Short Bio for J. Paul Reno
Paul was born to John and “Bobbie” Reno on February 6, 1944 in Erie, PA. The story is told that the snow was as deep as the second story windows of their house when they brought him home.
Paul, was in the course of 8 years, joined by four brothers: Norman, Loren, Lee and Bill. He lived, with his family, on Long Island at Stoney Brook School for Boys where his father taught for a number of years. After this they moved to Patchogue where his father pastored the Baptist church. It was during this time, at the age of 6, that Paul was saved.
When the Baptists bought the Cedarville College campus in Cedarville, OH the family moved so that his father could help in the founding of the college. Paul was a fifth grader at the time.
In the Fall of Paul’s 7th grade he and his father were stricken with polio and hospitalized in Dayton, Ohio for several months, arriving home the day before Christmas. Through much hard work, pain and determination he not only learned to walk again and to feed himself, but went on to run track in college. Another physical trial Paul faced as a young man was losing the sight in his left eye as an 8th grader.
College years were exceedingly busy as he worked his way through, but not too busy to become engaged to Carolyn Coppock when they were juniors. Upon graduation they married and settled in Xenia, OH to teach school.
Early in their marriage the Lord called Paul into the ministry. He served as Associate Pastor of Calvary Brethren Church in Kettering, OH for perhaps 2 years before taking the pastorate of a small church in Sinking Spring, OH. The family moved and it was necessary for Paul to teach school the first 3 years of his ministry there as the church was unable to support him full time. The final year of serving the Lord there he was supported, though minimally, full time.
In 1972 the Lord called Paul with his young family of two little girls (Laura and Robynn) to move to Hagerstown, MD and take the pastorate of Gay Street Brethren Church. He served there 5 years and was blessed to add his first son, John, to the family before the Lord called him to separate from the Grace Brethren movement due to several compromises in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.
In August of 1977 he was led to start Bible Brethren Church, an independent mission-focused church in a rented firehall in Hagerstown. By late spring of 1978 a small chapel had been purchased and things were a bit more solid for the young church’s beginning.
Forty-one plus years later we continue as a church in another building but very similar to the roots of 1977. Earlier this year Paul passed 50 years in the Gospel ministry, — weathered despite various trials and health crises. The past 15+ years he has been legally blind, but his spiritual sight has deepened and increased. Many writings are published, either professionally or from his own printer in the basement of his home. To God be all the glory, great things He hath done!