Celebrating the life of H. Frank Kipe

H. Frank Kipe, 86, of Waynesboro, Pa., passed away on November 25, 2013.

H. Frank Kipe (1927-2013) served as a Brethren in Christ pastor, missionary, and bishop.

Frank was born to Omar and Catherine (Shank) Kipe on September 23, 1927. He grew up in Waynesboro, Pa., the location of the family’s farm, as well as of their church, Five Forks Brethren in Christ. At age 9, Frank gave his heart to Jesus at a revival meeting led by BIC leader and evangelist E. J. Swalm, and in 1937, he began his lifelong membership in the Five Forks Church.

Frank worked on the family farm until he went to Messiah Academy for his senior year of high school. While there, at the age of 16, he felt a “distinct leading of the Lord to pursue a call to world missions.” Frank responded in obedience and trust; he chose to follow the call and, in his own words, “never looked back.”

He studied at Messiah Junior College (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) for two more years, then pursued industrial arts training at what was then Millersville (Pa.) State Teacher’s College. During that time, Frank noticed that the Lord continued to speak into his life, helping him discern Africa as the location of his future ministry. As he prepared for that, Frank served in 1951 as pastor at Lancaster (Pa.) BIC Church.

The following year, 1952, was a pivotal one, as Frank married Blanche “Pat” Landis, whom he’d met at Messiah, and they moved to Africa. Frank and Pat raised all four of their children—Franklin, Jr., Judith, Kenneth, and Ray—during their time as missionaries in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Over their 15-year ministry, Frank worked in church planting and leadership, as well as in teaching and school administration. He served as the superintendent and manager of schools, as education secretary, and as principal of the David Livingstone Teacher Training College in Zambia. With the help of others, he also tended to the building of many elementary and secondary schools. From 1968 to 1978, Frank served as bishop of the Brethren in Christ Church in Zambia, providing leadership to 81 congregations.

Over those years, Frank also experienced a continual deepening of his faith. He pointed especially to when the Brethren in Christ denomination challenged its members to “Read your Bible through in 1962.” Frank shared that this initiative helped him commit to reading the Bible daily, a practice that continued through the rest of his life.

When Frank and Pat returned to the U.S. in 1978, he attended Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, Calif.). He then shared his knowledge and experience as a professor in the Bible and missions department at Messiah College, from 1979–1984. This period of years also saw him appointed pastor of Iron Springs BIC Church (Fairfield, Pa.).

In 1984, Frank was elected bishop of the Allegheny Regional Conference, a role that he held for the next 10 years. It was during that time, in 1990, that Pat passed away.

Frank later married Lois (Book), and one of the first things they did together as a couple after his term as bishop came to an end was take a motorcycle trip across the U.S.

Over the years, Frank would work as interim pastor and guest preacher for many congregations, as well as a speaker at conferences and revivals. He also operated a saw-sharpening business and returned to farming, making him the sixth generation to live and work on the Kipe family farm.

In addition to his second wife, he is survived by his children, Frank, Jr., Judy Kipe-Nolt, Ken, and Ray; 13 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Janet Martin and Lois Peckman; one brother, Howard; and a number of nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 4–7pm on November 27 at Five Forks BIC and at 10am on November 29. At 11am on November 29, services will be held in the auditorium of Five Forks BIC. Burial will follow in Ringgold Cemetery (Ringgold, Md.).

For those who are unable to attend in person, the service will be livestreamed and then available for later viewing at Five Forks’ website.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Brethren in Christ World Missions or Five Forks BIC Church.