Every Sunday School Class has its Own Private Bath
Starting with just a few families 17 years ago, Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC, has grown into a dynamic, 2,000-member church. The congregation's expansion has always outpaced any plans to build a place to worship, so when the Crown Royale Hotel and Convention Center went bankrupt, Providence bought the facility and converted it into a church building. Services are held in the former convention hall, youth meet in what used to be the bar, and Sunday school classes convene in guest rooms, meaning they each have their own private bath.
Born Again Barn
They were growing out of the town hall where they were meeting, so the members of Ellington Baptist Church, near the New York-Pennsylvania border, went in search of a new building. They found it in the Rexford Dance Hall, a converted barn that has been born again into a Baptist church. Southern Baptist home missionaries Jerry and Janice Jones oversaw the renovations that included help from Baptists in Georgia, Alabama, Virginia and the Carolinas. Featured in Country magazine, Pastor Jones (pictured above) joked, "For a while, our motto was, 'Join the Baptist Church and learn a trade.'"
Association Contributes $75,000 to State Work
In an historic show of cooperation, the Central Association of the Maryland/Delaware convention gave $75,000 to the state convention for starting new works and strengthening churches through the two-state area. "It's the first time an association has gone beyond and looked at the larger geographic area," says Charles Barnes, Maryland/Delaware's executive director. In the picture above, Barnes is accepting a replica of the $75,000 check from Central representatives: Mike Trammel, pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church, Mt. Airy, MD, and Gary Granville, pastor of Northwest Baptist Church, Reisterstown, MD. To meet the growing needs in the Maryland/Delaware area, the convention is asking churches to contribute an additional $2.5-$5 million rather than cut back on its commitment to national SBC causes. Central Association's donation was the first step toward that goal.
Hell has More Fury than a 'Donahue' Audience
Southern Baptist youth pastor Phil Wilson, from Two Rivers Baptist Church, Nashville, TN, appeared on the Phil Donahue show to defend the church's Halloween-alternative production, "Judgment House." On the Donahue show, a Planned Parenthood official and a lesbian pastor opposed the church's production. "(The audience) directed venom at us for scaring teen-agers," Wilson notes. "But I said we weren't doing a 'Friday the 13th' thing; we were trying to give them life, hope and peace. We're giving them reality and showing people there is a heaven and a hell." Wilson said among objections from the audience were:
• "How could you tell someone they're dying and going to hell?"
• "How could you judge somebody?"
• "You're scaring people into making a decision (for Christ). What do you do after you scare them to death?"
Featured in the October 1994 issue of SBC LIFE, this marked the fourth year Two Rivers staged "Judgment House." This year's interactive, live-action production follows a girl who gets shot accidentally during an argument at a teen-age hangout. While she is in a coma, an angel takes the girl to visit hell and heaven, telling her she will end up in one place or the other — depending on whether she accepts Christ as Savior. The audience is left wondering what decision she makes. But during the final scene when Christ goes to the cross, the audience is invited to make the same choice. Almost 900 persons made public professions of faith during the three-week run.
Professor Wins Town Election
Daniel Heimbach, an ethics professor at Southeastern Seminary, was recently elected to the local town council in Wake Forest, NC. Heimbach, who served in the Bush White House prior to teaching at Southeastern, says his election is "an opportunity to provide professional leadership in the town," and to be salt and light to the community. "We must contribute and not just criticize," says Heimbach.