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1948 to 1983 Pastors Paullin, Vroom, Abbott, and E. Lewis

Dr. Norman W. Paullin  1948-1954 

          Dr. Norman Paullin was a preacher par-excellence who felt he still had south Jersey’s sand in his toes.  He was called because he was a down-to-earth man whose ministry could affect every person in the church.  He reminded his church workers of the seminary professor who urged his students to preach so that a child could understand, but “once a year preach over their heads so that they would know you could do it.”  He seemed to always preach to be understood by everyone.  Years later, those who remember him, remember best the down-to-earth stories he told.  Because Dr. Paullin was such a plain-spoken man, he was in constant demand as a preacher for one night or a series of nights.  His schedule was demanding. 

          During Dr. Paullin’s tenure, the Chapel of the Four Chaplains was completed.  The pastor was in complete agreement with the concept of the chapel but his strong evangelical concern questioned an altar of the Jewish faith in the church.  Possibly another location could be found.  Members took sides as the pastor told the congregation of his concern.  He and Dr. Poling had been good friends for many years, so the congregation knew no reason why the matter could not be settled amicably, and so it was.  The two ministers met and each was satisfied. 

          How could the Temple keep such as Norman Paullin?  The Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary found in him the man to chair the Department of Homiletics, practice preaching.  Dr. Paullin knew all along that no male member of his family lived beyond fifty years, so at fifty-four he chose to spend his last years, how many he did not know, as Professor of Homiletics. 

          At his leaving, the Temple gave a brief description of the ministry of Dr. Paullin in this way: 

The fundamentalism of a Paul, the forcefulness of a Wesley, and dynamic energy of a Bill Sunday are summed up in this simple, direct preacher of the Christ.


Dr. Peter Vroom  1955-1967 

          Peter Vroom came from a large Dutch family.  His parents emigrated from Holland before the children were born.  The family lived in New Jersey.  While attending Temple University, Peter entered Baptist Temple on a rainy night where an evangelistic service was being held.  He accepted the invitation to accept Christ.  Later he married the pianist, Rachael Shively, who was accompanying the singer of that evening. 

          Dr. Vroom completed his Temple University education and enrolled at the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  During the war, he served as a chaplain, including service at the Battle of the Bulge. 

          Peter Vroom was always striving for a closer walk with the Lord.  Members remember one of his sermons, “Feeding on Ashes”.  Often he took a basket of food to someone in need. 

          His family was a great asset.  He and his three children sang as his wife accompanied them.  Peter Vroom served humbly but with enthusiasm, always seeking the will of his Lord. 

Glenn C. Abbott  1969-1977 

          Glenn C. Abbott may not have realized it when he accepted the ministry at the Temple, but he became a transition pastor.  Regardless of the attempt for the “glorious days” to continue, times were changing and although the pastor gave his best, the membership declined, as did the financial support. 

          With the help of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, a survey was conducted to ascertain whether Temple should quit the ministry, sell her property to the university, merge with some other church, or possibly re-locate.  The decision was to re-locate to an area where it was thought most suburban Temple members lived.  The congregation moved to Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, when an opportunity came to purchase a twelve-acre parcel of land from the Budd Company.

          The services of dedication of the new sanctuary at Blue Bell were held on Sunday, October 5, 1975.  The morning service was one of dedication of the church family.  Pastor Abbott led the dedication of the people and Dr. C. Gordon Brownville, father of Mrs. Abbott, led the dedication of the pastor.  Dr. Brownville was the former pastor of Tremont Temple of Boston and a member of the Billy Graham Crusades team.  This service was one of Communion. 

          An afternoon service of celebration and dedication had a number of guests participating. 

          Participants                                     Represented by

Township Supervisors                             Mrs. Marjorie Fell

County Board of Commissioners               A. Russell Parkhouse

Ambler Ministerium                                Rev. W. McKinley Freeman

Philadelphia Association                          Rev. William Johnston

American Baptist Churches of PA              Mrs. Edith Vanderbeck

American Baptist Churches                      Dr. Robert Campbell

Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary         Dr. Frank Veninga 

          Rev. George Moody, former Associate Pastor, participated and Dr. Gordon Brownville gave the prayer of dedication. 

          The architect was John W. Anderson and the construction company was the S and N Construction Company of Fort Washington. 

          Glenn Abbott was an excellent preacher and a fine singer.  As one of the Temple members remembered, Glenn Abbott carried the congregation to a wise choice. 

Rev. Eric Isaac Lewis  1979-1981 

          The Rev. Eric Isaac Lewis and his wife, Marnie, were successful business people in Ireland before coming to this country.  He was especially interested in aiding the hearing-impaired.           

The Lewis family did not come directly from abroad.  Rather he served churches in the United States before and after his Temple pastorate. 

          Members remember him as an expository preacher and a good pastor.  During his ministry he sponsored a church growth seminar for a number of weeks which ended in a neighborhood visitation program. Next - 1983 to the Present


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