Home > Misc > Community Conversations at Norton Avenue First Baptist Church in Bristol, PA

Community Conversations at Norton Avenue First Baptist Church in Bristol, PA

Robin Stelly is a wonderful and compassionate organizer in our area for Penn Action.  She has allowed Mom and I to be involved in wonderful campaigns and projects.

I am so grateful that she brought us into meetings with Pastor James Evans of Norton Avenue First Baptist Church and Martha Miller from their ministry outreach No Longer Bound.  We have become good friends with the church and their ministries.

The planning meetings have been wonderful, leading up to Conversations in the Community.  This is the first one.  Unfortunately, I was sick with bronchitis and missed this meeting.  My husband went to take photos and video for me.  Thank you, Bruce!

There will be a series of Conversation meetings, leading to a Community Prayer Service and “March” in the spring.

How exciting!!
















This is just a bit of video.  We have 6 videos if anyone wants more details!

Pastor James Evans starting the meeting

Mother Martha Miller from No Longer Bound

Notes from Robin Stelly:

NOTES from February 9 Conversation in the Community

Present at Meeting (according to the sign-in sheet) organizational affiliation is

noted if known:

Dorothy Armond, No Longer Bound
Bruce Witt, Move On of Bucks County
Cathy Leary, Heeding God’s Call
Lynette Ingram
Gale Vanselous, Libertae
Connie Karasow, Libertae
Marlin Williams
Constance Moore
Dan Bates, Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce and Building Blocks in Bucks County
Keith Crowder
Dwain Harris
Rev. Darryl Jones, Sr., Second Baptist Church of Bristol
John Jordan, PA NAACP
Darlene Holloman
Councilman Tony Tucker
Susan Lewis
Joe McGrath
Hal Roberts
Robin Stelly, Penn Action
Brenda Barron, USAction
Martha Miller, No Longer Bound
Pastor James Evans, Norton Ave. First Baptist Church
Joan King, Move On of Bucks County
Needs and Challenges in the Bristol Community
  • Quality Education in the classroom is challenged
  • Parental involvement in the schools is not happening
  • Lack of investment in Education infrastructure (buildings and grounds)
  • Behavioral health among our youth
  • Lack of GOOD (living wage) jobs
  • Support for families/parents is lacking
  • Gun violence
  • Drugs: violence, crime, the drug economy is offering the only paying jobs
  • Apathy in the community
  • Programs go unattended
  • There is a lack of business development – empty buildings.  This leads to increased property taxes.
  • What are causes of lack of business development?  Fear? Taxes? Lack of demand? Redlining?
  • Organizations and community don’t communicate effectively – community hasn’t built capacity to receive the resources that are available.
  • Challenges to prisoners re-integrating into the community
  • Losing culture of responsibility
  • Loss of connection to work:  youth expecting failure … not in control of own destiny
  • Businesses need to hire locally
  • Media delivers unrealistic images of real life
  • Neighborhoods are isolated – people don’t connect to available resources
  • Clear path to economic independence is missing – not present in community (no GOOD jobs)
  • Lack of attention to working poor in favor of talking to/about middle class
  • Good, affordable child care is hard to find
  • After school programs for older children hard to find
  • Housing at all economic levels from young adults who can’t move out to homelessness
  • Lack of moral authority; youth doesn’t show respect for adults and institutions who/which are there to help
  • Unfair taxation: super rich and big corporations are not paying their fair share
  • Senior needs:  Healthcare costs … Foreclosure … Elder care … Adequate nutrition
  • Training gap: being trained for skilled jobs that pay more
  • Existing programs are messaged to the middle class – outreach to the working poor and poor is failing
  • Build necessary relationships
  • Create a team to attract businesses
  • Education people re: shopping locally
  • Know what resources are available to individuals and organizations and create a plan to get them
  • Get to public meetings: Commissioners, town halls
  • Help with applying for programs – loans
  • Investigate mentoring/training programs at the Community College and the BCOC
  • Organize parents to find common ground
  • Identify resources
  • Build relationship to get the resources
  • Work to advance partnerships with businesses like Philly does with Restaurant Week
  • Identify decision makers to target with our message

They are working on a new website, but for now you can find information at http://www.nortonavenuebaptistchurch.bravehost.com/


Our groups work together to bring awareness and progressive change for Bucks County!

Penn Action – Robin Stelly


BuxMont CFPA – Cathy Leary, Bill Deckert


Moveon.org Bucks County Council – Joan King and Sally Witt


Sally K Witt
Social Media and Ministry


  1. Judy
    February 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    For what it’s worth, the northeast coast of Florida doesn’t seem so different from the rest of the nation after reading the post. It’s wonderful the way you’re all connecting; definitely the key. Tougher to get cross-racial communication down here, as you might imagine; no, Civil Rights didn’t make the dent I assumed it had, as a Northerner. Other than the food pantry joining two churches as one recently, the only big move I’ve seen is that downtown storefronts are being populated – and the coppers are literally running the homeless out of town because they don’t want to spoil the ambience! (I wish I were kidding; just found this out the other day). And this is a “Right to Work” State, which translates that any boss can fire any employee at the drop of a hat w/o stated reason. All the best in your efforts up there…maybe you do have more progress to be hopeful about. Keep on keepin’ on!

  2. TaxCoach
    February 21, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Thanks for the update, with meeting notes.

  3. Jason flaugh
    February 21, 2012 at 2:13 am

    You are an ambitious group and I am loving it 🙂

  4. February 21, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Thank you for your insightful post. I frequently travel between Sydney and New York, and while homelessness in Sydney is a problem, it confronts me en mass in New York. There just seems to be a feeling of paralysis when confronted by such an overwhelming need, but community action such as this reminds us a way forward is possible.

  5. February 21, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Thanks for all the good work you and the group are doing Sally… 🙂

  6. February 21, 2012 at 2:45 am

    What is going on in your community is this same thing that is going on here. Robberies, arson, gang violence, murders, just really crazy stuff going on not sure if it is more so than usual but it seems that way.

  7. mandyf
    February 21, 2012 at 3:02 am

    What a great lineup! It is so good to see that so many diverse people are working together. Good deeds are to few and far between it seems these days, thank you and to everyone that participated for giving to help improve the lives of others.

  8. February 21, 2012 at 3:11 am

    Sally….As usual…you are doing the Lord’s work…..!!!
    Continued to be blessed………..!

  9. February 21, 2012 at 3:16 am

    At least you do have some help. That Pastor has a way with words.

  10. February 21, 2012 at 3:22 am

    The group is making some real progress in bringing people together.

  11. February 21, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Looks like you have some challenges ahead but I am sure that with such a lovely community you will be able to solve them. Best of luck!!

  12. February 21, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Thanks Sally

  13. February 21, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Community development, working with people, is the Lord’s work and you are doing it.

  14. February 21, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Hey Sally, excellent project you have here with some really wonderful ideas. I wish you all the best!

  15. February 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I like the strong community connection the church has.

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