How does a Baptist church work?
Like other Baptist churches, we are independent in that under Christ (the Head of the Church), we are an autonomous local congregation. Having said that, we voluntarily partner with other churches to spread the Gospel in the North American Baptist Convention.
As a baptist church, the congregation (specifically, those who are members) prayerfully approves the major decisions such as the hiring of pastoral staff, the calling of lay-elders, and the annual budget. But the Bible doesn’t just speak of the congregation having authority. It also speaks of elders and pastors (which is actually the same office in the New Testament). At Calvary, we have an Elder Board that leads the church. We use the term ‘pastor’ to refer to elders who are paid. The Elder Board has a majority of lay-elders, but includes a percentage of the staff pastors.
Who leads us?
- Pastor Larry Burd – Senior Pastor
- Pastor Larry Davies – Executive Pastor
- Pastor Don Meadows – Family Ministries Pastor
- Pastor Jack Tanis – Visitation Pastor
- Pastor Paul Wilson – Adult Ministries Pastor
- Pastor Brennen Sullivan – Adult Discipleship Pastor
- Jeremy Gibson – Director of Worship Arts
- Bill Varner – Interim High School Director
- Sean Ihling – Interim Middle School Director
- Scott Brantingson
- Dan DePretis
- Steve Gabrielle
- Scott Hemphill
- Ed Lamb
- Hal Mante
- Jim Rayner
- Doug Snyder
- Glenn Watt
Pastor Larry Burd, Senior Pastor
Pastor Larry Burd has been the Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania since 1983. He is a graduate of Houghton College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Pastor Burd pastored churches in Melrose, Mass. and Buffalo, N.Y. before moving to Bethlehem in 1983.
As a pastor/evangelist, he has ministered the gospel in North America, Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and Australia. The motto of his life is, “HE DIED FOR ME, I’LL LIVE FOR HIM.”
Pastor Burd is host of “The Living Truth” television program, aired on 13 cable channels as well as Dish and Directv, twice each week. He and his wife, Sharon, enjoy spending time with their four married children and their nine grandchildren.
Pastor Larry Davies, Executive Pastor
Pastor Davies is our Executive Pastor and has been at Calvary since 2003. Before coming to Calvary, he lived in Florida where he served two different churches over a 12 year period as a full-time worship and music pastor.
Born and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Pastor Davies graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Nyack College and a Master of Science from the University of Bridgeport. Soon after his graduation, he moved with his wife, Marie, to serve as Director of Music at The Kings Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla. where he served for 16 years as a teacher and eventually as Vice President. He was also chairman of the music department at Miami Christian College for four years. He has also served as a part-time Minister of Music at Haverhill Baptist Church, Wayside Baptist Church and Lake Osborne PCA and full-time Minister of Music at Orangewood PCA and Old Cutler PCA.
Pastor Davies and his wife, Marie, who serves as his assistant and accompanist, currently live in Hellertown. They have three married children and appreciate opportunities to spend time with their grandchildren.
Pastor Don Meadows, Family Ministry Pastor
Don Meadows serves as our Pastor of Children’s Ministries. He was born and raised in a small town in West Virginia. Having been raised by parents who had an authentic relationship with Jesus, Don realized at age seven that he was a “thief and a liar” and prayed with his dad to receive Jesus as his savior.
Don met his wife Liz in 1991 while working a summer job. They married in 1993 and have two children, Allen (born in 1997) and Amanda (born in 1999). Don and Liz worked together in Calvary’s AWANA ministry for several years as volunteers, before Don felt the Lord calling him into full time vocational ministry. In 2008 Don decided to “step out of the boat” and pursue a seminary degree from Biblical Seminary in Hatfield. Nothing gives Don greater joy than seeing children come to know, love and serve Jesus Christ. Don considers it a real privilege to work with the children’s ministry staff and volunteer leaders here at Calvary.
Pastor Jack Tanis, Visitation Pastor
Jack Tanis serves as our Congregational Care Pastor. He has been a pastor since 1980. Previously he served as a District Superintendent for the Eastern District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. Before that, he served pastorates in Milford, N.J.; Bradenton, Fla.; and Deerfield, Ill.
Pastor Tanis served as an adjunct teacher for Moody Bible Institute Extension School, Bradenton, Fla.; as well as East West Ministries, teaching future pastors in Kazakhstan and Bible Study curriculum in Krasnodar, Russia.
He is a 1982 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill. His life verse is Matt. 6:33 “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Pastor Tanis and his wife, Julie, reside in Easton. They have four married children along with grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Pastor Paul Wilson, Adult Ministries Pastor
Paul comes to Calvary Baptist with a passion for biblical community and an earnest desire to know, live, and teach the Gospel. Despite his admitted limitations, Paul is excited about wrestling with God’s truth for his own needy soul, and explaining it to others in a way that is faithful, challenging, and relevant.
Born on the west coast of Canada, after living in British Columbia, Michigan, and New Jersey, Paul’s family ended up in northwest Ohio when he was a teenager. After high school he studied at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. While in Louisville, Paul was on staff at First Alliance Church, where he led the student and children’s ministries. Soon after that, Paul was an interim pastor in Dunkirk, N.Y. and a pastor in Aliquippa, Pa. for several years.
While serving in Aliquippa, he met his wife Laura. Together their lives are energized by good coffee, the Pittsburgh Steelers, their cat and dog, and most importantly, their son, Asher. In addition to hanging out with Laura, Paul enjoys reading theologically stimulating books and leisurely walking or running around his neighborhood. His wife Laura is a licensed Social Worker and a gifted encourager. She enjoys sports, photography, and hanging out with friends at coffee shops.
Paul’s primary responsibilities are overseeing Calvary’s adult discipleship and care ministries.
Pastor Brennen Sullivan, Adult Discipleship Pastor
Brennen serves the Calvary family as the Adult Discipleship Pastor. He oversees the Community Group (small group) ministry, young adult ministry (AWAKEN!) and the exciting process of welcoming people into the Calvary family. Brennen has a passion for cultivating authentic, loving community within Calvary that results in overflowing love toward those outside of Calvary.
Brennen grew up in a blue-collar town in Wisconsin, and moved to Pennsylvania to discover whether Jesus really is who He claimed to be. He found the answer: YES HE IS! HE IS RISEN INDEED! Brennen holds a B.S. (emphasis in psychology) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Master of Divinity from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
He and his wonderful wife, Nicole, live in Macungie and were blessed with a baby boy, Paxton, in April of 2014.
Jeremy serves as the Director of Worship Arts. His areas of service include leading worship, overseeing tech, and producing videos and other media for Calvary.
Jeremy grew up in the panhandle of Florida where he was discipled and trained by a godly family and church. He has been writing music from a young age and has a passion to present the truth of God through song as a means of discipleship and edification for the body of Christ.
Jeremy married his wife Lauren in 2011 and became proud parents of their son, Graham, in January of 2014.
Scott Brantingson – Elder Board Chairman
Scott’s guiding principle is: I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans12:1–2)
Scott lives in Bethlehem with his wife, Rose, and daughter, Elizabeth.
Scott has been a member of Calvary since 1998. He is currently a Community Group Leader, Wednesday Evening Bible Study Leader and is on the Stewardship Committee.
Dan DePretis – Elder Board Secretary
Dan desires to be an Elder to serve the church as we move forward. Dan’s motivation for service is based on the following: According to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, the church is directed by Christ to “go” into the world, “baptize” new believers, and “teach” them to obey God’s Word. Based on Ephesians 4:11-13, Dan is compelled to be involved in the local church to help with equipping believers for this ministry. By God’s design, the church assembles for worship. Then our growth and service, as a local assembly, are supported by the equipping process. The Bible is our curriculum for equipping for life: for Worshiping, Growing, and Serving.
Dan, his wife Miriam, and their daughter Amy, live in Bethlehem Township. Dan is employed by Sanofi Pasteur. Dan placed his faith and hope in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord at the age of 22. His hobbies include home improvements and cabinetmaking.
Since becoming a member of Calvary in 2008, Dan has been involved in Community Group ministry and teaching Gospel Life Seminars. He is also continuing with formal Divinity School training to increase his effectiveness in ministry.
Steve desires to continue to be an Elder to play a leadership role in helping the church fulfill its vision of worshiping God, growing in Christ and serving in the Spirit. He feels called to continue to be a part of the team that is guiding the church in its expanded ministry for the glory of God in the Lehigh Valley and around the world. Steve’s guiding principle is Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Steve lives in Bethlehem with his wife, Stacy and son, David. He is employed at PPL. Steve has walked with Christ since the age of seven. His wife, parents, church and Christian friends, along with experiences at Lehigh University and at church, all contributed to his spiritual growth. Steve enjoys playing tennis and running.
Steve has been a member of Calvary since 1998. He is currently leading a young couple’s community group, is the Elder chairman and participates with many other ministries. Steve was the leader of several church mission trips to Assam, India, and Guaymas, Mexico, and he continues to serve both locally and internationally. Steve loves the Lord and tirelessly prays that “all will hear and respond to God’s word.”
Scott and his wife, Kris, joined Calvary upon moving to Bethlehem in 1995. They are the parents of three children: Kevin, Brian and Rachel. Scott holds a business degree from Wake Forest University and a law degree from William and Mary. He is currently employed as an in-house attorney for an Internet services company.
Scott has served at Calvary in different capacities over the years, primarily in Children’s and Student Ministries. He currently serves as a Middle School Sunday School teacher and as a High School youth group leader and small group Bible study teacher. I n the past, he served as head of the AWANA ministry and as a member of the Christian Education Board.
Scott desires to serve as an Elder at Calvary in order to deepen his service to the Body of Christ. He feels called to help lead the Calvary family as we live out Christ’s instruction to be a light to a lost world. He has a passion to help equip the Body for the work of ministry — to the church, to our community and to the world. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”
Ed first came to Calvary in the late 1980’s as a student at Lehigh, where he met his wife Elizabeth. He was baptized at Calvary in 1989, and after teaching at a Christian School in Baltimore for four years, moved back to Bethlehem and became a member in 1995.
Ed has a Master’s degree in Computer Science and his wife is an OB/GYN physician. They have two children, Alethea and Timothy, and live in Williams Township.
Ed has served on the Elder Board since its creation in 2002, and he is a community group leader. He has served as the Elder Board Secretary and Chairman. He is also attending seminary, working towards his Master of Divinity degree in practical theology. Ed’s desire is for every person who comes in our doors to see Christ as their all-consuming Treasure, to see Calvary continue to grow in depth and Christ-likeness so that we make an impact for God’s Kingdom in the Lehigh Valley, and that Calvary would seek with its many blessings to be a blessing to other gospel ministries and our neighborhood.
Hal, his wife, Joyce, along with their daughter, Jenne, have been attending Calvary since being introduced to the church through the Life Action Crusade in the winter of 2004. Finding a good fit at Calvary for their family with strong biblical teaching and friendly people, they publically proclaimed their faith as they were baptized as a family in the spring of 2005. All have been active members of Calvary since then.
In 1984, Hal founded, and continues to own and operate, American Fence & Flag in Whitehall. He was an active member of the American Fence Association and served as president of the Keystone Chapter; he is also a graduate of Leadership Lehigh Valley. For the past five years, he and Joyce have been serving the church and the community by coordinating Calvary’s Food Pantry. During that time he has been instrumental in running the Christmas food drive and distribution and, more recently, a back-to-school backpack distribution. Over the time he has attended Calvary, Hal has served on the Stewardship Committee, the Transition Team and with Adult, Youth and Children’s Ministries, including leading GriefShare® classes with Joyce. He has organized several short-term mission trips and is currently serving on the Mission Team.
In his free time, Hal loves to be outdoors walking, hiking or riding his bike. He also enjoys movies (comedies, romance and/or adventure, preferably all three in one). He likes soft rock, both new and old, as well as contemporary Christian music.
Hal has a heart and desire to motivate and encourage the unchurched, the lost and the disenchanted. His favorite Bible verse is Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Jim desires to play an active role in the Kingdom of God and to be used by God to serve others in our church and community. After much prayer and consideration, He recognizes that he is a sinner in need of God’s daily forgiveness, grace, and mercy, and is amazed at how richly God has blessed him in so many ways.
He desires to use his spiritual gifts and leadership skills to further enable Calvary Baptist Church to be used by God to bring the lost to a saving knowledge of Christ, to teach and disciple believers, and to provide fellowship for believers.
Two verses which mean a lot to Jim are
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Jim and his wife Jan, live in Hellertown with their daughter, Hannah.
Doug and his wife, Marsha, live in Whitehall. Doug was born and raised in Bethlehem’s East Hills area. After a long career at AT&T, he joined Calvary’s staff as Facilities Manager in 2010.
Doug and Marsha began attending Calvary Baptist Church in 1989. Since 2004, Doug and Marsha have been serving on the Deacon/Elder Board. Doug has also been active in other ministries serving with the Communion Ministry, Wednesday Night Dinners, Calvary’s Food Pantry and Small Groups.
Glenn lives in Bushkill Township with his wife of 34 years, Janine. He retired from the USAF in 1999 as a Lieutenant Colonel and then worked for seven years as the President of BackBone Security before assuming his current position as the Chief Information Security Officer with Medidata Solutions in New York City. Glenn asked Christ into his life at age 12. His parents and his local church in Denver, Pa. contributed to his early Christian growth, but his deep involvement with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship during his days at Kutztown University and then Lehigh University really ignited his spiritual growth. God has used Glenn in a variety of positions including teacher, deacon and elder in churches he attended throughout his lifetime.
Glenn has been a member of Calvary since 2010. He is currently an adult Community Group leader. Glenn enjoys spending time with his wife, playing the guitar, and kayaking.
Glenn’s life verse is Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”