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Porter Church reopens doorscomment (0)

June 5, 2008

By Jeremy Dale Henderson

For too long a time, the only sounds you might have heard coming from Porter Baptist Church, Adamsville, in Sulphur Springs Baptist Association were the slow whisk-whisk-whisk of a broom and the soft sobs of Martha Sanders.

Other than Sanders’ occasional visits with her grandson to dust unused pews and tidy up after the people who weren’t there for the Sunday services that weren’t being held, the place was empty, silent.

But in April, the concrete-block building reclaimed its former glory: Porter Baptist Church became a church again.

For six months, it hadn’t been — not really.

Though the six active members never technically called it quits, there wasn’t a preacher or any money. So they simply locked up and found fellowship elsewhere, most at Williamsburg Baptist Church, Adamsville, just over the hill.

It was a decision that Sanders, whose grandfather, along with every other employee of the old Porter Coal Mine, gave a day’s pay to help build Porter Baptist back in the 1930s, just couldn’t live with.

"We wanted to come back to our home church," said Sanders, who has served as Porter Baptist’s secretary and treasurer on and off for nearly 40 years.

So after some heavy praying and soul-searching, church members did.

"We didn’t have a preacher — our preacher had left — and we still didn’t have the money to pay a preacher, so we just reopened and left it up to the Lord," Sanders said.

The Lord took care of things in the person of Bobby McDaniel, a retired preacher with connections to Porter Baptist through his wife, Brenda, who once frequently sang there with gospel groups.

McDaniel preached about four or five weeks before the congregation asked if he would consider accepting a call as pastor. McDaniel said he would.

"I think it’s great that it opened back up. I don’t think God’s house should be shut down," McDaniel said, adding he would like to try to get more people involved in the church.

Meanwhile Sanders is just happy to have some real dirt to clean — the kind that comes from wear, not vacancy. "I’m thrilled to death," she said.


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