By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
Pastor Alan Pirrello has been with the Budd Lake Chapel for almost 10 years. His involvement with ministry began when he was in his 30’s.
“I just felt led by God,” he said.
When he was 25-years-old, he met a coat check girl who gave him a Bible. “That Bible started the ball rolling,” he said.
While in his 20’s, Pirrello said he was at a crossroads about what he was going to do in his life. He said, “The Lord delivered me. I was a gambler. My Lord delivered me from gambling. That’s a very bad disease. As bad as an alcoholic, a heroin addict.”
Through a period of time and reading the Bible, Pirrello quit gambling and started doing ministry work speaking at churches.
As an evangelist, he worked at jails, youth detention centers and with people who had drug addictions. He said, “I felt the Lord calling me there. I did that for many years.”
Pirrello also worked as a motivational speaker for almost 20 years before becoming a pastor.
“It’s been a trip, that’s for sure,” he said. “I could have never planned it. The Lord chooses people you don’t expect. When you’re called to be a pastor, it’s not something you choose.”
When Pirrello first started as pastor at the Budd Lake Church, there were only 25 people attending. Now there are 100.
At the 100-year-old church, the goal is to meet the needs of the community as best as they can. During the holiday season, around Thanksgiving, they purchase ShopRite gift cards for about 100 needy people in the town.
Pirrello said, “They go to the health department. They distribute the cards to people who come in who are needy.”
The gift cards are a way to help those who are less fortunate with not just food, but toiletries and detergents.
Pirrello said, “People have lost their jobs. It’s hard. A lot of people are going to the food pantry and the town hall. You have people who were giving and are now in the position where they need it. And they have children. No one should be embarrassed. I’ve been through difficult times. We have to have compassion for people. They don’t plan it that way. It’s something that is near and dear to our heart as a church to provide for those who are in need. That’s the ministry; you minister to people.”
For the near future, Pirrello said the church is planning a program for people who aren’t working. He said, “When a person hasn’t been working for a while, they start to lose confidence. They forget what is involved in the process. I’m hoping to put together a program to benefit those people. To get on their feet again. That’s what Jesus would want. That’s what we want to do.”
Budd Chapel services are held on Sunday at 10 a.m. followed by a time for coffee and fellowship.
For more information on the Budd Lake Chapel, visit: https://buddlakechapel.com/.