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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Clay Associationís Baptist Center helps community for 30 yearscomment (0)

February 4, 2010


In talking with L.C. Harris, you get the distinct impression that he and the people he represents deem operations like their Baptist Center, located in downtown Lineville, as the place where the religion “God our Father accepts as pure” is truly practiced.

“When you go inside those church walls, that’s worship,” said Harris, moderator of Clay Baptist Association. “But you only serve God when you get outside and serve your fellow man.”

The Baptist Center, a self-sustaining ministry that provides for families and individuals in need through its thrift store, food closet and other provisional ministries, has been serving Clay County for nearly 30 years.

But it’s how the center has done it that brings out the pride — the good kind — in Harris’ voice.

“We’re a small association made up of seven churches made up of mostly senior citizens,” said Harris, who estimates the combined resident membership of the association’s churches to be just 291. “But [the center] is all volunteer. The only one who gets any money is our clerk and that’s just for postage.”

In 2009, the center took in more than 3,000 individual donations, according to Harris — “Everything from bedding, clothes, TVs, suits, appliances … about anything you can name, we get it.” Those donations helped provide food and other necessities for more than 100 families as well as school supplies to children in both Lineville and Ashland.

The center’s work is overseen by an executive board comprised of the pastors of every church in the association and two volunteers.

Fred Amason, a member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Lineville, has been chairman of the board for 15 years.

“A small portion of our funds for our food closet comes from the (Alabama Baptist) State Board of Missions, and Gary Swafford (director of the state board’s office of associational missions and church planting) has been very generous with his help with funds at the beginning of each year,” Amason said. “There’s just a great need in our area with people less fortunate and that just need help on occasion, and we just like to be able to help when the request comes.”

Exactly, Harris said. “That’s Christianity in action.” (TAB)

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