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Page 2 CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bethel Baptist Church 125 State Route 125 – Henderson 731-989-3325 Affiliation:

Southern Baptist Convention Madison-Chester Association Paul E. Roaten

Pastor: Worship Services

Sunday School 9:45 a.m. Sunday Morning Worship 11 a.m. Sunday Evening Worship 6 a.m. Wednesday Prayer Meeting 7 p.m. Children’s activities: Children’s Worship, Children’s Choir, Bible Study, Bible Drills, Mission studies and mission projects, Vacation Bible School. Youth Activities: Bible Study, Bible Drills, Mission studies and mission projects, Project ACTS, Vacation Bible School Women’s Ministry: Mission studies and mission projects, discipleship training through conferences.

A brief history of Bethel Baptist Church 1847 - Church began in a log cabin about a half mile east of present site as “New Salem Baptist Church” 1867 - A new log cabin was built about 50 yards east of the present location and name was changed to “Bethel Baptist Church.” The building served for the church, a community center and school until the 1890s. 1890 - A frame building replaced the log cabin. 1930 - In August, construction was completed on a new frame building and by August 1931, the church was debt free on the construction. 1931 - August, the church became a part of the Madison-Chester Association of Baptist. Prior to that time, it had been a part of Unity Baptist Association until that disbanded in 1943. 1965 - The church called its first full-time pastor, Bro. J.H. Patterson, having held part-time services before that time. 1990 - The frame structure was destroyed by fire. 1991 - The current brick structure was completed debt free. Now -The church counts around 400 total members. However, on around 100 of them, no information is available. Approximately 150 of the current membership are currently active.

Bethel Baptist Church Paul E. Roaten, 74, is the current pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, having served there for more than two years. He and his wife Betty Roaten have three children and five grandchildren. Roaten has a B.A. from Blue Mountain College, Blue Mountain, Miss. He also has a Master of Divinity Degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was born in Tupelo, Miss., and grew up in Houlka, Miss. He previously served at Pine Grove Baptist Church, and Mount Olive Baptist Church, both of Ripley, Miss.; Vieux Carre Baptist Church, in the French Quarter of New Orleans; Temple Heights Baptist Church, Oxford, Miss.; and Ethel Baptist Church, Ethel, Miss. Roaten was also a missionary to Uruguay in South America from 1970-89; as well as Missionary, Director of Hope Migrant Center, Hope, Ark. from 1991-2002. “Because of the teachings of the Bible about the Lord, I have put my faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord,” stated Roaten. “My faith has taught me to believe that Jesus Christ was a real person here on the earth at one point and that he died on the cross of Calvary for my sin, was buried, and then rose from the grave that I might have eternal life through believing (having Faith) in him.” Roaten does not feel he has a “job,” but rather a calling which he says he received from the Lord more than 50 years ago when he realized that God was calling him to preach his word. “It is a very humbling experience for God to lead me in preparation and then the delivery of his message to a congregation,” said Roaten. “I always remember that it is not ‘my’ message, rather it is ‘his’ message he has given me the privilege of sharing. “I feel what I do is what God has called me to do,” he continued. “There are many wonderful things I love about my calling, but I believe the high point would be sharing his message of salvation to individuals or congregations and seeing someone accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then seeing them baptized into the membership of a local church where they have the opportunity to learn all about God himself through Bible study and preaching and God’s Word. I also love very much the joy of fellowship with other believers. Roaten concluded by stating again, “I believe that I did not choose this ministry, rather that God chose me and gave me the awesome privilege of participating in his kingdom work.”


CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012 Page 3

Antioch Baptist Church 3415 Wilson School Road, Henderson 731-989-9042 Affiliation: Pastor: Worship Services Sunday School Sunday Worship Wednesday nights Fellowship Devotion Bible Study

Southern Baptist Madison-Chester Association Bro. Charles Ward

9 a.m. 10:45 a.m. 5 p.m. 6 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 7 p.m.

Nursery provided Sunday mornings. Children’s Church Sunday mornings. Adult/Children/Youth classes (Bible Study) Wednesday nights. Outreach in the community and benevolent services as needed.

A brief history of Antioch Baptist Church Antioch Baptist Church was founded on the first Sunday in March, 1954. Dr. R.E. Guy helped organize and form Antioch, and also served as their pastor. Prior to this, Antioch’s roots were planted as a mission church at the Wilson School house and Rev. R.L. Newman guided them for two and half years. The men in the church and volunteers from the Pinson and Henderson Baptist Churches erected the structure. Lavoyd Hailey did the electrical work, Otis Covington donated the land and one of Antioch’s current deacons, Billy Jack Sherrill, helped with the carpentry work. Mrs. Raymond Vantreese, Mrs. Eugene Turner and Mrs. Willie Mae Hailey assisted with the Sunday School and VBS classes. Much prayer went in to Antioch’s formation and construction.

Antioch Baptist Church Charles L. Ward, 77, is pastor of Antioch Baptist Church. He and wife Barbara have four children, Steve, Victor, Tina and Kenny; 12 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. Ward’s hometown is Kevil, Ky., and he graduated from Heath High School in Paducah. He has served as Antioch’s pastor for 14 years, with 25 years total in the ministry. He is pastor at Antioch but also a member of First Baptist and Sanford Hill. His hobbies are fishing and gardening. Ward says his faith has led him into the greatest relationship with Jesus Christ that he could ever imagine. He said that he has served in every position in the Baptist Church except leading music. He has led several lay witness weekends, lay revivals, and has trained at Brentwood through the Brotherhood Department. He has also served as Brotherhood Director in Madison-Chester Association. “My greatest teacher has been and is God the Holy Spirit,” he said. “My job gives me the opportunity to serve God as his servant and do his work that he has called me into,” said Ward.

CHARLES L. WARD According to Ward, his profession “keeps my life in an everyday dependence on Christ. For without him I’m nothing. Being a pastor you are serving God and his people 24-hours a day every day, as well as reaching out to others and being a witness.” “I didn’t choose this profession,” Ward concluded. “He (God) called me. I answered the call. God has always been with me and always will be.”


Page 4 CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012

About Church of Christ at Church Street Larry Ivery is one of the Elders of Church of Christ at Church Street. Ivery has served the church for seven years, and previously served at Oak Grove Church of Christ. He and wife Dianne have three children: Tony, Toneal and Keisha. Ivery, who has a doctorate in ministry, is originally from Dayton, Ohio. “My faith is very important to me,” said Ivery. “It’s the guide for my daily living, for my relationships and for my future both here on earth and into eternity. Because of my relationship with God I really enjoy living.” Ivery said ministry is not really a

job, but a calling, and that he did not choose it as a profession, but that God chose him. He is also involved with the ministry at Tennessee Children’s Home, and assists in the preaching at the Church of Christ at Church Street. “These areas of service mean that God grants me an opportunity to assist people in times of need,” he said. “I have the opportunity to share my life of faith with others who need to either develop a faith or deepen their faith in Christ. “I like to see lives changing for the better,” Ivery continued. “Everyone that God grants me to cross paths with does not accept

Church of Christ at Church Street 526 North Church Street Services Sunday School Worship Sunday evening Wednesday Bible Study

8 a.m. 9 a.m. 5 p.m. 6:30 p.m.

Programs Home Bible Studies, Pre-Marital counseling, Benevolence, Bible correspondence courses. the salvation that God gives better because of the time we through Christ, but each life is the spend together.”


CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012 Page 5


Page 6 CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012

Faith Baptist Church 2445 Enville Road, Henderson 731-989-9595 Affiliation: Pastor:

Baptist Rick Babin

Worship Services Sunday: Sunday School Morning Worship Evening Worship Wednesday Bible Study/Prayer

9:45 a.m. 11 a.m. 6 p.m. 7 p.m.

Sunday School classes for all ages. Nursery provided Sunday morning, Wednesday, birth to 3 years. Children’s Church 3 years to kindergarten. Wednesday nights: Bible classes for preschool, by grades through senior in high school, Young Adult Bible Study for high school graduate to age 25, and Adult Bible Study. Local Mission: Faith, Hope and Love Food Distribution and The Dream Center of Jackson. Foreign Mission: RVA Academy – Africa Inland Missions, and Samaritan’s Purse. Children’s Activities: Sunday School, Wednesday Bible Classes, Vacation Bible School, Yearly Camp, Monthly Events, Choir, etc. Youth Activities: Sunday School, Wednesday Bible Study, Yearly Camp, YEC, Monthly Events, See You at the Pole, etc. Young Adult Activities: Sunday School, Wednesday Bible Study, Monthly Events, etc. Adult Activities: Four Sunday School Classes, Wednesday Bible Study, Monthly Fellowships, etc. Senior Adult Activities: Sunday School, Wednesday Bible Study, Monthly Fellowships, etc.

A brief history of Faith Baptist Church Founded Feb. 7, 1982. We are excited about our 30th anniversary this year! And in that 30 years, we are blessed to have retained some of our original charter members. It is such a blessing to be able to offer hope, joy, and the love of Jesus to the community now for these 30 years! Mission Statement: Faith Baptist Church exists to tell, touch, and teach our church, our community, and the world about Jesus Christ in word and in action. Motto: Answering the call!

Faith Baptist Church Rick Babin, 36, is pastor of Faith Baptist Church where he has served for four and half years. He and wife Lori have a daughter Alexa, and son Austin. Babin is originally from Merryville, La. He previously served at Canaan Baptist Church, Columbus, Miss. His hobbies include reading, sports, and spending time with his family. “My faith means everything to me!” said Babin. “I am amazed that God would even notice me, let alone save me and call me to be a pastor to His precious people. It is such a blessing to be His child and know that nothing can separate me from His love! “I like the opportunity to teach absolute truth to people from God's Holy Word, which enables them to recognize the false teachings that this world may offer. I also truly enjoy getting to know people and investing my life into their lives so I can earn the right to share the greatest thing that has happened to me, which is my relationship with Jesus Christ. “I do not view this opportunity as a

RICK BABIN ‘job.’ I look at it as a lifestyle-calling God is allowing me to live. I love to see Christ revealed through people, which will help change this world by sharing his love, his hope, and his joy with everyone. So, I make it my goal in life to bring glory and honor to God by preaching the Gospel truth, which helps others learn about him, turn to him, believe in him, and live a surrendered life for him.”


CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012 Page 7

Friendship Baptist Church 720 New Friendship Road, Beech Bluff 731-983-0772 Affiliation:

Baptist Southern Baptist Convention Tennessee Baptist Convention Madison-Chester Baptist Association

Pastor:

Ronnie Sells

Worship Services Sunday School Sunday Worship Discipleship Training Evening Worship Wednesday Prayer Meeting

9:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m. 5:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 7 p.m.

Nursery provided during morning worship Children’s Outreach during morning worship

A brief history of Friendship Baptist Church The Church of Friendship was formed upon a land grant of seven acres signed by governor N.L. Brown in 1946. Formed by Elders William Lea and Reuben Day when letters of dismission from United Baptist Church were presented by Deacon George J. Hunt, Samuel Bray, Mary Bray, and Thomas McGill. The first trustees were A.K. Jones, G.I. Hunt, and J.W. York The church was founded upon the Articles of Faith and the Rules of Decorum. The first meeting was on the first Lord’s Day in September 1846 and received members by experience and baptism. The first church was a log building about 30 square feet with one door and two windows. Soon 20 feet was added from old lumber. The second building was erected in 1905 and is included in the current building. The old bell tower has been replaced by a new steeple and the bell placed on grounds to once again be rung to announce Sunday morning services. Sunday School was organized in 1849. Discipleship training in 1957, Vacation Bible School in 1958, WMU in 1960, Wednesday Night Prayer Service in 1961, and the van ministry in 1993. The cemetery is on church grounds with the upkeep being by donations only. A trust fund was established in 1975 with only the interest being used for the upkeep of the cemetery. This assures graves will always be maintained. Any person may make donations. A committee is in charge and reports to the church.

What they believe Friendship Baptist Church is a Bible believing, Christ Honoring church. We believe that Jesus Christ is the virgin born, sinless Son of God who died on the cross for our sins; was buried and rose again the third day. We believe the great commission to go into all the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe all who repent of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord will be saved.

Friendship Baptist Church Friendship Baptist Church is a Bible believing, Christ honoring church. We believe that Jesus Christ is the virgin born, sinless Son of God who died on the cross for our sins; was buried and rose again the third day. We believe the great commission to go into all the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe all who repent of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord will be saved. Ronnie Sells, 61, is the pastor. He and wife Eulena have three children and five grandchildren. Ronnie Sells has a B.S. from Union University, and a M.Th. from Citadel Baptist Seminary. Originally from Memphis, Sells has been pastor at Friendship for 11 years. He previously served EULENA AND RONNIE SELLS churches at Lakeview in Selmer, Sells’ job is about impacting people’s New Bethel in Middleton, First in Crump, and Essary Springs in Pocahontas. His lives for their ultimate good and God’s glory. It means sharing the good news of only hobby is walking. “My faith means Life to me,” said Sells. Jesus Christ and his saving works. “My profession allows me to follow “Life that is abundant with hope, joy, purpose, and peace of old. Life that is ever- God’s plan for my life. It allows me to lasting with the Lord Jesus, the Saint, in experience that impact God’s Word has in peoples’ lives." Heaven.”


Page 8 CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grace Baptist Church 1202 Hwy 45 Bypass - Henderson 731-989-3332 Affiliation: Pastor: Website: Facebook:

Southern Baptist Eric Martin www.gracepinson.org www.memaetiwblog.wordpress.com

Worship Services Sunday School Sunday Morning Worship Sunday Evening Service Wednesday Midweek Service

9 a.m. 10 a.m. 6 p.m. 6:30 p.m.

Nursery provided during all services Wednesday night fellowship meal (twice monthly) Children’s / Youth Ministry Men of Grace – Men’s Ministry Women of Grace – Women’s Ministry

PASTOR ERIC MARTIN AND FAMILY OF GRACE BAPTIST.

Grace Baptist Church, 1202 Hwy 45 Bypass in Henderson, is led by Pastor Eric Martin, 35. Martin and his wife of 11 years, Sarah, have two children, Aubrey 6, and Elijah 2½. They have been with Grace Baptist since 2009. Martin is originally from Cordova. He received his B.A. from Union University in 1998, and currently is working on a master’s degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Martin previously was associated with First Baptist Church of Henderson, Union Grove Baptist Church of Beech Bluff, and Wildersville Baptist. His hobbies include hiking, camping, writing, and spending time with his family. “My faith in Jesus Christ is everything,” Martin said. “Christ is the most important relationship I have. He is my Savior and Lord. He died for me, therefore I live for him.”

Martin said being pastor at Grace Baptist is not a job, but a joy. “I love people,” he said. “I want to see people become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. I want to see people experience Jesus Christ in a very real and personal way.” Martin said there are many things he enjoys about being a pastor, including shepherding the flock of believers at Grace. “I enjoy teaching God’s word and watching it take root and blossom in the life of our congregation. Most importantly, I enjoy serving the Lord, and delighting in him. “I did not choose this profession, rather God called me. I am overwhelmingly honored that the Lord saw fit to somehow use someone as flawed as myself as a pastor of a local church. I love my calling, and am honored to serve God in this capacity.”


CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012 Page 9

Plainview Church of Christ Plainview Church of Christ Contacts:

Andy Maness, 731-989-2792 Paul Watson, 731-879-6969 Pat Evans, 731-879-6330

Preacher:

David Lynch

Worship Services Sunday Morning Bible Study Sunday Worship Service Sunday Evening Bible Study Wednesday Evening Worship

10 a.m. 11 a.m. 5 p.m. 7 p.m.

Programs Outreach Africa (Malawi) – Terry Pittman Bush Master’s Mission

A brief history of Plainview Church of Christ The building was originally a school and church for many years, but is now a church only. It was established in 1908. Bro. N.B. Hardeman said of Plainview, “It is the garden spot of the world.”

David Lynch, 52, is the preacher at Plainview Church of Christ. He and his wife Pam have four daughters: Candice, April, Brittany, and Brandi; and four grandchildren: Thomas, Colby, Gabby, and Gavin. Lynch has a B.S. in Bible, and a Master’s in counseling. He is a graduate of East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions. He has been at Plainview for 12 years, and previously preached at Eastview Church of Christ near Selmer. His hobbies include playing chess. “My faith keeps me going,” said Lynch. “In this troubled world, knowing that there is a loving God who sent His Son Jesus to save me. And as the Bible says, ‘For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. (Eph. 2:8) Lynch said his job as preacher at Plainview means he has a responsibility to God whom he preaches for, and a responsibility to his fellow man whom he preaches to. “For both I must stay true to the Word of God and preach the truth in love,” he said. “I am able to work with some of the

DAVID LYNCH greatest people in the world, God’s people,” Lynch continued. “The congregation at Plainview is filled with genuine, kind, friendly and loving Christians.” Lynch said that in some ways his profession ‘chose him.’ “I can’t imagine not being a preacher. As a friend of mine once said, ‘If I had a thousand lives to live, I’d want to be a preacher in all of them.”


Page 10 CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012

Henderson Assembly of God

1203 US Hwy 45 North, Henderson 731-989-5228 Affiliation: Pastor:

Assembly of God Rick Seaton

Worship Services Sunday Worship Sunday Evening Worship Wednesday

10:30 a.m. 6 p.m. 7 p.m.

Youth meet Sunday at 6 p.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m. for ages seventh-grade through twelfth-grade. Children meet at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, and 7 p.m. Wednesday, for ages 3 through 12. A nursery is provided for all services.

Rick Seaton, 51, is pastor of Henderson Assembly of God. His family includes his wife Susan, Haley, 19, and Alex and Erin (Clayton) Seaton, both 21. Seaton is originally from Memphis, and has a B.A. degree in communications from Memphis State University (’84), as well as Berean/Global University (’07). He is licensed and ordained with the Assembly of God. Seaton has been with Henderson Assembly of God for 11 years, with 22 total years in the ministry. Previously he has served in churches in youth ministry, associate/pastoral care, and lead pastor. Golf is his chief hobby. Henderson Assembly of God will introduce you to a relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ. Church is a spiritual place where your spiritual relationship with God and your physical relationship with friends can grow. It is a place where families of all ages can come and receive life-changing information at their specific stages in their lives. Faith means everything. We all have faith. We have faith in our family, friends, government (sometimes) and jobs. It can be a simple, child-like faith or a deep, theological faith. But everybody believes in something even if it’s nothing, which is something. Faith is that thing we hold on to when there is nothing else to grab hold of. It’s the rock to anchor to when the wind of life blows so hard we can’t stand up. It’s the knowledge you have that everything is going to be all right even when nothing makes sense. Faith is the seed in the ground that you know is there but you have no proof that it’s doing anything underground because you can’t see it growing. Then one day, that seed bursts through the ground, proving what you knew all along, that there was life in that seed. Our faith is in the person of Jesus Christ. It’s not in men or in a religious institution. There are times when it’s hard to trust, but you simply choose to believe. No tricks. No gimmicks. You choose to believe. When you do, your faith will be rewarded! If you are looking for a place where your faith can grow, come visit us!

A brief history of Henderson Assembly of God Henderson Assembly of God, formerly known as First Assembly of God, began in the late 1970s from a tent revival. The church started with a congregation in a store front downtown and moved to a little white house on the property where the church now sits. The congregation built a building behind the church used for daycare. That building today is used for ministry to youth and for church fellowships. The church building has gone through several renovations over the years, mostly inside, to keep up with current styles and technology.


CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012 Page 11

A brief history of the Henderson Church of Christ Approximately 75 people met in the Chester County Court House and formed the first congregation of the Henderson Church of Christ in January of 1903. A. G. Freed and A. M. St. John were named as the first elders. N. B. Hardeman and A. G. Freed shared preaching assignments for the new congregation. A few months later a meeting house for the church was constructed. A. M. St. John, J. G. Hardeman, J. A. Ward, A. G. Freed and W. T. Hardeman were trustees. Dr. John B. Hardeman, father of N. B. Hardeman, gave a building lot on the corner of Crook Avenue and Second Street for the meeting house to be built. It was a rather small, beautiful white structure, furnished with walnut pews and a baptistery under the stage. By the mid-20’s the congregation had outgrown the building and began holding worship services in the Freed-Hardeman College auditorium. The building on Crook Avenue was used periodically for small group meetings. Use of the college facilities enabled the congregation to have Sunday School classes. Unfortunately, the church building burned on Nov. 11, 1933. Bible instructors from the college were regularly employed to preach for the Henderson Church from 1903 until the early 30's. Hall L. Calhoun preached the entire year 1925-26 and T. B. Larimore also preached a full year. Among the wellknown ministers who preached many times for the Henderson congregation in the first 30 years were A. G. Freed, N. B. Hardeman, L . L. Brigance. W. H. Owen, E. A. Eiam, J. D. Tant, Foy E. Wallace, Jr., T. Q. Martin, C. P. Roland and W. C. Hall. Plans for a new building began in early 1944. Members of the Board of Trustees included J. A. Ward, D. E. Mitchell, W. B .Powers, Algie Smith and Dr. W. 0. Baird. Elders in the period from 1930 to 1950 were K. D. Lowrance, George Roberts, I. N. Roland, J. G. Hardeman, S. C. Malone, Worth Powers, C. P. Roland, Gordon Reid and Tom Williams. The building committee chosen in September 1947 included N. B. Hardeman, D. E. Mitchell, Dr. W. O. Baird, Henry Johnson and C. P. Roland. Henry Johnson and son, Raymond were selected as the building contractors. This

240 White Ave. Henderson 731-989-5161 Services: Sunday Bible Class Sunday Worship

9 a.m. 8 a.m. 10 a.m. 5 p.m. Wednesday 5:45 p.m. 7 p.m.

building, located on White Avenue and which the church now occupies, was completed in 1949. On the third Sunday in April, Bro. N. B. Hardeman preached the first sermon. In 1934 R. E. Henson preached full time and remained until 1937. Between 1937 and 1948 N. B. Hardeman, W. C. Hall, L. L. Brigance, and C. P. Roland each preached one Sunday a month. In 1948 Jim Cope began preaching full time. Other preachers who followed were B. B. James, 1950-55; Paul Simon, 1955-56; Jess Wilcoxson 1956-60; C. W. Whitten, 1961-66; Elvis Huffard 1966-67; (H. A. Dixon shared with Huffard during the fall of 1966); Phil Hefley, 1968-75; Max Patterson 1976-87; Ben S. Flatt, 19872005; Alan Highers, 2001-2005; Daniel Hope, June 2005-October 2010; July 2007-June 2010, Justin Gerhardt, outreach minister and educational director. The current ministers are Roy Sharp and Billy Smith. Doug Yates began work with the congregation June 1, 2011, as Associate Minster. Over the years young men have worked in a training program as assistant ministers, especially working with our youth. Among this group are Roger Coffman, Harold Neal, Billy Smith, Gary Hampton, Glen Colley, Dwight Robards, David Powell, Frank Belliszi and Bryan Maynard. Others who have served as elders include Lattie Averitt, Robert Darnall, John R. Hall, John W. Johnson, Wayne Bulliner, Reeder Oldham, James Williams, Robert Witt, H. C. Christopher, Charles Miller, John Rickard, Ray Nelson, David Magee, Jess Wilcoxson, Joe Hardin, Larry McKenzie, and John Adams.

Artist rendition of proposed new auditorium of Henderson Church of Christ.

Serving at present are Larry Bloomingburg, Ron Butterfield, Larry Gilliam, Mike McCutchen, Gary McKnight, Barry Smith, Charles Smith, Keith Smith, John Sweeney and David Willis. The current building was completed in 1949. In 1958 an annex was added on the south side, increasing the seating capacity of the auditorium to 825 and adding classrooms in the basement. In 1967 the adjoining Johnson property was purchased and is now used for parking. In 1981 an educational building was constructed on the east side of the main building for classrooms; it also serves as a fellowship area. More parking space and needed equipment have been added in the past few years. In 1995 a new activity center was completed giving additional space

for offices, classrooms and fellowship, as well as providing a recreational area. The lot across Second Street was purchased in 1997. Remodeling of the basement classrooms was completed in 1998. Two additional pieces of property were purchased in 1999 on Hill Avenue adjoining the Second Street property. Work began to enclose the area between the Main Building and Education Building in September 2002. The new area, called the Commons, was completed in the spring of 2003. Plans are being finalized to renovate the existing facility and add a new auditorium that will provide a seating capacity of over one thousand. Ground breaking for the new addition is expected in the near future.


Page 12 CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012

Faith: Far more than an opiate By Ronnie McBrayer Keeping the Faith

I am sometimes suspicious of how we employ our faith. Don’t get me wrong, faith is important to me, and I have given my life to it. But sometimes I treat my faith like it is a medicine cabinet or a pharmaceutical, going to it only when something is wrong, or if I am looking for a quick remedy. “My head hurts,” so I go to the medicine cabinet looking for a pain reliever. “I have a stomach ache,” so I reach in for a spiritual antacid. “I feel so uncertain,” so I explore my therapeutic options. “I’m feeling a bit anxious,” so I look for something that will serve as divine Prozac. Certainly I am not the only one who does this – it is a common practice – and I’m not the only one to make this observation. Strangely enough (strange because rarely does a Christian writer reference this man), it was Karl Marx who popularized this view, and this analogy would be incomplete without referring to his legendary quote. Marx said, “Religion is the opiate

of the people,” and it appears he understood the medicinal, tranquilizing effects of religious faith fairly well. Now, before you write that letter to the editor or attempt to get your pound of flesh from this simple columnist, understand that I am no Marxist – not even close – I detest anything that smacks of coercion. But that doesn’t mean that some of Marx’s observations about religion were incorrect, even if his means of modification were suspect. Marx felt that religious faith did very little to actually help people. Rather than drilling down to the source of a person’s trouble, he claimed that religion only treated that person’s symptoms. It was a barbiturate that had a numbing influence, instead of resulting in empowerment. Faith in God, according to Marx, keeps the believer trapped in his or her current state, incapacitated, and prevents him or her from experiencing real, personal, substantial change. In short, Marx criticized the false relief that faith can bring – false because nothing ever really changes – and I find it difficult to

Interfaith weddings may require compromise Faith plays an important role in many people's lives, perhaps even more so when it comes time to celebrate a wedding. However, couples who do not share the same faith may have to make some compromises. Although romantic feelings may transcend faith, heritage and other factors that make people so different, individuals who are quite religious often find that there are some challenges to getting married to someone outside their own faith. Depending on the faith, some religions will not honor a wedding that does not conform to their strict guidelines for a

wedding within the faith. Oftentimes, this means that both participants need to have been raised according to the faith, including meeting certain religious milestones throughout their lives. For example, Catholics must have been baptized, received communion and been confirmed under the auspices of the Catholic Church before being allowed to marry. They must present official certificates of these sacraments in order to receive a religious Catholic wedding. Those of the Jewish faith may believe in a "bashert," a belief that everyone has a soul mate. According to the Talmud, 40

argue with his conclusion. The faith that is peddled by many pulpits today is little more than a sedative. It helps people to forget their pain and suffering, helps them sleep at night, and keeps them hanging on for next week’s dose of tranquility; but it does very little to move people to a place of growing, spiritual health. Thus, we can easily succeed in converting our faith into a first-aid kit, only turning to it when something hurts, and leaving it in the cabinet otherwise. Yes, when life hurts I want relief. Yet, the real power of faith is not its ability to magically stop our pain or to provide a fix to get us through a rough spot. Faith simply doesn’t remove our troubles and worries, offering bubble-gummed-flavored baby aspirin and cartooned-bandaids. Rather, faith offers us a new way to live, an opportunity to change our lifestyle. It does more than medicate our boo-boos or make us happy when we have been made sad. On the contrary, faith has the power to transforms us, to shape

and fit us for life, making us whole and well. It would do us and Marx well to hear some of the earliest words of Christian faith, written by the Apostle James. He said to some of the first believers, “My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? Faith that does not lead to change is a faith that is dead.” It is possible to find great inspiration in our faith; to be comforted, reassured, and soothed, that feeling that, yes, we believe all the right things. Yet, if such beliefs do not have transformative power in our lives, then we do not have faith at all. Instead, we are addicted to a spiritual tranquilizer that blinds us to the reality of our world and the renewal God seeks to produce in our lives. Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author. His books include “Leaving Religion, Following Jesus” and “The Jesus Tribe.” Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.

days before a male child is conceived a voice from heaven announces whose daughter he is going to marry. In Yiddish, this perfect match is called "bashert," a word meaning fate or destiny. The bashert is typically one who is also Jewish. To handle the intricacies of an interfaith marriage, it is wise to speak to clergy in your respective religions to see what will be required of you as a couple. There could be workarounds, depending on what the couple decides. Some couples feel it is in their best interest if either one of them converts to the other's religion so that the ceremony is easier. Others choose to hold two distinct religious ceremonies if the officiants

are lenient in their rules to allow it to happen. In other cases, couples feel it is better to have a non-denominational wedding to avoid any obstacles. Even though this ceremony will not be sanctioned by either church, the couple can still choose to include prayers and customs specific to their faiths in the ceremony. Many couples decide that their mutual love and happiness is reason enough for an interfaith wedding, even if that means sacrificing acceptance by their clergy and church. Interfaith couples should begin wedding planning early to discover what will be expected of them to have the wedding they desire.


CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, January 26, 2012 Page 13

Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church 3615 Talley Store Road, Henderson 731-989-3825 Affiliation: Cumberland Presbyterian Pastor: Marcus Hayes 731-989-8383 Worship Services Sunday School 10 a.m. Sunday Morning Worship 11 a.m. Services and Outreach: Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church is dedicated to living out the kingdom of God and making a difference within our community and our world. K.F.C. (Kids For Christ): K.F.C. is an exciting time of fellowship for children and their families which includes dinner, singing and dancing to exciting praise songs, an interactive faith lesson, and games. Youth of all ages are welcomed and their families are invited. K.F.C. will begin for Spring 2012 on Wednesday Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. and occurs every other proceeding Wednesday. MARCUS HAYES, JENNIFER Living Waters: Living Waters AND REX International is a global ministry that drills fresh water wells for communities and villages around the world that lack access to clean drinking water. In an effort to love those who are thirsty and give them something to drink, Oak Grove is committed to raising money for Living Waters. From selling cookies at the Barbeque Festival to collecting loose change, Oak Grove has done a number of activities to collect funds. Five thousand dollars will drill a well in South and Central America and currently Oak Grove has collected just under three thousand. Oak Grove is open to working with other churches, businesses, or individuals who want to join in on this difference-making effort.

A Brief History of Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church Founding: Exact Date not known, but we do know that the church was in existence as early as 1829. This is quite incredible considering that the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination began only 19 years earlier in 1810. In 1931 it moved to its present location when a fire destroyed the church building on a former site. Mrs. Mag Ingraham donated two acres for the building of the new church and for a new cemetery near the church. In the 1930s a new church building was built on the current site.

Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church Marcus Hayes, 26, is pastor of Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He and his wife Jennifer have a son, Rex. Hayes received a Bachelor of Science from Bethel College in 2008, and a Master’s of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary in 2011. He is a native of Nebo, Ky., and has been at Oak Grove for three years. Previously he served at Macedonia Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Dalton, Ky. His hobbies include rooting for the Kentucky Wildcats and getting his hands dirty in the garden. “My faith is a relationship which connects me to God, who is my creator, my redeemer, and my sustainer,” said Hayes. “Through faith I am able to have a relationship with the God of all creation and trust in Jesus Christ, who I believe to be God incarnate and the Lord and Savior of all. This relationship gives me life, purpose and renewal for my ever-present brokenness. “My faith informs me of God’s great love and grace for myself and all of humanity. Faith shows me that God is present and is at work bringing about salvation and renewal in our world. Thus, as I live a life of faith I strive to follow in the ways of the risen Christ by learning each day to love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself.”

As a pastor, Hayes sees himself as one who is called to communicate the presence of God to his congregation and community, and lead them in responding to God’s activity in their life. “I believe it to be my responsibility to empower people to worship and serve God and to give a faithful witness to the saving power of Jesus.” The people are what Hayes likes most about his profession. “I am able to serve and worship with some incredible people who are constantly teaching me about what it means to love God and one another,” said Hayes. “The community of people that we call the Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church, as well as those beyond our church fellowship, has taught me of the radical welcome and love of Jesus. This makes worshipping and serving in this context an absolute joy.” In conclusion, Hayes feels his profession called him. “I felt a calling into pastoral ministry as a teenager, but constantly resisted it. However, all I can say is that over time I fell in love with Jesus and began to embrace and desire the part of the Lord’s prayer that states: ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ As I desire to live out God’s will, and work for God’s kingdom, this is where I find myself. I must say, it’s not too bad of a place to be!”


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Independent Churches Of Chester County Special Section 2012