American Baptist Churches of Ohio News from our regions around the state.

Hillcrest Baptist 100 Year Celebration April 27 to 29

Hillcrest Baptist Church (2480 W. Broad Street, Columbus OH, 43204) has been an instrumental part of shaping the values of their community for 100 years! The 100 year celebration is this Friday through Sunday, April 27 to 29, 2018. More information for their weekend events may be found at their website, hillcrest-baptist.com. You are welcome to call the Hillcrest Baptist office at 614-274-4333 to RSVP and ask questions.

Many people have come and gone through the years, but most people who have a connection with Hillcrest speak of how it helped shape their walk with the Lord.

It is that same confident, contagious and courageous spirit that has carried Hillcrest through the decades. While many things have changed on the Hilltop, God has not changed and His vision for Hillcrest is still alive. The heart of Hillcrest in the 1920s was to “Change the World” and the heart of Hillcrest today is that through Christ we will change the world as well.

Former ABC Ohio Representative Sarah Pirtle is with the Angels

Sarah Leah Pirtle, M.D., 62, passed away on November 12, 2017, at St. Rita's Medical Center, Lima. Sarah was an ABC USA General Board Representative and an ABC OHIO board member several years ago. Her father is also a retired ABC pastor in Lima. She graduated summa cum laude from Ouachita University in Arkadelphia, AR. She earned a Master's Degree in Organic Chemistry and a Medical Degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in 1984. She specialized in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine for Lima Memorial Health Systems and St. Rita's Medical Center for over 20 years. She was a member of First Baptist Church and sang in the choir, served on the Daycare Board, and was a member of the Elizabeth Circle of American Baptist Women's Ministries. She served as a member of the Board of International Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA and as a board member of American Baptist Churches of Ohio. She loved her profession, music, traveling, and playing euchre. Her friends were her friends for life. They will remember her joyful spirit, her generosity, and her infectious laugh. Prayers go out to the Pirtle family in their time of grief.

Rev. Fred McKnight Passes

Rev. Frederick "Fred" McKnight formerly of Plain City passed away in his sleep on October 2, 2017. Fred served many ABC-Ohio churches during his ministry and served from 1969 thru 1979 as the resident manager of Camp Kirkwood.

Fred was born June 19, 1922 in Transfer, Pennsylvania, he is a graduate of Westminster College in Pennsylvania and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He was ordained to ministry at the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY in 1954. He served as pastor at Locust Grove Baptist Church, Salem, OH; Big Darby Baptist Church, Plain City, OH; Sugar Creek Baptist Church, Washington CH, OH; Jonah’s Run Baptist Church, Wilmington, OH; Church of the Master, Steuben, OH; and part time at Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, Willard, OH.

He also served for ten years as site manager in Camp Kirkwood, Wilmington, OH. He retired in 1997. Our prayers are with his children and family.

Rev. Robert Hughes Passes


Rev Robert D. Hughes was an amazing man who invested his love, guidance and encouragement in lots of people. He was the first Dean of the Leadership Academy. His wife Kathleen was a former region president. Please pray for Kathleen and the Hughes family as they grieve his passing.

Robert D. Hughes was born in Bucyrus, Ohio to Hugh T. and Reba (Craner) Hughes.  He graduated from Bucyrus High School in 1945, Denison University in 1950, and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1954. He preached his first sermon at the age of 14, in his grandfather’s church.  After seminary he pastored churches in Marietta, Painesville, Loudonville, Attica, and Cuyahoga Falls.  

Read more: Rev. Robert Hughes Passes

Former ABC Ohio Staff Member Passes

Former ABC Ohio staff member Martha Sue Buckenberger passed away on March 28, 2017 at the Selma Markowitz Center, Newark, Ohio. Sue retired from ABC Ohio as an office manager.

She attended Grace Pointe Community Church. She loved spending time with her grandchildren. She also enjoyed going to Florida and gardening.  She is survived by her loving husband of 47 years, H. Mack Buckenberger; daughter and son-in-law, Missy and Joe Pfister; son and daughter-in-law, Seth and Katy Buckenberger; five grandchildren, Alli, Brock and Jarrett Pfister, A.J. and Ian Buckenberger; brother and sister-in-law, James and Patty Stephens; sisters, Norma Jean Cline and Lillie Keylor; and many nieces and nephews.

Our love and prayers go out to her family.