Eclectic’s Central Baptist continues recovery effortscomment (0)
July 12, 2012
Scott Wilson had been pastor of Central Baptist Church, Eclectic, in Elmore Baptist Association just a few weeks when a tornado struck in April 2011.
Not only had he been in the South only a short time, but he also had not been part of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) very long. Nor had he ever experienced a tornado.
Prior to becoming pastor of Central Baptist, Wilson — originally from upstate New York — had been at an independent Baptist church in Massachusetts.
As a tornado approached the area near Central Baptist, Wilson saw the huge dark cloud moving along the ground.
“I’d never seen anything like it,” he said.
As soon as it was safe to be outside Wilson and others checked on older church members and those who might have been in the path of the storm.
“We actually found some people screaming underneath a wall,” Wilson said.
Every day for about a month, Central Baptist members cut trees and made repairs both for people who were part of the church and people who were not.
First Baptist Church, Eclectic, opened its doors to individuals left homeless and Central Baptist assisted that church, Wilson said. He also noted that Central Baptist had food and clothes in its family life center to help fulfill needs.
The care and concern that people and churches demonstrated made an impression on Wilson.
“Everybody was trying to check on everybody,” he said. As they rode by areas of destruction and saw other people, the passers-by would ask if anyone needed help or food.
For a few weeks, people of the community seemed to suspend their own lives in order to assist others, Wilson said. “It was something to see.”
But he was also encouraged to see how the SBC, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and Alabama Baptist churches responded in a time of crisis. He was
impressed by the groups’ cooperation.
“I’d never seen the way churches work together, like they were one,” Wilson said, adding they were working together in the manner that the body of Christ is supposed to function.
It was not just the local churches either. SBC churches from across the state called Central Baptist to offer assistance. Wilson said that at one point there was almost too much help.
“So many people wanted to work,” he said.
After more than a year, Central Baptist continues to be involved in the recovery effort by offering lodging to volunteers coming into the area to rebuild Mount Hebron East Baptist Church, Eclectic.
Wilson has taken note of the cohesiveness, the tender hearts and the care for the hurting that he has seen among the people and the churches.
“I was very happily impressed that I had made the right decision to become Southern
Baptist,” he said.