Clinton Baptist increases membership, builds private schoolcomment (0)
March 14, 2002
By Linda Holloway
From Greece to Greene County, Clinton Baptist Church, Eutaw, is the only church in the state known to have demijohns, unusual acoustic devices dating back to the days of Greek theater (see sidebar story). The church’s exterior also reflects Greek revival-style architecture.
But as historical as the building may look, the 145-year-old church consists of members who look forward to a bright future.
Growing from only four members to more than 60 in two years, Clinton Baptist also built a first- through sixth-grade private school, Lighthouse Christian, next to the church. The most ambitious undertaking by the small congregation so far, the school opened Sept. 4, 2001.
“The Sunday we voted to build the school, the presence of God was so strong that as soon as people entered the door they began weeping,” said Pastor Charlie Bullock. “Everything fell into place after the vote to build. The land became available to purchase, and a member sold some timber to buy the property. My construction company bid a job to remove the exact amount of metal that was needed for the school building.”
Pam Sterling resigned her professional position to be the administrator of Lighthouse Christian. “This area has a public and private school, but we believe God directed us to provide a Christian school alternative,” she said.
Still, there was some initial opposition to the building of Lighthouse Christian School, Bullock noted. “Some people in the community [felt] that our school [would] weaken the attendance at the only private school in the area, Warrior Academy, but that is not our intent,” Bullock said. “We have earnestly prayed, and God [directed] us to build this school,” he explained.
“In Greene County, most black students go to public schools, and the white students go to Warrior Academy. Lighthouse will gladly accept both. Our first application was from a black student,” Bullock noted. “This is not a race issue; it is about teaching all of our students about God.”
But since the school opened, opposition has decreased, said Bullock’s wife, Jan. “After the community realized that we were not a threat to [Warrior Academy] the opposition greatly decreased,” she noted.
During this first school year, Lighthouse Christian has seven students and five more have already enrolled for next year.
The school will also offer kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classes next year, according to Jan Bullock.
Sterling also noted that the school plans to seek accreditation by the Alabama Christian Education Association once the three-year waiting period is up. School officials are currently working on the steps necessary to gain accreditation, she explained.
Bullock added that the church is raising money for tuition for underprivileged children.
“Greene County is in the top 100 poorest counties in America and in the top eight in Alabama,” Bullock noted. “We want to give all children a chance to have a Christian education.”
Lighthouse Christian is an example of how Clinton Baptist is growing, Bullock pointed out.
When the Bullocks first visited Clinton Baptist and its four members two years ago, Bullock had not served as a pastor for some time. But he answered God’s call by taking up the position when the former pastor became ill.
“It seems that those four people were holding on until God would bless the congregation with growth again,” Bullock said.
The youngest deacon, Jason Stephens, age 28, was married in the church, and attributes Bullock’s leadership as a factor in its new life. “Brother Charlie is unchanging in his faith in God.” Stephens said.
“My family has attended the church for generations, but it is because I can feel the presence of God that I brought my [own] family here.”
Bullock likewise believes the Clinton congregation has a special quality. “They are dedicated solid Christians, and I can call on them anytime to help with a project.”