Posted on Thu, Jun 16, 2011
Fellowship to be extended to First Free Will Baptist as they restore their Sanctuary
If you are like many, your heart sank as you passed by First Freewill Baptist Church this week. Their sanctuary steeple was struck by lightning , and they incurred quite a bit of fire, smoke and water damage to their worship center. This is so difficult, because so many strong emotions are tied to the Church - the place where children receive Christ and are baptised, the place where marriage ceremonies are performed, the place where we form life long friendships, and the place we say good bye to dear loved ones. We know the true "Church" is it's people, and no matter how much damage a building may recieve, where two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ, He is there also. The Lord said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church. Amen! The Church is His people!
Our pastor, Steve Stephenson experienced a very similar situation to what First Free Will is currently facing. Several years back, he watch the Sanctuary at his Church in Hillsville, Virginia go up in flames. This disaster brought out both the best in people and at some times, the worst, but the Church came through it all stronger in the end.
The following is the contents of an e-mail that went out to the New Hope Missionary Baptist congregation from Pastor Steve addressing what most agree is a great opportunity for both Churches during the rebuilding process for First Free Will Baptist:
"I am pleased to share the following information with you. Since the fire at First Freewill Baptist Church this past weekend many of you have asked me; “What can we do to help them?”
Well, I’ve talked to our deacons, our Sunday School teachers who have classes that meet in the Family Ministry Center and our children’s church leader and we feel led of God to extend an invitation to First Freewill to use the family ministry center for Sunday morning services while they repair their building. I believe this to a tremendous opportunity to show the love of God to our neighbors and to be a living example of the “Good Samaritan” here, today, in the twenty first century.
I am as concerned as anyone about the challenges these short term changes will bring. There certainly will be some, but in my mind and heart these challenges are overridden by our Lord’s command to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Let’s all join together this Sunday in welcoming our neighbors to New Hope. Remember this is a very difficult time for them and we will want to welcome them, encourage them and assist them in every way possible.
Dear church family, the great love you have for God and others is shining brightly and I praise God for you all always. It is truly a blessing to serve you."
New Hope will continue to hold it's worship services in the Sanctuary and relocate some Sunday School Classes into the two older buildings during this period. First Free Will Baptist will be holding their worship service as well as some Sunday School classes in the Family Ministry Center. As our Pastor has stated, their will be logistical obstacles to overcome, but we know that the body of Christ has overcome, and through trials, we become stronger and better able to serve and praise our Lord! Pray for First Free Will Baptist Church as they face and meet the challenges ahead of them in restoring their Sanctuary...God will do great things if we all keep our eyes on Him!
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