How many of you recall playing school with your playmates? At the age of 8 or 9, young Raymond Jachowski played "church" and the role of a minister. Preaching from a makeshift cardboard church out back of the family property in Hunterton County in New Jersey.
It was not until he reached college that he actually got the “calling” to dedicate his life to God. He started his studies under the direction of the Dutch Reformed Church.
For the last three years, he has served as the pastor of St. John’s United Church of Christ. Located on Gay Street in Phoenixville, Pastor Jachowski had big shoes to fill. Previously the congregation was under the spiritual guidance of the beloved Rev. Linda Gruber for 34-years.
From 1997 until he was ordained from the Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1999, he was already assigned as pastor to Salem United Church of Christ in Dover, Pa.
The year 1999 was a major turning point in the pastor’s life. He and Kathy Collins were married. Kathy hails from Camp Hill, Pa. The Seminary was not the only reason he relocated to Pennsylvania. They have two children — 20-year-old Gabriel and 17-year-old Ann. The family makes their home in North Coventry. An interesting fact is that he estimates that a quarter of St. John’s congregation lives in the North Coventry area.
The church has a congregation of 150 active members. They work together for their Filled Cabbage Dinners, festivals and other events inside and outside the church.
In October, 10,000 bags with soy, rice, dried vegetables, spices and vitamins were filled as part of “Rise Against Hunger” and the supplies were sent to the storm-torn Bahamas.
For six years, the family served in Lincolnton, N.C. It took a little adjustment because foremost the fact that one was a Southerner seem to come before one’s religious affiliation.
Fridays are Pastor Jachowski's sermon day when he writes his word of inspiration for the following Sunday.
He is a fan of old monster movies. It seems the worst the better. He has a collection of Batman comics. Flip the coin — he likes American and local history with quite a book collection relating to history.
Kathy is the cook in the family. She has several recipes that are her signature dishes. She shares with us:
GRANDMA’S BEEF BAR-B-Q
1 lb. ground meat
1 small onion – chopped fine
½ cup ketchup
½ cup water
½ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. mustard
Sauté onions in oil – add meat until brown (no longer red). Combine ketchup, water, Worcestershire Sauce, sugar & mustard. Combine this with meat & onion mixture. Simmer on medium-low for about one hour. Spoon onto rolls.