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Churches have special reasons to rejoicecomment (0)

January 17, 2002

By Johnie Sentell

Because of Christ’s promise to ­always be with us, all believers can look forward to opportunities in a new year. Some churches in ­Alabama have special reasons to rejoice in this new year.

In Etowah Association, Macedonia Baptist Church held an unusual anniversary Dec. 16. It had been a year to the day since a tornado caused extensive damage there.

“We called it Hero Day,” said Pastor Dave Roberts. “We invited folks from all of the organizations and agencies and people in our community who came to our aid to come back and be recognized.”

Brother Roberts brought a message on servanthood, relating it to what had been done for Macedonia Church and culminating with Christ as the true example of servanthood. Visitors were honored with a banquet and certificates of appreciation. More than 200 people attended. 

“That really packed our house!” said Bro. Roberts. “Usually we have about 145–160. We took flyers door to door. It was a good way to unite the community and the church and these organizations as we came together for one common purpose.

“We have got a real positive outlook for the new year,” Bro. Roberts said. “Our community is pretty well put back together — about 98 percent restored from the damage. Our church is completely restored and back in operation.”

The pastor said Macedonia is trying to keep its new year’s goals ministry-related.

“We all have a heightened awareness now,” he said. “We have today to do things that God needs us to do for Kingdom work. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. What we can accomplish today is pretty vital.” 

The pastor noted the new steeple has panels of stained glass that are lighted up at night. “Every time I see it I am reminded of God’s grace, His sovereignty and His protection. He is in control, and we are blessed. We had three additions the first Sunday of this year. We are here to minister, and that is what we will keep on doing,” he said.

This Saturday, Jan. 19, another special event is set at Macedonia: free disaster relief training with CPR and first aid training through the Red Cross. Anyone may participate, and there will be no charge.

The same tornado that hit Macedonia killed 11 people in Tusca­loosa County. Although it destroyed houses in Valley View Baptist Church’s neighborhood south of Tuscaloosa, the church was spared.

It is easy to tell where the tornado crossed State Highway 69 a few hundred yards south of the church. A leaning flagpole still marks the path. Since Valley View was ­located so close to the devastation, the church immediately made its facility available for relief efforts. Victims received food, medical attention and counseling there.

Now running 800 in Bible study, the church has two worship services and two sessions of Bible study.

Valley View enters the new year soon to occupy its most recent addition, a 21,000-square-foot, two-story wing. The bottom floor will house the preschool ministry. The top floor will be primarily for students and parents of young children.

Pastor Mike Hall said his eight years at Valley View have been “a great experience,” adding he hopes to serve there “many more years.”

The church recently added two staffers: Tammy Ross as children’s minister and Dale Glover as student pastor. Though he came from Sarasota, Fla., Dale is coming home. He grew up 30 miles away at Mount Hebron Baptist Church, Akron.

If you continue north on Highway 69 through Tuscaloosa and Northport, you’ll come to another church that has special reasons to rejoice.

Lord of the Harvest Baptist Church was begun in 1993 when Pastor Dan Williams felt led to begin a church in the area. Beginning with just over one acre of land, the congregation has 10 acres now. In the past three months the church has built its most recent wing of the building, adding 2,500 square feet at a cost of $110,000.

After a modest start, the church has grown rapidly in the past few years. Brother Williams said it is God’s doing, because no great changes were made. Faithfulness is evident, however. The pastor said, “We just go out and knock on doors every Monday night.”

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