Meet Our Staff
Pastor David & Lisa Grainge
David and Lisa Grainge are a team, ministering together to revitalize this 124-year-old church that serves several ethnic congregations in South Philadelphia. David has been pastoring at SACC since 2013 and became lead pastor in 2016.
They share a love for refugees and hope to see the current English-speaking congregation revived and enlarged. David has a passion for preaching and enjoys teaching the Bible to small groups in the Discover Bible Study (DBS) format. David and Lisa also serve the needs of the neighborhood through the church’s food pantry. They teach English as a Second Language (ESL), and Lisa coordinates the church’s Refugee Access Center (RAC@SACC) ministry, along with leading trauma-healing Bible studies.
This is David and Lisa’s second go around in Philly. They were part of the urban missionary team that founded Cornerstone Community Church in the Kensington section of the city in the early 90s.
David has a B.A. in German (with minors in teaching and writing) from Middlebury College and an M.Div. from Grace Theological Seminary. For nine years he pastored the Millgrove Bible Church in Alden, New York, and was previously the executive director of the Buffalo Christian Center in Buffalo, New York.
Lisa is a paralegal, a background that has greatly benefited her refugee assistance ministry. She is currently completing her undergraduate studies at Penn State University in psychology.
David and Lisa were married in 1987. They have four biological and six adopted children.
Pastor Bagudekia &
Bagudekia Alobeyo (Bagu) was born and raised in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Africa. The DRC is a country devastated by wars over the past three decades. To this day, many young people, not having access to higher education, are being compelled to join armed militia groups…
At a young age, Bagu believed in Jesus Christ as his Savior. He soon developed the habit of being engaged daily with the Scripture, and was called to serve the Lord as a minister while still a student in a Christian school established by missionaries to the DRC.
He went on to receive a diploma in education and a master’s degree in theology from the “Faculté de Théologie Evangélique de Bangui in Central African Republic (CAR). He also holds a master’s degree in Arts of Religion and a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. He is fluent in five languages: French, Lingala, Swahili, Zande, and English.
Bagu has experience in pastoring, including counseling families and children in both Africa and the USA. He recently worked for the American Bible Society in Philadelphia, PA promoting national and global Bible-based trauma healing, Bible translation, and Bible engagement throughout U.S churches and global communities.
Bagudekia and his wife, Suzanne, have five sons, six grandchildren in the USA, and five grandchildren who were orphaned and still live in Uganda. Bagudekia has witnessed firsthand in his own family the devastation and terror caused by the militia group the Lord’s Resistance Army. In 2009 he had to arrange for his family’s evacuation from his hometown of Dungu. He gratefully acknowledges that he was spared from the ravages of the war in Congo and provided for in the U.S. so that he could be an advocate for his people both in the USA and back in the DRC.
Bagu became our associate pastor in September 2020. He will be helping the leadership team grow a new English speaking congregation, develop and implement a comprehensive trauma healing ministry, care for the Congolese refugee population and ignite discipleship initiatives.
Selemani (Solomon) Sikasabwa
Translator/ Pastoral Assistant
Selemani Sikasabwa (or Solomon for English speakers) was born and raised in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He was abruptly forced to leave his home country as a result of an ongoing civil war in Congo, fleeing to Tanzania in 1996. He spent 19 years in Tanzania, where he attended and graduated from high school. After graduation he joined a Bible school and obtained a diploma in the biblical studies in 2014. Selemani speaks multiple languages including Swahili, Kibembe, French and English.
Selemani trusted in His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at a young age. Prior to coming to the United States in 2015, he served as:
• a singer in the worship group,
• an Evangelist,
• a youth group leader and
• a staff member in the local church called Communauté des Assemblées de Dieu en Afrique (CADAF) or Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG).
In 2016, drawing upon his ministry experience, Selemani led small home worshipping services from home to home for the Swahili speakers in South Philadelphia in order to encourage each other, to heal broken hearts through the Word of God, and to bolster the faith of his fellow refugees in the saving work of Jesus Christ.
Selemani joined Snyder Avenue Congregational Church in 2017. He regularly translates the Sunday morning services into Swahili. He also serves the church as a pastoral assistant, translating for Pastor Grainge during visitation as well as interpreting for clients who take advantage of our Refugee Access Center (RAC@SACC).