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Missions-minded Elmore church meeting local needscomment (0)

April 18, 2002

Mount Hebron West Baptist Church in Elmore may be 158 years old this summer, but its members stay busy meeting present-day needs. Now in his twelfth year at the church, Pastor Ken Clement said, “This is a real missions-minded church.”

Last year the church had a Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal of $12,500 for international missions work and gave more than $14,000.

Member Ron Underwood, a chaplain in the Air Force, is on assignment in the war against terrorism. Before he left in February the church gave him more than $2,000  for Bible study materials.

Members have been involved in short-term missions work, such as building a church in Brazil. They also have ties with long-term missions work. Missionary Carol Dozier McGriff grew up at Mount Hebron. In April 1982 more than 13,000 of us saw Carol and her husband, Jim, appointed at the Birmingham-­Jefferson Civic Center. They have been serving in Gua­temala and Belize ever since then. 

Mount Hebron meets many local ministry needs. Among them are ministries to residents of SunBridge Care and Rehabilitation, a skilled nursing home adjoining the church property, and to inmates of Draper Correctional Facility, a mile away.

In addition to regular visits at SunBridge, Mount Hebron uses closed-circuit television so residents can view Sunday morning services.

Carol McGriff’s uncle, Wayne Dozier, saw a need for ministering to bereaved people, so a couple of years ago he started a monthly gospel singing at Mount Hebron. The XYZ Singing (Xtra Years of Zest) is held at 10 a.m. the first Thursday of each month. A meal follows. About 100 people attend from a four-county area. That includes anywhere from 10 to 20 SunBridge residents that the church members bring over in wheelchairs.

Brother Ken plays the guitar, as do church members Ty Bartlett and Phe­lon Bryant. James Dozier plays the harmonica, and Harriett Lumpkin plays the tambourine. Betty Harris, Mount Hebron’s pianist since 1960, plays the piano. The plan of salvation is presented, and attendees are challenged to think about what they can do for others.

SunBridge activities director Jean Walker noted the church also holds its annual egg hunt on SunBridge’s front lawn so residents can enjoy watching from the front porch.

“There is good interaction,” she said. “We could not ask for a better neighbor than Mount Hebron.”

For more than 50 years the church has ministered to inmates in the nearby Draper Correctional Facility. John Davis has been involved for more than half of that time.

“We do what we can for the prisoners and their families through the Lord’s power and help,” he said.

Noting that many former inmates have begun similar ministry programs, Bro. Davis said, “They get a burden in their hearts to tell people what God did for them.”

Like Mount Hebron’s members, all of us have ministry opportunities close at hand. As we meet the needs of folks around us, they may get a burden in their hearts to tell others what God has done for them.

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