June 2019 CrossTie

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Cross ie


VOL 3 | ISSUE 6 | JUNE 2019

Sing and Serve Bahamas 2019 Youth Music and Missions Team

June 7-17

Please pray for our team who will be serving in the Abaco Islands. Patricia Adams Elizabeth Adams Lily Burton Chris Chandler Ainsley Caswell-Speight Madison Catoggio

Dora Lee Maddox Mullee Kenzie Newcomb-Thompson Ben Taylor Kathryn Taylor Kim Catoggio

Jeremy Colliver Heather Huff Monica Ramirez Leon Danny Vancil


AT SMOKE RISE VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL JULY 8 - 11 9:30 am - 12:30 pm register at





B e c k y C a s w e l l - S p ei gh t Minister to Families with Children rspeight@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0546


From the Pastor








Staffing Update



Jeremy Colliver Minister of Communications, Missions and Youth jcolliver@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0551 Kat hy D obbi n s Minister of Spiritual Formation kdobbins@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0548 Chris G e o r ge Senior Pastor cgeorge@smokerisebaptist.org 770.469.5856 Bart McNiel Associate Pastor bmcniel@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0540 Danny Va n c i l Minister of Music & Worship dvancil@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0560

facebook.com/ smokerise

10 Generosity 11

50 Years of Smoke Rise

12 Family Ministry 13



Monthly Snapshot

twitter.com/ smokerisebaptist.org SmokeRiseBC


Smoke Rise


Our 50th Anniversary Year has given us a reason to pause, expressing gratitude for those who have gone before us, even as we look to the future with confidence of God’s continued work among us. During this season of church life, we have similar feelings as we express thanks for the work and ministry of Rev. Kathy Dobbins and Mike Danishek among us and anticipate the next chapter at Smoke Rise Baptist Church.



Because we pledge to worship, learn, care, serve and give at Smoke Rise, the ministries and missions of our church remain strong. May God continue to bless our family of faith as we answer the call to be a generous people.



The Fellowship Hall was truly a multipurpose room; but it was appropriately named “Fellowship Hall” because of the fellowship that undergirded each and every activity that happened within its walls.

A B O UT S M O K E RIS E 5901 Hugh Howell Rd. Stone Mountain, GA 30087 Tel: 770.469.5856 Fax: 770.498.3598 Office Hours M-F 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Smoke Rise Baptist Church is a loving and caring faith community where people come to grow spiritually, worship communally and serve faithfully. We are committed to fostering authentic relationships and engaging in meaningful ministry in our congregation, our community and around the world. We partner with others in an effort to be about God’s work. We commit to love God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We seek to proclaim the Good News of Christ in all that we say and do.


FR O M T H E PASTO R CH RIS G E ORGE - Senior Pastor

Our 50th Anniversary year has given us a reason to pause, expressing gratitude for those who have gone before us, even as we look to the future with confidence of God’s continued work among us. During this season of church life, we have similar feelings as we express thanks for the work and ministry of Rev. Kathy Dobbins and Mike Danishek among us and anticipate the next chapter at Smoke Rise Baptist Church. I want to address any concerns which may arise during this time of staff transitions in order to be clear about our confidence moving forward as a congregation. First, and most importantly, our church remains firmly committed to the important work of Christian Education and Spiritual Formation. While many churches are embracing a model that is centered solely upon the “worship experience,” Smoke Rise will continue to emphasize the importance of coupling meaningful worship with faith formation for people of all ages. Jesus' calling to go and “make disciples” requires us to engage together in exploration and learning, seeking to grow deeper in our faith commitments. Smoke Rise is blessed with a strong Sunday school program filled with capable teachers who constantly challenge us to cultivate and nurture our spiritual lives. Wednesday Night Journeys programs and small group studies provide a new perspective on the scriptures and encourages our members to rediscover the Bible. Becky Caswell-Speight will assume the new title of Minister of Faith Formation, Connections, and Children, continuing her essential work among the children of our congregation but expanding her role to help facilitate spiritual formation opportunities throughout the congregation. In Bart’s Column on the Connecting Page, you can learn more about Becky’s new roles in this next chapter. Our church is also committed to providing quality worship experiences through ensuring excellent sound quality in the sanctuary and exceptional streaming services to those worshipping at Park Springs and afar. We are not replacing Mike with a single individual, but we are seeking to build a team of people who will work with our sound and streaming. This new model will alleviate the pressure and stress that has been placed on a single person, providing a more sustainable system that will better position us for the future. We plan to hire multiple part-time staff members (interviews are being conducted), providing leadership to ensure not only maintenance of our existing systems, but dream about new ways we can more effectively utilize technology to reach into our congregation and community with the love of God. I look forward to introducing these new part-time staff members to you in the next issue of CrossTie. As we begin to write this new chapter, I want to strongly encourage you to pray about the part God may be calling you to play. Smoke Rise is a wonderful church with a capable staff; but our work as a church cannot happen without the help of the countless volunteers who give of their time, talents, and tithes to make this work possible. With gratitude for our rich history and heritage, I hope you will join me as we march together toward God’s good future, confident that Christ who began a good work in this place will be faithful to complete it.


WOR S H IP I N G AT S M OK E R I SE DA NNY VA NC IL - Minister of Music Dear Smoke Rise Family, I clearly remember when, at a deacon’s meeting a number of years ago, Dr. Bob Browning proposed to the deacons that the church adopt a sabbatical program for its full-time ministers. I thought then to myself, “That’s never going to happen!” There was a definite sense of angst in the air and understandably so. After all, there were several lay men and lay women present who had worked their entire careers without ever being offered such an opportunity. The idea of giving this amount of paid time away for an employee was a foreign concept to many, even though it had become a common practice in numerous congregations. Still, the term “sabbatical” is more often associated with a college or university setting, rather than a church setting. Well, that time has come — it is going to happen! As most of you know, I’m not very good when it comes to taking time off. However, I will confess that I am truly excited about this time of rest, renewal, research and re-energizing. Thank you, Bob Browning. Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Personnel Committee. And most of all, thank you, Smoke Rise family, for making this time of sabbath a reality. In a recent conversation with a group of our folks, one of them said, “I hope you have a restful time and will come back a completely new and changed individual.” Another replied, “That will be worth it all!” (Thank you, I think?) My “official” sabbatical is June 21-August 5. During my absence, you will be under the excellent leadership of four ordained ministers of music, all seminary graduates and all members of our Sanctuary Choir. Peggy Ray, Mike Holt, Naomi Walker and Marc Burcham will use their exceptional gifts to ensure that our music and worship ministry continue to glorify God. We are indeed a blessed people! My cup runneth over, Danny


GROW IN G AT S M O K E R I SE K ATHY D OBBIN S - Minister of Spiritual Formation “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” Dear Church Family, This familiar verse from Ecclesiastes has been on my mind for a while now. I have been in ministry for 27 years, 19 of which have been at Smoke Rise. Retirement will be quite a transition for me, but in many ways I look forward to a new chapter of life. These years at SRBC have been such a blessing. I have appreciated and valued your enthusiasm and support for my ministry and your willingness to be open to new ideas and learning that facilitates the spiritual journey. My ministry with you began on an icy Sunday in February when I was called to join the staff at Smoke Rise. I remember thinking that I could not have asked for a better match of my calling and ministry focus and the staffing need the church was desiring to fill. This journey together has led us to the exploration of the bible and spiritual practices, understanding the changing world around us, books that challenge us, the introduction of people of other faith groups, the formation of new Sunday school classes, and retreats that build community and faith, and even some events that are just for fun and fellowship. I can’t remember when I was “bitten” by the educator bug. People who have it will know what I mean by the description of feeling compelled to learn and to want to talk about and create groups and places that facilitate spiritual growth. While some people in seminary with me questioned why it was necessary to read the writings of the early church fathers, the great conflicts and schisms of church history, or sample the great theologians and their teachings, but I never did. My eyes were opened then to things I had never heard about before and that set me on a journey that has since continued. I realized through the years how learning without limits can powerfully influence ones faith and views of God and life. I believe this is a necessary part of growing spiritually. I have been grateful to be part of a church that values learning and that welcomes all people and their questions with grace and love. It has been said many times, life is a journey (my favorite metaphor). There is much to learn along the way – so keep on learning. I leave knowing that Smoke Rise has a blessed future with a most capable staff. I am most known for being seen with two things in my hands: my cup of green tea and the lighter that I use to light the candles in the sanctuary. Of the two of these, I’ll stay in possession of my tea mug, but I’ll bequeathe the “Bic” (I wish it were more dignified!) to Danny. This is just goodbye for a while . . . . . Kathy P.S. Somebody please snuff the candles! 6 | S MOKE RIS E BAPT IST.ORG

S ERVIN G ON M I S SI ON J E R E MY C OLLI V ER - Minister of Communications, Missions and Youth

Sending Laura Plate

On May 5th Smoke Rise Baptist Church had the wonderful gift of commissioning Laura Plate to serve as a summer missionary to Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. Laura is going to Crescent Hill as part of CBF’s missions program Student.Go. CBF hopes that “by serving with Student.Go, students will have the opportunity to discover their place within God’s mission to change the world. Through these experiences, students live out CBF Global Mission commitments within the contexts of global poverty, global migration, and the global church.” During her commissioning, Jeremy reminded Laura, and the congregation, that she does not go alone, but she goes as part of Smoke Rise Baptist Church and that we will support her through prayer and by cheering her on. Laura will be working with the children and Karen population at Crescent Hill Baptist Church.

Welcome Caroline Self

This summer we welcome Caroline Self as a summer missionary as part of CBF’s Student.Church program. Caroline’s home church is First Baptist Church Anderson in South Carolina, and is currently a Junior at Clemson University. During previous summers, Caroline has served with Passport Camps as part of the Passport Kids team. While serving here at Smoke Rise, Caroline will be serving with the children: going to Passport Kids, serving in VBS, helping with Wonderful Wednesdays, and teaching Sunday school. Caroline will be here at Smoke Rise from May 28th to July 31st and will be hosted by Judi Crutchfield. Caroline will conclude her summer at Selah Vie, an end-of-summer retreat that allows students “to pause” and reflect on how God has moved in their lives while serving during the summer before returning to school in the fall. Welcome Caroline as you see her serving at Smoke Rise.


STAFF I N G UP DATE On June 2, we will celebrate the ministry of Rev. Kathy Dobbins among us as she looks forward to her retirement beginning on July 1. As we prepare for Kathy’s departure, we continue to implement a new staffing structure. Our goal is to continue to provide support and care that honors our commitment to excellence in ministry even as we make necessary changes for the future. Rev. Becky Caswell-Speight is already preparing to assume a new role and title as Minister of Faith Formation, Connection and Children. “We have been planning and preparing for Becky’s new ministry role, and we are excited about what we are putting in place,” said Pastor Chris George. “Becky is working with a ministry coach and will continue to use this valuable resource in the coming year as she assumes her new ministry role. This is an exciting time for our church as we embrace change and renew our commitment to shared ministry and mission.” For many years, Becky has been the first pastor to nurture the youngest in our congregation as they discover what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Along with ministry support staff, wonderful volunteers, and a dedicated team of faithful Sunday school teachers and leaders in the church, Becky will continue to serve children and their families at Smoke Rise. In her new expanded role, Becky’s faith formation leadership will include a broader horizon aimed at nurturing and equipping life-long Christian learning and spiritual growth. Becky will coordinate with teachers and volunteers to equip Sunday school leadership. She will also collaborate with Rev. Bart McNiel and Dr. Chris George to plan midweek Journeys studies and other opportunities for learning that promote thoughtful Bible study, discipleship development, and spiritual growth. Connection ministries at Smoke Rise grows out of our commitment to make outreach a priority. Through connection ministries, we deepen our community outreach through relationship building, visibility and service. In her new role as Minister of Connection, Becky will collaborate and coordinate with our ministers, church staff, volunteers, and lay leaders to foster outreach to the community at large. Becky will continue to serve as a minister liaison to our Weekday School program and Smoke Rise Prep School. She will also continue to shepherd the extension of our outreach to families through after-school Shine Clubs and our “Connections” home fellowship group for families with children. Becky will also work closely with the Women’s Ministries Team at Smoke Rise to equip and promote the active fellowship, ministry, and community connection work of women in our congregation. “Smoke Rise is a wonderful church because over years of change and transition, our congregation never fails to renew its commitment to the ministry and mission we share,” said Bart McNiel, associate pastor. “It has been wonderful to witness the way our membership has embraced change, as our congregation came alongside Jeremy Colliver when he expanded his ministry roles last year; we look forward to Becky’s new ministry work among us. We are blessed to be part of a congregation that is willing to answer the call of the future with steadfast love and grace.” May God bless Becky as she enters a new season of ministry, and may God continue to bless our shared calling and labor of love as a family of faith.


CARIN G AT S M O KE R I SE BART McN IE L - Associate Pastor

Welcome New Members

Scotty Newcomb-Thompson April 14

Elaine Poole May 5

Summer sessions of a support group for caregivers of loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and all other types of dementia will meet on June 6, June 20 and July 18 at 2 pm at Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Room 223. The support group is led by a professional and compassionate facilitator. It is free and open to the community. Visitors interested in attending the support group should follow signs to the church office for directions to the meeting space.

CARD MINISTRY Sending personal cards to encourage and brighten the day

Brenda Dana April 28

Chris, Mandy, Layla, and Madeline Brown May 12

New Volunteer Ushers Needed Our usher teams for the 11am worship are in need of new volunteers to greet worshippers, hand out orders of service and help receive the offering. New volunteers will be asked to serve once each month with occasional requests to serve two Sundays when we have a "fifth Sunday" month. Because ushers rotate, it is a simple way to serve at our weekly worship and to get to know fellow church members. We are looking for volunteers with warm smiles and willing hearts. If you are interested in serving on one of our usher teams, please email Teri Moore at tmoore@smokerisebaptist.org or call the church office to leave contact information for an usher leader to get in touch with more details.


VISITATION Visiting members with smiles, prayers and personal touch GRIEF SUPPORT Supporting others after the loss of a loved one CAREGIVER SUPPORT Supporting caregivers for people suffering with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia NANCY’S HEART STITCHERS Sharing the warmth of Christian love with handmade quilts and blankets Contact Rev. Bart McNiel to volunteer to serve on a TouchPoint team.

G ENER O S I T Y With Gratitude for a Successful Pledge Drive We are grateful to our members for helping us "remember tomorrow" by pledging to give tithes and offerings in the fiscal year that began in April 2019. We are pleased to report that as of May 20, we have received pledges from 249 family units for a total pledged amount of $1,426,246.36. As a result, we have more than 22 new family units pledging this year over last year, and we have received $81,205.98 more dollars pledged than at the same time last year. Although our Remember Tomorrow pledge drive has come to an end, it is not too late to pledge your support through the remainder of the fiscal year. If you would like to pledge in this fiscal year, please contact Debbie Lloyd with our finance office to request a pledge card or to submit a pledge card you received previously by mail but have not yet returned to the office. As we honor our pledges in this 50th year of Smoke Rise Baptist Church, we do so with gratitude for what we have been given and with excitement about what lies ahead of us. Because we pledge to worship, learn, care, serve and give at Smoke Rise, the ministries and missions of our church remain strong. May God continue to bless our family of faith as we answer the call to be a generous people.

MONTH OF APRIL Amount Given $178,013.73

Amount Spent $185,246.52

Negative Balance ($7,232.79)

REFRESH REPORT Pledged $1,346,104.00

Received Current Balance $1,019,082.76 $249,396.51

FISCAL YEAR-TO-DATE (APRIL 1, 2019 - APRIL 30, 2019)

Amount Given $178,013.73

Amount Spent $185,246.52

Negative Balance ($7,232.79)



5 0 Y EA RS OF S M O K E R I SE The Fellowship Hall Hymns echoing off the walls, children’s voices ringing around the room, Dr. Gannon’s voice speaking truth from the pulpit, the sound of chairs being unfolded and set out, the silence of prayers uttered, the swoosh of a basketball going through the hoop, flatware clinking as it is set back down during a meal. All of these are sounds of fellowship and all were sounds that lived within the walls of Fellowship Hall. Smoke Rise Baptist Church was growing. It had grown from a core group with a dream who were worshiping at Smoke Rise Elementary School, to worshiping in the Chapel, to not having enough space for worshipers in the Chapel, to filling the Fellowship Hall on Sunday morning with worshipers from the community. Much of this growth was fueled by the growth of the Smoke Rise community: “The Smoke Rise Community was growing as fast as the builders could build homes.” “People were moving from inside 285 to outside 285, and many of them were settling their new lives around Smoke Rise.” “You would open the doors of the church on Sunday and new people who could come flooding in.” But people stayed at Smoke Rise Baptist Church because of what was happening in the appropriately named "Fellowship Hall". Members of Smoke Rise would bring out the tables and chairs as the men cooked the fellowship meal. Dr. Gannon was even out there flipping hamburgers on the grill. Then members of Smoke Rise would foldup the tables and chairs and stow them away while another group would roll out the basketball goals. Soon children and youth would be running around on the parkay floors bouncing balls and playing games. At times members of Smoke Rise would roll the basketball goals back and set-up folding chairs for worship on Sunday morning. The stage became the worship platform with the pulpit and risers. Members would set up and take down, flip the room, clean up and get ready; but through all of it there was one consistent thing: fellowship happened. The arched, laminate beams and wooden ceiling architecture weren’t the only things that were carried over from the Chapel. The spirit of Smoke Rise was carried into the Fellowship Hall: a spirit that was in the crosstie beams that were laid in the outdoor Verspers Circle, a spirit that built the chapel, a spirit that was in the sweat of setting and re-setting the Fellowship Hall. It is that spirit that is still palpable 50 years later. The Fellowship Hall was truly a multipurpose room; but it was appropriately named “Fellowship Hall” because of the fellowship that undergirded each and every activity that happened within its walls. -Jeremy Colliver 11 | SMOKE RISE BAPT IST.ORG

FA M ILY M I N I ST RY AT SM OK E R I SE Somewhere along the way, peeking around her mom while visiting in the clinic, or walking down the hall and grinning at each other, Edie Cate and I became friends. I think it was even before she entered kindergarten at Camp Creek. We have shyly gotten to know each other over the past few years. Those early smiles and waves have tuned into hugs and giggles. And now, I get joy from watching this sweet girl as she interacts with her friends and teachers. She is always kind and helpful to all she sees. She is often the one who accompanies other children to the clinic to visit me if they are hurt or sick. Her sweet spirit helps to calm their nerves at a time when they aren’t quite at their best. Her mom says that she is “a quiet observer and takes in all around her.” I have found that to be true with Edie Cate. While we have had few visits outside of school and church, she knows that I love and care for her, and am so proud of her. Whether she is sharing God’s love by being a good friend, singing, playing softball, or just telling a funny story, she is wonderful to be around. It doesn’t always take a lot of time to make friends with a child. They know when they are loved and cared about. You never know when a sweet, “quiet observer” is watching or what an impact you may have on them. I’m glad that Edie Cate is one of my special friends. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for this special girl. - Rita Bowers As we are away from one another this summer, be sure to take Jesus into the neighborhood with you. This summer, we want to encourage you to take your Flat Jesus with you to whatever exciting things you have planned. Each Wednesday throughout June and July, there will be a short devotional posted to Smoke Rise media to go along with Flat Jesus. Wherever Flat Jesus goes, be sure to take lots of pictures and post them to the Smoke Rise Children’s Ministry Facebook page with #SRBCFlatJesus


YOU TH AT S M O KE R I SE J E R E M Y C OLLI V ER - Minister of Communications, Missions and Youth

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Sly & the Family Stone had it right as they belted out: Them summer days, those summer days That’s when I had most of my fun, Them summer days, those summer days Hot fun in the summertime Summer is fun. It’s the sabbath of the school year for our students. School is out, and even though summer is busy, there is a different energy to the summer. There seems to be a “fun-ness” that surrounds everything that is going on. The best part of summer for me is watching the seeds of relationship planted and blossoming. Our students are around each other a lot during the school year, but the extended time that they need together is hard with everything else that is going on in their lives. Social media helps that they can be in-and-out and still know what is going on in the lives of their friends, but that only allows for connectedness. Community building needs presence and that takes time. Time that happens waiting for a plane in the airport and countless hours on a bus or staying up into the wee hours of the night at camp talking and playing cards. Time that isn’t scripted, but time that is invaluable. It is in these unscripted times that seeds of relationship are planted and begin to grow. They continue to be watered and fed and the students spend more time together and the fruit of the summer is harvested when there is no hesitation in sending that text because you need someone right then. That is why we spend time together in the summer. Yes, to create memories, to laugh until we cry, to cry until we laugh, to eat too much; but more importantly, so that there is no hesitation when we need the other. Time is the gift that summer gives to us. June 5 WITS to Whirlyball June 7-17 Sing and Serve Bahamas June 19 WITS to Get Air June 23-28 Passport Choices July 2 - Braves Game June 10 - WITS to Perimeter Mall June 31 - WITS to Laser Show 13 | SMOKE RIS E BAPT IST.ORG









Sunday 9:00 AM - Worship in the Chapel 9:45 AM - Sunday school for all ages 11:00 AM - Worship in the Sanctuary

5 Wonderful Wednesday and WITS

The 50th Anniversary Committee needs your old SRBC photos! Help us create a memorable video to be played during the special festivities on September 22. Please submit your photos to the church office no later than Sunday, August 25. Make sure that your name and phone number are written on the back of each photo.

While you’re at it — Saralyn Jaleel would very much welcome any old Smoke Rise documents such as Crosstie, Eater’s Digest, Informer or Bulletins for the Heritage Room.

7 - 17 Sing and Serve Mission Trip 19 Wonderful Wednesday and WITS 19-21 CBF General Assembly 23-28 Youth Passport Camp 24-27 PassportKids!

50 9 • 22 • 2019

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