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Bullock-Centennial Association holds its 1st Ascension celebrationcomment (0)

June 21, 2012

By Anna Keller

As Baptists, following the liturgical calendar is not always at the top of the list. So when Bullock-Centennial Baptist Association Director of Missions Gene Bridgman heard that an association member was interested in celebrating Christ’s ascension following Easter, Bridgman thought it was a wonderful idea.

The only problem was no one in the association seemed to know what an Ascension celebration was supposed to look like. 

“Keith (Pugh, a 40-plus year member of Mount Carmel Baptist Church, Union Springs) called me one day and said, ‘We celebrate Easter, but no one ever thinks about how important it was that Jesus ascended,’” Bridgman said. “I said, ‘Great! Let’s have an Ascension service. How do we do it?’ And he said, ‘I don’t have a clue.’”

But that didn’t slow down the process. On the morning of May 20, Bullock-Centennial Association’s first Ascension Sunday celebration was held at First Baptist Church, Union Springs. 

The event — which was for men only — garnered about 60 attendees. 

“We made this event for men to encourage them to take a much stronger leadership role in the church and the home,” Bridgman said. 

“It was encouraging that many fathers brought their sons to see how men can be involved in their churches and communities.”

The men came together to fellowship and shared a biblical breakfast of baked fish, flat bread and water. As a nod to the current culture, coffee was also served.

“The breakfast was meant to represent (not necessarily replicate exactly) the meal Jesus and His disciples shared after His resurrection,” said Dale Huff, the speaker at the event and director of the office of LeaderCare and church administration for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. “I doubt there were catfish in the Sea of Galilee, but that’s what we had.”

During his message, Huff focused on Jesus’ ascension as documented in Acts 1. As Christians, we are responsible to be busy until Jesus comes again, Huff said, and so the talk focused on that fact and the reminder that Jesus will return in the same way He ascended. 

“This was truly a unique way of focusing on the gospel of Jesus’ ascension and promised return, and I think it was an instructional session for everyone,” Huff said. “I think there’s value in having some expanded awareness of the Christian calendar.”

Because the event was so positively received this year, Bridgman said plans are already in the works to hold the celebration again next year. 

He’s not sure if it will remain an event exclusively for men or if it will morph into a family event next year, but it will indeed happen again. 

“All of our churches were represented at this year’s celebration, and I think now with the pastors who saw what was going on, we’ll build it to be even better and stronger,” Bridgman said. 

“We plan to promote it more heavily next year, too.”

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