Bright Side Baptist Church 

Church History:  This beautiful and fruitful fellowship of love began July 6, 1980, at St. Paul’s Church of God in Christ (formerly St. Paul’s AUFCMP, 14 East Farnum Street, Lancaster, Pa.)under the guidance of Rev. Louis A. Butcher, Jr.

On Thursday, July 10, 1980, the organizational meeting, with six persons accepting membership, was held and Rev. Butcher was elected Pastor of this new Mission. The following persons were elected as officers: Sis. Carolene Pratt, Treasurer; Sis. Betty (Wilson) Acey, Church Clerk; Bro. Robert Thomas, Trustee; Sis. Betty Hurdle, Building Chairperson; and Sis. Dorothy Calloway, Worship Committee Chairperson.

Bright Side moved into a new building at 15 South Prince Street on August 22, 1980. As the Mission continued to grow and prosper, on October 11, 1980, the Central Baptist Association Council came to “set apart” this Mission as a Missionary Baptist Church. The services were conducted by Rev. Robert E. McMorris, Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church here in Lancaster. Rev. William Wansley, Pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Reading, Pa. brought the message, and Rev. Richard J. Manning gave the welcome address to the Church. The late Rev. Louis A. Butcher, Sr., gave the charge to the Church and Pastor.

The first Usher Board was formed consisting of the following members: Sis. Dorothy Calloway, Sis. Betty Hurdle, Sis. Mary Hurdle, Bro. Robert Thomas, and Sis. Ruth Woods.

Dedication Service was held on Sunday, October 19 1989, with Rev. Dr. Willie H. Upshaw and members of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church Yonkers, New York, as guests for the afternoon.

Sunday, October 18 1981, marked an historic march from 15 South Prince Street to 215 South Queen Street, with more than 200 members and guests participating. Some special guests attending this event were the Honorable Arthur E. Morris; Mayor of Lancaster City, and Rev. Richard McMillan, Executive Director of the Water Street Rescue Mission, Rev. Dr. Willie Upshaw served as guest speaker accompanied by his choirs and congregation from Yonkers, New York.

The next few months were very busy ones for the Bright Side family in their new home with its membership increasing steadily.

Bright Side has made giant steps since its beginning. In the spring of 1981, Rev. Ronald Taliaferro conducted the first Spring Revival. The week-long revival was spiritually filled; souls were saved – a revival that will be long remembered!

April 16, 1982 is to be remembered with joy and sadness. On this particular date, we purchased property on the corner of Christian and Locust Streets. However, we also suffered the loss of Rev. Louis A. Butcher, Sr., who was then our Spiritual Advisor.

The following are a few memorable activities, events, and a list of “FIRSTS” for- the Bright Side Family

1981 – Deacon’s Ordination Service. Those being ordained were: Brothers Harper Calloway, Samuel Davidson Sr., and Nathaniel Jenkins.

1982 – August – Sunday School Picnic; Sunday, September 19, 1982 we voted to dedicate the property purchased April 16 to be used as a prayer garden in memory of Rev. Louis A. Butcher, Sr.; Sunday, September l2 – Licensee Ronald Taliaferro was accepted as Associate Minister.

1983 – Saturday, April 23 we hosted a “Spring Teen Debut”; May 15 the church voted to ordain Licensees Dale Ford and Ronald Taliaferro (these services were held on September 4; June 19 our Nurses’ Unit was formed under the directorship of Dr. Harold White Sr. Members of the unit were: Sisters Katie Butcher; Dorothy Calloway; Ruth Woods; Ramilee Washington; the late Jessie Pinder; Karen Jenkins; JoAnne Jenkins; Stacy Richardson; and Brent Perry.

Sunday, November 20 – Our Annual Sunday School Promotion Day; in December we held what is now our Annual Christmas concert.

1984 – September 9 – Homecoming Services and Dinner; September 16 the church voted to begin renovations of the Social room, restrooms and Baptismal pool; September 25 – Women’s Day Services; September 30 – Rev. Ronald Taliaferro was installed as Pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, York, Pennsylvania.

October 6 – Pastor Butcher’s “walk-a-thon ” for the benefit of the building Fund; October 20 – work began on the Baptismal pool with “Bucket Brigade” formed by Building chairperson, Sis. Betty Hurdle.

1985 – April – Rev. Jonathan Rochelle was accepted as an Associate Minister; Brothers Tony Jefferson and David Liles were accepted as Deacons-in-Training; June 11-15 the Sunday School and Staff joined Ebenezer Baptist Church to assist in their Annual Vacation Bible School; July 16 -Phase II of our renovations on the Social Room, Nurses’ Unit; Choir robe room and Pastor’s Study. The Baptismal pool was completed and dedicated in October and we held our first baptism. November 10 – Harvest Home Services; December 15 we voted to establish a Christian Care Committee.

January 1986 – Minister Valerie Jackson was licensed

1987 – June 6 – Ordination Services were held for Rev. Rochelle; on July 5, he was installed as Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Birdsboro, Pennsylvania.

The Bright Side story could be summed up as such: from a small, inadequate, run-down, leaky roof store front to a structure rich in architectural beauty representing elements of Roman Revival, Italianate, Gothic and Queen Anne – our present home. The latest and the most significant blessing is the purchase of land on Hershey Avenue to erect a new church a new house of worship – a building dedicated to the glory of the Lord! By the grace of God, Bright Side is still on the move! The year 2001, we plan on breaking ground for our new edifice.

Pastor’s Bio: Louis A. Butcher, Jr., a native of Lancaster, PA, was educated in the Lancaster School System, graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and from the Lancaster Bible College with a Master of Arts in Ministry. He has also received honorary doctorates from Franklin and Marshall College, and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. He has held various positions in the corporate world, including serving as a sales representative for Hamilton Watch Company and as Corporate Employment Manager for that firm. He worked in retailing for ten years with John Wanamaker Department Stores, holding the positions of Branch Personnel Manager, Operations Manager and Divisional Merchandise Manager.  He spent nearly twenty years with the County of Lancaster as Executive Director of the County Human Relations Commission. He has also operated his own business.  He is an organizer of the Bright Side Baptist Church and has been its Pastor for the past thirty years.

He has served on numerous community boards, including the United Way, SouthEast Lancaster Health Services, the Urban League, Leadership Lancaster, LIVE Green, and the Lancaster General Hospital. He is a past Moderator of the Central Baptist Association and a former Regional Vice President of the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Board of the Bright Side Opportunities Corporation, a nonprofit corporation that operates the Bright Side Opportunities Center.

Pastor Butcher is married to the former Katie A. Rogers and they are parents of four children and seven grandchildren.  They were also foster parents for thirty years, helping to raise more than twenty children.

Affiliation: Baptist

Address: 515 Hershey Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17603

Phone: 717.295.9431

Website: www.brightsidebc.org

Service Times:

  • Sunday Services – Morning Worship – 10:00 AM
  • Sunday School – 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Christian Education Classes – 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Bible Study – Wednesday – 12:00 Noon & 7:00 PM