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Geraldine church honors 150-year heritage, plans for bright futurecomment (0)

January 4, 2007

Although New Canaan Baptist Church, Geraldine, has a 150-year legacy of training up Christians to be church and community leaders, the congregation is keeping an eye on the future.
“We are in a season of blessing,” Pastor Glenn Bruce said. “We’re seeing growth and we have good leaders and teachers in the church.” 
Begun by 15 members Sept. 20, 1856, the DeKalb Baptist Association church marked its anniversary Oct. 15 with a celebratory worship service and afternoon meal. 
New Canaan Baptist’s motto — Proud of our heritage: Excited about our future! — explains its ministry focus. Several members of the church’s current leadership have roots in its past, with Clerk and Treasurer Tommy Smith literally following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who was church clerk in the 1930s.
Both of Bruce’s grandfathers served as pastor of New Canaan. And Associate Pastor Charlie Rogers recalled leading morning devotionals at age 6 while standing on a chair behind the pulpit. He accepted his call to ministry at a youth rally at the church and now shares preaching duties with Bruce.
Bruce said New Canaan has a bright future, due in large part to the church’s brotherhood group — led by Kelly Smith and Scott Clifton — which is leading in outreach and ministry projects. 
Clifton said brotherhood volunteers minister to area residents through various projects such as building wheelchair ramps and helping clean up after storms. 
The brotherhood group ministers at home as well, doing much of the construction on New Canaan’s current building expansion. It hopes to have the work completed by next summer. 
The expansion involves converting the old fellowship hall space into Sunday School classrooms and adding a new fellowship hall and youth meeting room. 
Kelly Smith said the brotherhood plans to expand its ministries with the purchase of a cargo trailer and through holding a tool drive. 
The trailer and tools will help prepare for future construction projects, including a World Changers missions trip to Florence in June. 
The brotherhood is also helping the church add new members through the RAFF — Refer a Friend or Family (Member) — visitation program created by Kelly Smith. The program involves building relationships with unchurched friends and family members, sharing the gospel and inviting them to church. 
Through RAFF, New Canaan hopes to see 25 new members baptized in 2007, Bruce said. (TAB)

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