The Kilp Family
The St. John’s Vestry resolves that the Kilp family – Bob, Mary Ellen, and their three sons, Adam, Daniel and David – receive this year’s St. John’s Award for their many contributions to the church and the impact that these have made.
Over the years, the Kilps have been a regular presence at the corner of Chestnut and Mulberry Streets. For Mary Ellen, St. John’s has been a home away from home for the majority of three decades since 1983, when she brought her infectious smile, warm heart and welcoming arms to the church. She was joined a couple of years later by her then-and-still-current dance partner Bob. From the Black Angus to Lancaster Liederkranz, the couple waltzed and Zwiefacher-ed all the way to their wedding day at St. John’s on April 22, 1989 and soon after started a family.
In the years that have followed, both in and out of the walls of this historic church, the Kilps have been role models and a true inspiration for our future leaders – our youth. Initially serving as youth leaders with Penn and Mary Glazier, Bob and Mary Ellen eventually became mentors for the Young Adults in Church, or YAC. From there, Mary Ellen transitioned into being the youth coordinator, a position she still holds today.
That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the Kilps’ involvement at St. John’s. Both Bob and Mary Ellen, in addition to their roles in property clean-up, coffee hour, Scout Sunday and the like, have volunteered at youth events and contributed at Agapeland and Happening, a Diocesan Youth event, where David was a rector last year. Mary Ellen, a cradle Episcopalian, has served with the Diocesan Commission for Youth Ministry, while she and David both represented St. John’s as delegates at the Diocesan Convention and traveled to London, England last year with the J2A group. As a family, all five have participated in the Diocesan Youth conferences.
Besides helping children spiritually, Mary Ellen’s love for kids extends to her position as a nurse at Taylor Elementary in the Columbia School District, where the Kilp family resides.
Bob, a long-time employee at Armstrong World Industries, has proven to be a strong pillar in the operation of St. John’s as a Rite 13 leader for many years, a Vestry member and warden, usher, lector, hand bell choir member and soon-to-be trained crucifer.
Showing that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Adam, Daniel and David have made their presence felt in the life of the church, singing in the children’s choir, helping out on the Acolyte team as crucifers, servers, torch bearers and Eucharistic ministers, and eventually graduating to donning guard costumes and walking like Egyptians at Vacation Bible School.
David has also received the huge honor of being one of just 12 teens selected from the Episcopal Church to be an official youth presence at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2014. He is currently an intern with the Diocese of Pennsylvania at St. Luke’s in Philadelphia.
It should hardly come as a surprise that largely because of the Kilps’ impact, St. John’s has a reputation in the Diocese as being the premiere place for youth ministry. “People want to come here to learn about our J2A program,” assistant rector Jennifer Mattson said.
The three Kilp boys have volunteered in nursery, helped out with the Maundy Thursday Lock-in and Good Friday services, and contributed to the Souls for Shoes project. Plus, Adam made St. John’s the beneficiary of his Eagle Scout project, refinishing the floor in the church’s auditorium.
Outside of the church, the Lancaster Liederkranz isn’t the only place where the Kilps have been known to dance. The Kilp boys have broken out a touchdown dance or two while helping St. John’s establish itself as a long-time holder of the All-Saints Day football trophy.
St. John’s is considered to be family for the Kilps. So, too, is the Liederkranz, where Bob is the financial secretary and all are active. True to family values, the Kilps are compassionate, loving, faithful, enthusiastic and welcoming. They are also perfect recipients of this year’s St. John’s Award.