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Vernon Stoop

Vernon Stoop Jr.

Thursday September 8, 1927 - Friday April 10, 2020
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Rev. Vernon Stoop Jr., 92, of Bechtelsville, entered eternal life on April 10, 2020. He was the husband of the late Grace (Bowman) Stoop. They were married for 48 years before her passing on March 4, 2002. Born in Leesport, he was a son of the late John Vernon Stoop, and the late Mabel (Dunkelberger) Stoop. Surviving are his two children: Valerie Stoop, of Bechtelsville; and Bradley Stoop and his wife Brandy, of Frisco, TX; two grandsons, Nicholas Stoop and Julian Matlack; and a sister: JoAnn Carter, of Leesport.

Pastor Stoop served his country honorable, first in the Merchant Marines, and later in the Army during the Korean War. He later attended Albright College and Lancaster Seminary and was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ. He was a student minister at Sassaman’s Evangelical and Reformed church in Sassamansville part time and moved into full time ministry after his ordination at his home church, Trinity Evangelical and Reformed Church in Leesport, PA. He also served the Niantic Sassamansville Evangelical Reformed church until 1960 when they divided. The Sassaman’s Congregation relocated on Hoffmansville Road in 1962 and the congregation was renamed to Shepherd of the Hills.
He served as the pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Church, in Bechtelsville for 48 years.

Vernon Stoop was very active in his community as well as his church work and sought to unite others under the common Lordship of Christ and His calling. He assisted in founding the Boyertown Area Ministerial Association. He also was once the president of the Boyertown Area YMCA. He assisted others in helping to found the Boyertown Area Multi-Service organization. He helped to create the inter-denominational Montco-Berks Golden Age Club. Rev Stoop served as chairman for the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference Stewardship committee and headed a fund raising program to build the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference Building of the United Church of Christ.

Being very active in assisting others in spiritual growth -- he counseled, taught, preached, visited the sick and elderly, spear-headed support groups, and enabled some of the first area contemporary worship ecumenical praise services, Life in the Spirit Seminars, and Alpha Outreach ministries. He attempted to help others live Spirit-led lives. He led efforts to fund two children’s orphanages – one in the Philippines and one in Acapulco Mexico. He traveled to visit both of them. He led the church into supporting missionaries around the world.

He was the first in the area to hold healing services and was a teaching leader in assisting Anne White’s Ministry across the nation of Prayer Counseling. He served as the Executive Director of Focus Renewal Ministries within the United Church of Christ. He also served on the Board of the North American Renewal Services which held conferences for over 40 denominations across the country – mobilizing others to preach the Gospel all over the world through evangelism and missions. He ministered as the secretary/treasurer on the Charismatic Concerns Committee. He later became a member at Zion’s Church in Hamburg where he served as a volunteer part time minister serving in a variety of capacities as needed.

His efforts and accomplishments are many, and quite notable, but most who read this won’t remember even half of the list of his vast resume. If you talk to most people who knew him, they would have a different list of what he really accomplished. He would never take the credit for it, but to say he was only the messenger: A messenger of the Lord.

He pointed people to Jesus. He pulled people from pits. He gave hope to those in despair. He counseled with wisdom the confused and the misguided. He lifted people from sorrow to joy. He loved and forgave sinners. He put the light of God’s word into darkened corners of people’s minds. He went to the farthest corners to minister to the poor, the orphaned, the single parents, the depressed, the grieving, the lost. He housed and mentored drug addicts, ex-cons, and alcoholics and the mentally ill and won the victory of their hearts to follow Christ. He inspired with his words. He hatched, matched, and dispatched many into Godly eternal covenants. (Baptisms, weddings, and funerals). He took his family all over the world to see others who were not like us and went into everyday homes of people in Mexico, India, and the Philippines to minister God’s love. He showed many their spiritual gifts and empowered them to minister in those gifts. He left vacations early to serve a parishioner in a crisis. He stayed up late to counsel a troubled soul. He got out of bed and got dressed to stop domestic fights and impending suicide threats. He confronted the addicted and offered a hand up to a better life. He survived three church splits with grace. He gave private communions to the housebound. He laid hands on the sick. He walked through his wife’s cancer and his own with faith, praise and strength. He prayed daily, though nearly blind. He could hardly hear, but he requested the words to familiar songs as he read them with faith. He ministered to the one before him as if they were the most important soul in the world. He saw through people to see the God sized hole in their heart and he filled it with something of the fruit of the Spirit.

Basically, if you knew him, you would say he did the greatest two commandments that Jesus highlighted: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He loved God and others well. And people from all over loved him.

If you think of Pastor Stoop, you think of the Father. He was a good father. Some people even called him their father. He loved and gave to many. If you consider his life, you admire his humility and his constant pointing to Christ as the one to be worshiped. If you have been touched by his ministry, you know you have been changed by the power of the Living Lord that works in him. If he has come and helped you from a fall, a grief, an illness, then you have met one who carries Christ to you. He might be credited with “saving your life,” “saving your marriage” or Saving you from a wrong turn”, but he would have told you, it isn’t himself, but the One Savior of us all.

If you have heard him speak, you have received wisdom from his faithful walk and experience with God. If you have been lifted and inspired by his life, you have also been challenged to lift others and love well. If you have been helped in any way by his servant ministry, then you have experienced sacrificial, comforting, unexpected, undeserved, surprisingly miraculous interventions the One he carries – the Holy Spirit.

He would not have been able to recall all that he had done in his life. He rarely talked about his great contributions of his past. He was always looking to give God another day to serve him in some new way. Near the end of his life, he would often say a prayer behind closed doors. “Why am I still here, Lord?” In his frail, weakened condition, unable to go anywhere anymore, the Lord would whisper to him: “I have you here because I still have more for you to do.”
And it went on for a long time. Every care-giver, friend, former parishioner, visitor, doctor, nurse, and whoever came across his path in his latter days, he still gave a bit of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to in word, in love, and in his caring, kind, gentle simple wisdom.

The last day he was home before the hospital stay, he was heard to say another prayer before he left by ambulance. “Lord, I’m so tired. I’m tired, Lord. I’m so tired. I want to come home. I ask that you take me home.”
Six days later, on Good Friday, he passed peacefully into his eternal home.
The long painful sacrificial life was over. The resurrected life of joy began. He is forever home. Forever in Love.

He will be laid to rest privately beside his wife in the graveyard of Shepherd of the Hills Church in Bechtelsville. A public Celebration of His Life will be announced at a later date when health constraints have been lifted.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Zion’s Church, 770 Zion’s Church Road, Hamburg, PA 19526. The Falk Funeral Home in Pennsburg is honored to assist his family with his arrangements. Please visit his “Book of Memories” at falkfuneralhomes.com.
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Shepherd of the Hills Cemetery
    527 Hoffmansville Rd
    Bechtelsville, PA 19505
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
Due to the current health restrictions, he will be laid to rest privately. A Celebration of his Life will be announced after the current health restrictions have been lifted.


  • United Church of Christ


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Rev. Dr. Marianne Unger

Posted at 11:30am
Thank you for always giving and remaining faithful to the word of God.

Valerie Stoop Posted at 08:45am

Yes and amen. Thank you for sharing this memory that lives on in the faith walk of many who were touched by my dad.

steve oteri

Posted at 01:20pm
I am so sorry for your loss. I want to tell you some of the things your dad has shown me. I came to Shepherd not knowing about a personal relationship with Jesus. Pastor Stoop helped me to learn how to pray, read my bible, and retain what I am reading.
Your Dad was my facilitator, at my first first Alpha Course. Before the first night I said as long as I don’t have to sit with the pastor, sing, & talk in a small group. I only thought Alpha was going to be one night. Boy was I shocked when everything I didn’t want to happen, happened. God had a plan!
Pastor Stoop lead me to becoming a Christian. To being a better man, husband, & father. He continued mentoring me for many years. God only knows I needed that.
For me to say thank you would never be enough. He did all these things for a countless amount of others. He was a real Shepherd to so many. By his dedication to our lord and savior!

Valerie Stoop Posted at 08:47am

Wonderful memories and testimonies. I love your family and your support of us was so touching to me over the years. I am so glad to know you and I appreciate you sharing this. You helped to make my dad's life easier with your gifts and talents. Thank you.

Jenn O.

Posted at 10:54am
Valerie, Brad and Family: You are all in my thoughts and prayers. My heart breaks with you in grief and also rejoices with you in celebrating your fathers life and graduation to his eternal home. As a youth I remember things like your Dads smile and laughter, his shiny shoes and white robes, his kindness, his sound teaching and his zeal in singing and dancing to “I’ll Fly Away” in church. Your Dad walked in humility as the hands and feet of Jesus. This community has received a rich inheritance and blessing because of the seeds he sacrificially and joyfully sowed for His love of Jesus and for people. He has received his crown and He is home. May the God of all comfort meet each of you, Stoop family, where and how you need it. May your memories be sweet and blessed. I’m grateful to have known your Dad and your whole family. God Bless you and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and give you great peace.

Valerie Stoop Posted at 08:48am

Thank you for your love, prayers and support of our family for years. Beautiful memories. Your words honor him well. Thank you for your faithfulness and for sharing.

Dena Heist Solomon

Posted at 06:08pm
First, my heartfelt condolences to Val, Brad and family. Rev. Stoop was a Spiritual Rock in my Family. For my mom, dad and I he was there for so many events in our lives. I can still remember when he called me to come forward in the what is now the Fellowship Hall during our Confirmation Class in front of everyone. I had no idea he was going to have me come forward, but he whispered in my ear "God's got you , you can do this"....and so I did. I gave my testimony as to how I had accepted Jesus as my Savior. That in itself was a story as it happened during an Iconic Sermon in February of 1970 when Rev. Stoop ripped up his sermon and the Holy Spirit moved through the Fellowship Hall like I've never seen before. That day myself and many others surrended their lives to Christ. Rev. Stoop Married my husband Steve and I, dedicated my daughter and was at the hospital by my and my family's side when Steve took his last breath. He not only taught of Jesus' love, but he was a mirror of what Jesus' love was all about. I was saddened when Val told us he had passed to Glory, however also rejoiced as I can picture The Lord laying his hand on Rev. Stoops shoulder and saying "Well done my Good and Faithful Servant". May God give Val and Brad comfort and peace knowing he is now joined with their beautiful mother, Grace celebrating in Glory.

Valerie Stoop Posted at 08:49am

Wonderful memories. I so appreciate you and your family over the years. Your family was partners with my family in ministry. I love these thoughts. Thank you.

Peg Kidon

Posted at 02:50pm
Here is my tribute to this dear man of God:

My connection with Rev. Stoop goes all the way back to 1961 (59 years ago) when my mother, Jeanne Hunsberger, saw a sermon of his which was printed in The Pottstown Mercury. Immediately she knew that she had to find this minister and his church. We actually worshipped at first at the old church down the road from the current Shepherd of the Hills Church. Thus began a long relationship with my family of origin and later my own family. So I have known this kind, humble servant of God since I was 14 years old. He was selfless, he was wise, and he was sincere. He helped our family through many turbulent years, and me in particular, during some painful times while in nursing school. He visited me in Philly to offer his kind support and encouragement. Something as simple as taking me to lunch at a burger place still sticks out in my mind--he cared, he truly cared about each and everyone his flock. Although my husband and I were married in the Catholic Church, he willingly participated in the service (1969). His message that day so inspired many of our guests, that they made a point of mentioning so. He married my sister, Jeannie and Don, in what is now the Fellowship Hall (1965) before our current Sanctuary was built in the early '70's. It seemed that he was always available whenever there was a need. We shared many happy and, yes some sad moments. He performed my mother's funeral in 1999. He also married our daughter, Beverly and AJ, in 2000. We were so touched that he would travel all the way to State College, PA to perform the ceremony. I will always remember Vernon and the entire Stoop family with love and gratitude. Grace was my Sunday School teacher when I was 15 in the Stoop basement. Once when I was a teenage helper in VBS (at Zern's Grove), I agreed to take some kids out in a rowboat, having no idea what I was doing. I became embarrassed at my ineptitude, and someone had to "rescue" us. I was mortified and upset, and Grace comforted me. I will always think of Vernon as he would preach the Gospel, and I especially remember him dancing to the hymn "Soon and Very Soon." Well now He has seen the King--no more crying, no more blindness, no more deafness, no more pain, no more lonely days. Hallelujah, Hallelujah! I love this family, and we extend our deepest condolences especially to Valerie, Brad, Nicholas, Julian, and JoAnn. Thank you for being such an important part of my life, and showing me what it really means to be a Christian and to follow Jesus.

Peg Kidon
(North Coventry)

(P.S.) The photos were taken during a "This Is Your Life" program put on in his honor back in the late '60's or early '70's.

Valerie Stoop Posted at 08:50am

Wonderful pictures and memories. I remember those days. Thank you for your constant love, support, and prayers over the years. So appreciated. Yes, the picnics were good times. Thanks for sharing that memory. :)

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