Laying the Final Brick Print E-mail
February 28, 2015
5:00-7:30 p.m.
Elmwood Park Zoo Banquet Room

A jubilant crowd of 80 witnessed the burning of Penn Christian Academy’s 32 year-old mortgage on Saturday, February 28, 2015 after dinner in Elmwood Park Zoo’s Banquet Room. The event, sponsored by PCA’s Board and Directors, began with a tribute by Senior Administrator, Tarah Ferrier, honoring Linda M. Kuntz who has taught three-year-olds in the Academy’s preschool for 40 years.

Keynote speaker and former Board member Larry Stout then recalled the days when Penn Christian Academy acquired its property at 50 W. Germantown Pike-- moving from its original home at Penn Square Community Church (2633 Hillcrest Avenue which is now Macedonia Baptist Church): “When my wife and I first visited the school in 1982, it was in boxes because the move was in progress, but we were so impressed we signed our daughter up anyway!”

Mr. Stout described the sacrificial efforts of Board members who needed to raise over $93,000 as a down payment on the property. Stout, whose family later served as missionaries to Latvia from 1990-2006, went on to describe the global impact that Penn Christian Academy has had on Christian education: “I asked my assistant if there were any Christian schools in Latvia, and next thing I knew, I was meeting with the Latvian Minister of Education, who told me no, but asked how it could be done. I told him about my experience at PCA and suggested starting one school, but he insisted that all children in Latvia should have the opportunity to attend a Christian school.” Today, Latvia is the only country from the former Soviet Union that operates Christian schools as part of its educational system.

In the first conveyance of public school property to a private entity, Penn Christian Academy purchased its 11.2 acre parcel from the Norristown School District with a deed recorded on September 2, 1981. After a lengthy process requiring approval by the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Union National Bank & Trust Company (now Univest) granted a mortgage to the Academy on June 22, 1983. During Saturday’s Ceremony, John Duerksen, Univest’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Banking for Montgomery County, participated with PCA Board Treasurer, Brian Roach, and Business Manager, Allan McKeown, in announcing that the mortgage was satisfied in January 2015.

Following that announcement, ten “matchlighters” representing past and present Board members, teachers, staff, and alumni read scriptures to underscore the school’s biblical commitment before each dropped a page of the mortgage into a fire pit on the outside patio.

The program concluded with an invitation by Board President, April Butler, for friends and supporters to join PCA’s Keeper Circle, established five years ago to “keep PCA’s legacy alive,” in preparation for the school’s 50th anniversary in 2016: “As we plan for PCA’s next 50 years, we are blessed with a large parcel of land and an historic building. It is inevitable, however, that we will have to make renovations.” Improvements under discussion include access for persons with disabilities, additional air conditioning, and a recreational center separate from the school’s current Gymnasium/Auditorium.

“We believe that God not only wants us to flourish, but to flourish competitively,” Butler said.