The Storehouse Community reaches out to others

Shawn Hardy
Pastor John Bartlett is shown in front of The Storehouse Community, formerly Calvary Bible Church, on Route 16 west of Greencastle.

There's a new name on the sign in front of a big church on Route 16 west of Greencastle — The Storehouse Community replaced Calvary Bible Church last week.

The name comes from Genesis chapter 41, when Joseph is placed in charge of Egypt's storehouses, overseeing them through seven years of plenty and seven years of want. It represents a new chapter for a church that's struggled since the death of long-time pastor Glen Miller in 2009.

"We wanted a name with purpose and utility behind it," said Pastor John Bartlett, who came to the church in June 2015. "As a church we're like a storehouse, we have things to give, including the message of the Gospel."

It was hard on people when Miller passed away, many left the congregation and the church went through a rough patch with several different pastors.

"Change is hard," said Bartlett. "There had to be a lot of healing and wondering about the future. We had about 50 stay from the original church, I think they sensed something on the horizon. We settled in about a year ago."

He added Miller provided a strong foundation for the church and he would love to see some former members return.

*** Coming to the church ***

Bartlett, originally from Illinois, comes to the church by way of the military, marriage to the former Tracy Myers of Greencastle and a career in law enforcement.

They met on a blind date while he was stationed at Fort Ritchie as a military policeman. A hardship tour took him to Korea without the family, then he decided to leave the military and the Bartletts settled in Greencastle in 1997.

Following his retirement from the military, Bartlett joined the Frederick County Sheriff's Department in Maryland. The son of a pastor, he's been a believer for 19 years and felt called to the ministry 12 years ago.

"I felt the call, but I didn't know what it was going to look like," he said, noting he was a law enforcement chaplain for five years and had a heart for church planting. He went to ministry school and started a Bible study in Emmitsburg, where he was the community deputy for five years, which grew into a church.

He retired from law enforcement in March 2014 and continued his work with chaplaincy and planting.

"I was happy and retired and this came into my lap out of nowhere," according to Bartlett, who wasn't looking for a job when he saw a message on his phone that Calvary was looking for a pastor.

"I didn't know anything about this church, but I kept thinking about it," Bartlett recalls. "I said, 'Lord, is it you?'

"God's got a sense of humor and they hired me," said Bartlett, who started in June 2015 just as the former Pastor Lee Nunemaker and his family had to leave for a missionary assignment.

"We treated it as more of a replant, that's what I brought to the table, work in planting," he said.

*** The Storehouse ***

"We're very focused in getting back to the simplicity of what the church is supposed to be about," he said. "I open the Bible and I see a church engaged in lives ... we're trying to redo the model of the church a little bit."

While there is a service at 10 a.m. on Sundays, "Community" is a big part of the church's name.

It already offered a food pantry and now there is involvement with people in transition, veterans, prison inmates and those dealing with addictions.

The food pantry, coordinated by Connie Lazich, is usually open once a month depending on the delivery schedule from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. It serves 85 to 90 families.

"Connie's like your grandmother who knows how to take care of your family," Bartlett said. "We've really developed relationships ... for us it's a ministry."

The church hosts Narcotics Anonymous and family support group meetings, complete with child care, every Monday from 7 to 8 p.m.

Bartlett also heads the prison fellowship at Franklin County Jail, noting "I used to put people in jail, now I go there."

"We're real excited about getting out into the community," said Bartlett. "People need to know someone cares about them."

Bartlett said people who go to the church aren't called members, they're called ministry partners.

The partners are spending time with folks in transitional facilities like Noah's House and Candleheart in the Chambersburg area, which has led to the possibility of creating transitional house — probably for women and children — in the downstairs level of the church.

"We have a huge facility here," said Bartlett, explaining county human services estimates it could house 30 to 40 people.

"We are in the talking stages, our people are excited about this," said Bartlett. "The church is the people, this is just the facility. Let's use it for something to bless people."

For more information, visit www.exploreshc.com or call 717-597-4442.