sang. He also enjoys playing the guitar.

Drake continues to use his communications skills in the ministry.

“All gifts can be tied together,” said Drake, who at times uses YouTube videos to illustrate points in his ministry, particularly during Bible study sessions.

Drake wants to build on Lolla's contributions.

“I haven't met him yet, but I am thankful for what he left,” Drake said.

Drake is impressed with various activities and outreach programs conducted by the church. He noted the weekly Bible studies and the day camp for children in the summer.

“My goal is to see Plum Creek church be a vital church that meets the spiritual needs of people and have a message of openness,” Drake said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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