Historic church celebrates homecoming

First Baptist Church, on Highland Avenue just celebrated its annual homecoming with a weekend full of celebration.

Historic church celebrates homecoming
August 30
10:10 2018

First Baptist Church, on Highland Avenue just celebrated its annual homecoming with a weekend full of celebration.  The theme for this year was “Celebrating 139 Years of God’s Goodness.”

The homecoming took place the weekend of Aug. 25.  Saturday’s events included a festival of food and fellowship and a school supply giveaway.

“We had activities for the children, like a bounce house, cotton candy, popcorn and ice cones,” said the Rev. Paul Robeson Ford, senior pastor of First Baptist.  “I think it was a bigger turnout than last year.  A number of our sick and shut in made it as well, and we have seen some people we have not seen in a while.”

The Rev. Dr. Braxton Shelly of Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, was the guest speaker for the Sunday service.  He also led the choir workshops prior to the service along with playing instruments throughout.  First Baptist brings together all of the choirs during its homecoming celebration.

“For homecoming, we bring together a homecoming choir that pulls together people from all of the different choirs and anyone in the church that wants to be a part of the homecoming choir for the weekend,” said Ford. 

This past weekend was even more special for Ford, as it marked a year he first visited First Baptist as a candidate for senior pastor. 

“It is an important marker for me and for us as a congregation and it is a time of great celebration,” Ford said.

Sunday’s service concluded the homecoming festivities for the church.  Rev. Shelly’s sermon pulled from a Psalm passage that dealt with people going back home.

“I had another sermon planned for the day but I was out and something came to me so I started thinking what I could pull from the text to fit the day and something that would be inspiring,” said Shelly.

Overall, Ford says he was overjoyed with how the weekend turned out for the church.  He says the homecoming really kicks off the start of community engagement the church will be involved with over the next few months.

“This weekend was vibrant, it was joyous, it was fulfilling and it exceeded all expectations,” he continued.  “I believe it was a manifestation of God’s grace and God’s divine sense of timing.”

“Rev. Shelly preached as well as he played and he played in such a way that really raised the roof on the energy of worship that we have here. I am grateful for Rev. Shelly coming here to share his gifts, and as God as my witness, he will be back here.”

In the short time Ford has been in the city, he has fully thrown himself into the hot issues around the city that plague those without a voice.

“One of the things that I have never run from is the sense of prophetic calling to speak into the wilderness situations that I see wherever the Lord sends me to serve in ministry,” Ford said.

“When I talk about wilderness situations, those are situations of need where people are living with their backs against the wall.”

“What never ceases to amaze me is how much need there is no matter where you go,” he stated.  “I did not have any intention on getting so deeply immersed so quickly here in Winston, but it didn’t take me long to run into the situations that needed another set of helping hands, and that’s what it’s about for me. I am not from here but I am here to help.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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