September crosstie 2017

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Cross ie




Fall Renewal Women’s Retreat

SAFE Seminar

October 13-15, 2017 page 6

September 8-9 page 12

Cleaning House Letting Go of Clutter

Sexual Awareness & Family Empowerment

SE P T E MBE R 2 01 7




T im Ad cox Minister of Missions 678.533.0570


From the Pastor











B e c k y C a s w e l l - S p ei gh t Minister to Families with Children 678.533.0546 Jeremy Colliver Minister to Families with Youth 678.533.0551 Kat hy D obbi n s Minister of Spiritual Formation 678.533.0548

1 0 Generosity 11

Serving on Mission

1 2 Family Ministry

Danny Va n c i l Minister of Music & Worship 678.533.0560




While all of us cannot take every mission trip or teach in every VBS classroom, we are all a part of these ministries when we give to support God’s work through our tithes and offerings.

A retreat to the woods is not a cure all, but it can provide the catalyst for taking stock of your life and building in some healthy practices to feed your weary soul.


Nancy Durden left behind a legacy of heartfelt mission and love in action at Smoke Rise Baptist Church through her founding and nurturing of the Stitcher’s quilting ministry among us.

1 3 Youth 1 4 Snapshot

Chris G e o r ge Pastor 770.469.5856 Bart McNiel Associate Pastor 678.533.0540


CON N EC T W IT H US smokerise SmokeRiseBC

Smoke Rise

A B OU T 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 8:30am - 4:30pm

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 heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We proclaim the Good News of Christ in all that we say and do. 3 | SMOKE RISE BAPT IST.ORG

FRO M TH E PASTO R CH RIS G E ORGE - PASTOR September is the beginning of my favorite season--Fall! Soon, the leaves will change and blanket Smoke Rise in a quilt of colors. We will once again we will stand in awe and wonder at the beauty of God’s work in our world. Of course, we have seen the beauty of God’s work throughout the summer. We have sent mission teams to serve in Appalachia, New York, and Tijuana. We have strengthened our partnerships with the refugees in Clarkston as well as the Lilburn and Tucker Coops, providing help for those in our neighborhood. At Vacation Bible School, we had the opportunity to share God’s love with more than 120 children from our church and community. Step back, stand in awe at the beauty of God’s work through Smoke Rise Baptist Church. While all of us cannot take every mission trip or teach in every VBS classroom, we are all a part of these ministries when we give to support God’s work through our tithes and offerings. At Smoke Rise, we are committed to fostering a culture of generosity in our community of faith. We give to God as an expression of our faith and in gratitude for God’s good gifts in our lives. Stewardship is more than church business, it is a spiritual practice. Jesus reminds us, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be…” September represents the mid-point in our church fiscal year. I am pleased that due to the commitment of our congregation to give faithfully, our budget receipts from (April 2017-July 2017) exceed the receipts given in the same periods of 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012. Along with this giving, our church continues to honor pledges to the Refresh Campaign that have already helped to enhance our campus, most recently by improving our sanctuary. While celebrating this good news, we are still facing a budget deficit for the first-half of the year. While our receipts have increased, expenses like benefits, electricity, insurance, and utilities have increased as well. I want to commend the work of the Stewardship Committee that has worked diligently to foster a culture of generosity to encourage giving. We are seeing the fruits of these labors. I also want to commend the work of the Finance Committee that has worked diligently to monitor our spending practices and use our resources wisely. This year, our church has made an intentional effort to increase communication with the congregation about the church’s financial condition. We have simplified the church newsletter to provide information in a manner that is easy to access and understand on our Generosity Page. On September 17, during morning worship, we will have a mid-year report from the Stewardship Committee and the Finance Committee as suggested in our Strategic Vision Report. The leaves are not God’s only work in our world this Fall. God is doing something special at Smoke Rise Baptist Church. Let us all be faithful stewards… God’s peace, Pastor Chris


WORS H IP P I N G AT SM OK E R I SE 11am Worship Choirs in September 3rd th

Sanctuary Choir


Children Choristers, Sanctuary Choir, Sanctuary Handbells


Youth Choir

24th Sanctuary Choir

At Smoke Rise, we mark time by observing the seasons of the Church Year. You will notice that the colors of the minister’s stoles and the paraments (coverings) on the communion table and pulpit, change periodically. This is an excellent way, visually, to enhance our worship experience. Below is a chart that gives an explanation of the seasons and corresponding colors.


GROW IN G AT S M O KE R I SE IT’S NEW – IT’S PRIME! Celebrating the great traditions of musical entertainment in a fun setting. Look for this event in the Fall and Spring of the year. All are welcome regardless of age. PRIME Fall 2017 – Presents: “A Night With Cole Porter” September 5, 2017; 6 pm in Fellowship Hall $8.00/person including dinner Join us for this wonderful evening of music in our transformed “club” where “Cole Porter and Ethyl Merman” will entertain us with Porter’s greatest songs from the 1930’s, ‘40’s and ‘50’s such as “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” Let’s Do it, Let’s Fall in Love,” and “Anything Goes,” Featured Artist: Daniel Solberg Daniel Solberg is a staple in the professional music scene in Atlanta and has earned widespread respect as a pianist, organist, and arranger. He was collaborative pianist and coach for seven years at Georgia State University and served as music director for the opera program. His playing has included summer opera programs in Italy and Brazil and for many of the biggest cruise ship entertainers. Daniel is currently the organist at First Baptist Church, Decatur. Reservations required by September 1. Call church office (770) 469-5856

Smoke Rise Baptist Fall Women’s Retreat

Cleaning House Letting Go of Clutter October 13-15, 2017

Twin Rivers Resort, Demorest, GA With Mazi Robinson Brochures available in the breezeways

There is nothing like getting out of my normal environment and into a relaxing setting to heal what stress does to my body and soul. Stress – we all have it. It’s an inescapable fact. A retreat to the woods is not a cure all, but it can provide the catalyst for taking stock of your life and building in some healthy practices to feed your weary soul. I hope you will join me and many other SRBC women of all ages and stages of life this October as we learn to “let go of clutter” and discover what “new thing” God wants to do in us. We’re excited to have Mazi Robinson lead us through 4 sessions during the weekend. Contact a few of your girlfriends and register today! Brochures are available in the Breezeways. Kathy Dobbins, Minister of Spiritual Formation


CON N EC T I N G AT SMOK E R I SE MENTAL ILLNESS: OUT OF THE SHADOWS All of us are touched in some way by people living with serious mental health conditions. We experience it personally, in our families, through relationships at work, in the lives of friends, in our communities, and in our churches. If we are honest, we recognize that it can be difficult to respond in healthy ways that support others. How we respond can also be effected by common misconceptions, misinformation, and stigma surrounding mental health conditions. When we get broken bones, have heart trouble, or discover a cancer diagnosis, it is not unusual to get phone calls, prayer cards, casseroles, or visits. When we face a mental illness diagnosis, the response of friends, family, and, yes, the church, can range from uncomfortably mixed to palpably silent. Thanks to the voices of advocates in our church and community, we can step out of the shadows and talk about mental illness. During the month of September, we look forward to learning new ways that we can work together to support and care for those suffering from serious mental health conditions in our families, our church, our community, and beyond. On September 27, in the Fellowship Hall, beginning at 6:00 pm, we will close the month by hosting a discussion about mental illness and the response of the church. We invite you to join us for this important discussion, and to take time during the month of September to learn more about mental health care and advocacy in our community. As part of our effort to step out of the shadows, our church has taken steps to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (“NAMI”) through ministerial membership in Dekalb County NAMI and Gwinnett County NAMI. Rev. Bart McNiel recently attended a presentation of NAMI in Tucker to area ministers and remarked on the experience: “Learning more about NAMI’s work was welcome and refreshing. My family has been touched by people living with a mental illness, and I know how difficult it can be to wade through all the misinformation

and confusion that surrounds people living with serious mental health conditions. As a ministerial representative of our SRBC Touchpoint Ministries, I was excited to join NAMI as a member as we work to connect people in our church and community to NAMI’s caring network and valuable resources.”

If you or someone you know is a family caregiver for a person with a serious mental health condition, September will also include an opportunity to learn more through a FREE 12-week course offered by NAMI Dekalb. Several Smoke Rise members took this course or a similar one in the past and testify to its effectiveness and value. The course is taught by trained family members and focuses on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, panic disorder, borderline personality disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Education program starts Tuesday, September 19, 2017 ends December 2017. Time: 6:00pm-8:30 pm. Location: North Decatur Rd, Decatur GA. To sign up for the class and location information: contact Sabrina Green at, 404-961-8123. Look and listen for more information this month as we work to step out of the shadows and into the light of compassionate care and support for people living with serious mental health conditions.


CAR IN G AT S M O KE R I SE NANCY’S HEART FOR MISSION Nancy Durden (Dec. 31, 1950 - June 5, 2015) left behind a legacy of heartfelt mission and love in action at Smoke Rise Baptist Church through her founding and nurturing of the Stitchers quilting ministry among us. Nancy told the story of how things got started on August 14, 2014 when the church formally blessed and dedicated the work of the ministry to the glory of God. Nancy’s mother, Tommie Benefield was a quilter and Nancy took up the art too. As Nancy recalled, the idea for an SRBC quilting group started when she and a couple of friends were talking at a Wednesday night dinner about starting a mission to make quilts for sick children, hospice patients and others.

Shortly after our group’s first meeting, I was approached by Kelly McClendon who said that the new Pastor (Dr. Chris George) had asked if the church had a group that might make blankets or quilts for baby dedications and a brother/sister quilt to be sent to a Ukrainian missionary for a child in an orphanage. We gave an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Nancy’s husband Paul helped to make space for the team around a pool table that he covered so the Stitchers could hold quarterly quilting sessions. The room was soon filled with donated cloth and the fellowship of friends quilting together on mission.

Tami Litton and I were excited about the possibilities, but held personal fear that the group might be just the two of us. Time went by and busy lives intruded. The desire was still there, but in limbo. That little voice on my shoulder kept pestering me that I should be about my Father’s business, so we talked again and agreed, “Let’s just do it!” After talking with the church staff and publishing an invitation for others to join them in the Eater’s Digest, Nancy and her quilting friends discovered 10 to 12 other ladies who were interested in working with a quilting ministry in the church. When Nancy spoke about the work of the new team she would soon oversee, she was careful to call the ministry a “mission group.” Since its inception, SRBC Stitchers have recognized that sharing the gift of quilting was meant to be more than a hobby; God wanted to use their art as a “missionary response” to God’s calling on their lives. Nancy described how this new mission group found ways to respond to mission needs in the church and beyond.

Doris Nelms recalled the early days of the Stitchers ministry when quilts were shared with hospice patients: “It was a work of love that Nancy took charge of and oversaw at every turn. Hospice was part of Stitchers in the early days when our hospice ministry would get half of the quilts the team made. The Stitchers ministry blossomed to include baby dedications and a Ukrainian missions branch too,” said Nelms.


It was a sad time for our church when Nancy passed away, and the loss of her leadership was difficult for her friends and mission partners in the SRBC Stitchers. “Nancy organized everything! She really was the heart of Stitchers,” said Jan Sloan. In the wake of Nancy’s passing, The SRBC Stitchers called a meeting and agreed to organize regular meetings so that they could carry on the mission. “That’s when we changed the name of our mission group to ‘Nancy’s Heart Stitchers” said Alice Schutte, who This is a visible expression of God’s love through Jesus Christ.” This message and a Bible verse message is also included on every quilt that is shipped to the Ukraine.

also recalled a conversation between Nancy and another volunteer Stitcher. One time a Stitcher volunteer asked Nancy if she could put a “star” on a quilt as a kind of symbol with a deeper meaning. Nancy was quick to respond, ‘No. We do hearts.’ And it wasn’t that Nancy objected to stars as such, it was simply the idea that if the mission was going to have a symbol, it should be a heart, because every blanket was stitched from the heart. And so it is fitting that we are called Nancy’s Heart Stitchers, because it really speaks to Nancy’s role in forming the mission group.

Today the ministry of Nancy’s Heart Stitchers includes all its original recipients, but also extends to a variety of people facing difficult illnesses or life transitions in our church and beyond. At the formal dedication of the Stitchers ministry, Nancy shared words of blessing that followed each and every quilt made by the mission group. “Our prayer as we work is always, ‘Dear Lord, we don’t know who will receive these quilts, but you do. Please bless them and wrap them in your love and give them peace. Amen.’” If you would like to learn to stitch or join Nancy’s Heart Stitchers on mission, we encourage you to contact Merrilee Brock in the church office. With thanksgiving and remembrance for Nancy’s missionary heart, may the Stitchers work of love thrive among us for years to come.

All the quilts produced and presented by Nancy’s Heart Stitchers have a heart on them somewhere. It is usually obvious, but it may also be hidden in the design. And every blanket continues to have the same label “This quilt was prayerfully made by members of the Nancy’s Heart Stitchers of Smoke Rise Baptist Church especially for you. 9 | SMOKE RIS E BAPT IST.ORG



GEN ER OS I T Y SUMMARY OF GIVING TO DATE It has been one month since the completion of our sanctuary refresh work. Our temporary worship experience in the Chapel was well-received by all. Thank you to the choir members who gave us more than one hour of their time to lead in worship in the chapel, and thank you to our deacon teams for helping with the offering each week. The new sound system, fresh paint, and upgraded LED lighting in the sanctuary will enhance our worship for years to come. Our new lighting is not only brighter, but has the added benefit of using less power.



Thank you to Mike Danishek and our volunteer sound team for the extra time and effort you put in during renovations and the work you have been undertaking to learn and operate the new system. Thank you to the many volunteers who helped finish the project with a top-to-bottom cleaning of the sanctuary. Upcoming Refresh projects on the horizon are repair of the church steeple and Chapel renovations.

MONTH OF JULY Amount Given $166,637.85

Amount Spent $163,957.97


Positive Balance $2,679.88

FISCAL YEAR TO DATE (APRIL 1, 2017 - JULY 31, 2017)

Amount Given $694,835.39

Amount Spent $757,511.89

Negative Balance $62,676.50

Pledged $1,346,104.00 Pledges Not Yet Received $503,896.00


Received $831,305.66

Current Balance $243,218.32

UPCOMING PROJECT Steeple Renovation Chapel Renovation

SERVIN G ON M I S S I ON WHAT TO DO FOR A BROKEN BACK When I bent over the 55 gallon drum I heard something pop. I must have blacked out from the pain. I remember the doctor saying, “If you move the wrong way, you may never be able to walk again”. After weeks of pain, some very difficult rehabilitation, and a second surgery, they told me I should be able to regain the feelings in my legs, but I will have to learn to walk again. I began to question God and became very depressed. Will I be able to walk again? How will I support my wife and two children? I remember one day taking the fork from my hospital tray and stabbing it in my leg to see if I could feel it. Slowly the feeling came back. I did learn to walk again. But the emotional scars remained. I became angry and bitter. In my frustration, I began to lash out at my family. Something had to change. I began seeing a psychiatrist and he suggested I take up a hobby. I had no idea what that might be. One day my wife brought home a child’s painters kit. I laughed and told her I could only paint a stick figure. But I gave it a try and found I really enjoyed it. I began doing research on famous painters. I read books on how to paint. I even reached out to some local artists

THANK YOU FROM NETWORKS During last weekend’s Back to School Shop, I got to help a family checkout after shopping. Mom, her sixth-grade son and third-grade daughter didn’t have a lot of English …so our interaction was somewhat limited at first. We tallied up what ended up being about 5 bags full of supplies. As I looked up from the register and said, “$18.05, please,” the mom’s cheeks flushed and her eyes misted up. She opened her hand and showed all she had--$20. She reached out and handed the money to me, saying,” Thank you so much,” and she couldn’t contain her smile.

for instruction and encouragement. They seemed to feel I had some talent. I now sometimes lose track of time when I am painting because I enjoy it so much. I have even begun teaching my daughter how to draw. It has brought us closer together. I can see a change in myself and in my relationship with my family. God gave me the talent to paint and he is the one that has caused the change in our family. This is the story of Philip Hamilton from McDowell, KY, a client of God’s Appalachian Partnership. Our team worked on his house on our last trip to Kentucky. Philip has now become a minister and is seeking to continue developing his painting skills. On our next trip I plan to commission him to do a painting for me. Continue to pray for Philip and his family. They say he needs a third back surgery. He is an example of how God can take the painful things in our lives and make something beautiful of them. Never forget that missions is about relationships. We send two teams to Appalachia in August and September and you will hear more about God’s Appalachian Partnership on Mission Sunday, October 15. Tim Adcox , Minister of Missions

THE LADIES ARE GOING TO APPALACHIA! The ladies team leaves September 10-15 please pray for them as they work with many of the clients they have come to know over the years.

Thank you so much for your on-going support of NETWorks Cooperative Ministry programs. 11 | SMOKE RISE BAPT IST.ORG

FAMILY M I N I ST RY AT SMOK E R I SE THE WEEKDAY SCHOOL The church began Smoke Rise Baptist Weekday School in 1973. From the beginning, the preschool and kindergarten met the needs of church families and extended our ministry to the surrounding suburb. SRBWS established a reputation that continues to draw families to SRBC, and welcomes back younger siblings and even the children of a second generation. As metro-Atlanta grew and changed, SRBWS became a Christian alternative to public schools, and increasingly a way that the church welcomed families with children from farther-out Dekalb and Gwinnett counties. Recently, a focus on community outreach, aided by scholarships provided by SRBC, has opened our doors to an increasingly diverse population. Under the leadership of Director Valerie Coe Lowder since 2015, SRBWS has adopted the priorities established by SRBC: worship, learn, care, serve and give. SRBWS includes young children in worship and provides an environment

to learn and practice Christian faith. As a member of the Georgia Preschool Association, SRBWS learns about early childhood development resources and best practices, and improves our educational environment year by year. With policies (like a commitment to being a nut-sensitive school), training (every staff member is certified in first aid and CPR, and some have further training in emergency response, anaphylaxis, recognizing and responding to child abuse and neglect, and trauma) and practices (like regular fire and tornado drills, and visiting “community helpers�), SRBWS truly cares. SRBWS children and families serve and give by participating in food and clothing drives, supporting family mission trips, and involvement in the life of Smoke Rise Baptist Church.


YOU TH AT S M O KE R I SE WEDNESDAY NIGHTS “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice. Practice. Practice.” We’re not trying to get to Carnegie Hall but we will be practicing a lot this year down in The Basement. On Wednesday nights we’re going to focus on different practices of what it means to follow in the way of Jesus. We’ll be learning, and then you guessed it, practicing how to do these things. We’re focusing on welcoming, friendship, creation, work, stuff, music, and play. On Sunday nights we’re going to be practicing as well, but those practices will centered around prayer. We’re going to learn about different ways to pray such as Lectio Divina, using a prayer labyrinth, praying the Psalms, the Jesus prayer, and centering prayer. When you see us around, ask us how our practices have been going. We might not get to Carnegie Hall, but we will learn to follow in he ways of Jesus!

SENIOR FOCUS on Spencer Decuir

What has been your favorite memory about the youth group? My favorite memory of being in this youth group is the overwhelming support I got when I decided to come back to Smoke Rise with my family. I went on the ski retreat in North Carolina and I felt immediately like one of the gang, and the older people didn’t exclude the younger members which was a fresh and exciting take on the way a youth ought to be organized. What hobbies do you have? My hobbies include soccer, playing trumpet, eating, and socializing with friends.

SPENCER DECUIR Senior at Parkview High School

What do you want to do after you graduate? I hope to attend one of the following colleges: Mercer, UGA, James Madison, George Mason, or Kentucky. I want to study International Relations. This was inspired by the choir tour we took in Japan of 2015. I learned that I love to learn about the differences in culture that were evident there. Without this great trip with our youth choir, I don’t know what I would be doing. What is something that people might not know about you? Most people don’t know that I make a mean quesadilla.


MON TH LY S N A P S HOT Suzii Paynter is the Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since March of 2013. She is a nationally recognized faith leader and ordained deacon and Sunday School teacher for more than 40 years, holding positions of leadership in Baptist churches in Texas, Kentucky, and Mississippi.


CBF SUNDAY Cooperative Baptist Fellowship staff and mission personnel will be speaking in some of our adult Sunday School classes on this Sunday in order to help our members better understand the mission, purpose, and ministries of CBF.


S u n d ay 9:00am Worship in the Chapel 9:45am Sunday School 11:00am Worship in the Sanctuary 2:00pm Matupi Christian Baptist Church Worship Service 5:00pm Youth Choir and Worship M o n d ay 10:00am Women’s Bible Study and Mother’s Bible Study Wed n e s d ay 5:00pm Wednesday Night Dinner 6:00pm Journeys Hunger in God’s World Sanctuary Handbells Preschool Music and Mission 1st-5th Grade Music and Mission Youth Gathering 7:00pm Sanctuary Choir

4 5 8- 9 10

Office Closed for Labor Day Prime: A Night with Cole Porter Safe Seminar Deacon’s Meeting Church in Conference

15- 1 6 Jungle Book Performances Finance Committee 21 Connections 24


It is time for another great Octoberfest, and we need your help! Volunteers are needed to work a half-hour shift at the bounce houses, toddler zone, welcome desk, games or crafts area. They are needed to help set up and help clean up.

We N e e d Vo l unt e e rs We need volunteers to sell meal tickets on Sundays and Wednesdays. Tickets will be on sale October 1st on Wednesdays and Sundays through the 29th. Adult meal tickets are $6.00 and children’s meal tickets are $3.00. There is a $18.00 maximum per household families. Tickets can be purchased on Sundays in front of the sanctuary or on Wednesdays in the Fellowship Hall. Lastly, we need you to invite people. Is there someone that you have been wanting to invite to church but were too afraid to ask?

I nv i t e y o ur f r ien d s a nd ne i g h b o rs t o O ct o b e rfe s t ! Octoberfest is a fun evening for all ages. There will be games, food and music! This is the perfect fun, non-threatening way to introduce friends, family and neighbors to Smoke Rise Baptist Church. If you are really excited about telling others about Smoke Rise Baptist Church, when you buy your meal tickets for Octoberfest, go ahead and buy your friends and family a ticket, too. Contact Debbie at to volunteer today!


HUNGER IN GOD’S WORLD WORKSHOP Hunger is number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks. How can we respond to such overwhelming need? This workshop led by Alexis Weaver will explore this topic in four sessions including how Smokerise responds to hunger in our community. Wednesdays at 6:00pm in Room 223. Sept. 6: Who Is Hungry and Why? Sept. 13: Hunger Has a Face Sept. 20: What Does God Want from Me? Sept. 27: What Can One Person Do?

Stone Mountain, GA 30087

Address Correction Requested

Georgia 30086

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