Lighthouse Ministries/Fisherman’s Network to Close

 Jane at micLighthouse Ministries of Franklin, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to Christian community ministry will be closing its operations after more than 20 years of serving Venango County.  Originally organized in 1996 for the purpose of bringing Christian radio to the area for the first time.  WAWN, 89.5 FM went on the air on Nov. 5, 1998.  A Board of Directors which included many influential community leaders such as the late, Pastor David Hampson, Attorney Bill Burwell, and Businessman David McCoy were part of the startup.  Three of the original Board still serving on the Board are Jackie Cokain, Treasurer, Jane Richey, Vice President and Diane Gramley.

Jane Richey was designated by Donald Wildmon, President of American Family Jane, Lee & Don AFR 2000Radio Network in Tupelo, MS, to be station manager and her husband, Lee Richey as station engineer; capacities they filled until October of 2010.  At that time the station was to remain on the air but AFR moved all programming and operations of all their stations to Tupelo, MS.  The recording studio was located in the old Matric building on Summit Drive in Franklin, and the transmitting tower on Bredinsburg Road.  Local on-air personalities included Aaron O’Neil, Todd Hart, Pastor Steve Henry, Pastor Frank Wolford and Rusty Dodds.  WAWN was the only self-supporting station of the nearly 200 AFR stations across the nation.  It is the only AFR station in Pennsylvania and reaches a 50-mile radius.  Over 30 local churches partnered together through Lighthouse Ministries to support this ministry.  WAWN was the only AFR station that was self-supporting and was the 172nd station to go on the air.

While Jane was a volunteer Station Manager, she was able to produce and program many local church announcements, a specialized Southern Gospel Hour and did a weekly interview program called “Looking Through the Community Window” which gave a voice to many community non-profits, County agencies and nationwide personalities.  Her guests included Dr. Peter Marshall, Jr., historian David Barton, Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann, and many other high-profile personalities.

One of the results of having the AFR station was a spin-off of initiating an AFA affiliate, AFA of PA, directed by Diane Gramley of Franklin.  She was influenced to become an AFA activist when she realized she could make a difference in her local school district issues.  She continues to be a pro-family voice for AFA in Pennsylvania and is well-known in Harrisburg and Washington circles.

Desiring to continue to service the churches in this area by promoting their events and offering administrative services, Fishermen’s Network was a new direction of service developed by Heather Mohnkern, Jane’s daughter and successor as Executive Director.  A database and network was established to enable churches to work together to sponsor community events, special speakers and communicate weekly through an e-newsletter.   This newsletter would allow churches to advertise their events free of charge to a large mailing list of Venango and surrounding counties.   In addition, Heather taught many computer classes to displaced workers and church staff.  In working together with the churches, Heather and Jane were able to be part of the startup of Mustard Seed Missions of Venango County in providing administrative services.  Subsequently, their successors as Executive Director were Eva Palmer and then more recently Pastor Joel Bell.

Lighthouse Ministries projects over the years have included a Worldview Jane, Kirk & Ray 2006Weekendin 2006, featuring Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort held at the Oil City High School auditorium.  In 2002 a County-wide revival service was held with speaker, Dr. Peter Marshall, Jr. that filled the Oil City High School auditorium and required closed circuit TV in the cafeteria to accommodate the large crowd.  Churches partnered together on National Day of Prayer events and to bring in concerts such as Keith & Krysten Getty in 2008, The Martins, Dallas Holm and JJ Jasper, AFR on-air personality.

Jane states “It’s truly been a God thing the whole way and I have seen the work of Lighthouse Ministries result in bringing unity to like-minded believers in a collective ministry.  It has truly been a pleasure and blessing to be a part of so many events, trainings and services to bless Christians of Venango County.”

As a final tribute to the community for the years of support, Lighthouse Ministries/Fishermen’s Network will sponsor Eric Horner in concert in Bandstand Park in Franklin, on Sunday, July 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm.  Eric toured the world playing with such artists as Lee Greenwood, Shania Twain, Wynonna Judd and Brad Paisley. In 2002, all of that changed. Eric began to feel a call on his life to return to his Gospel music roots and to use his talents for a higher purpose.  Today he ministers to thousands of soldiers preparing for deployment at military bases across the US and tours America leading worship services.  Eric has been to Franklin numerous times in partnership with Lighthouse Ministries and we welcome back Eric & Debbie Horner to celebrate what God has accomplished in this community and in our country.  The public is invited to bring their own chairs and join in the celebration of 20+ years of ministry.  A free-will offering will be received to contribute to the ministry of Eric Horner Ministries to the military.  In case of bad weather, the concert will be held at Franklin Alliance Church, 1200 Otter St., Franklin, PA.