New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
Mark Bupp has a Bible in one hand, and a baton in the other.
The latter, in a manner of speaking, was passed to him by his father, the Rev. Dennis Bupp. The elder Bupp has retired as chaplain of Jameson Health System, but is still frequently called upon to perform funerals and weddings throughout the community.
Now, Mark Bupp and his wife, Shelia, are launching City Reach Church on Sept. 15, and the faithfulness of Mark’s father will be one of its pillars.
“Our worship leader, who just moved here, said to us last night, ‘Everywhere I go, when I say your last name, they say, ‘Do you know the Rev. Bupp?’ Everyone knows who my dad is.
“He moved back to Pennsylvania from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1980 — I was going into fourth grade then — with a vision for revival for New Castle. He actually had a radio program called Voice of Revival for years.”
Mark Bupp also went into ministry, but spent nearly two decades serving God alongside his wife, Shelia, in North Carolina. About a year and a half ago, they felt God calling them back to New Castle, and when they returned, Mark also was moved to seek out his father.
“I really felt like God spoke to me that the anointing that my Dad had carried — the mantle, the mission that he carried and had fulfilled to a certain extent — was to be passed on to me. I remember going to my Dad and to ask him to pray for me and to pass that mantle, that mission, on. It was really a special moment; we were all crying.
“He’s retired now, and I feel like we’re picking up where he left off, and I really feel like the fulfillment of the vision that he saw when he came in 1980 is going to be carried out by our generation. He’s going to see what he saw in 1980 when he moved back here. He’s very much left a legacy for us in this city.”
Now, Mark and Shelia Bupp and their team — which began as a young adult ministry that met Tuesday nights at First Assembly of God — aren’t just waiting for people to come to them and their building at the corner of Cunningham and Long avenues (which was donated to them by Jubiliee Ministries). They’ve been canvassing their neighborhood and holding outreach events featuring free food and games, both in their parking lot and at Gaston Park, to let folks know that City Reach longs to meet whatever needs they might have.
Starting Sept. 15, City Reach will offer 11 a.m. Sunday services, but the church will continue to meet Tuesday nights for a time of discipleship, preparation and training to take its ministry to the streets. That, Mark Bupp said, is the church’s top priority.
“We’re not trying to take anything from people; we’re not looking for money or fame or notoriety,” he said. “We are looking to give back, we’re looking to pour into the community. That’s what we want people to walk away thinking about us.”