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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Selma’s Freedom Church ‘takes high road,’ seeks to tear down racial walls, win souls for Christcomment (0)

September 25, 2008


Selma — known by many around the nation for its past racial tensions — is becoming known by many in the area today as the home of Freedom Baptist Church, a congregation stepping outside cultural and racial lines to impact its community for Christ.

“We do what we can to mend fences and have been active in trying to tear down racial walls,” said James A. Spicer Sr., pastor of the 250-member black church.

But the Selma Baptist Association church’s mission is “to win souls for Christ and be a beacon for the community,” he said. “My ambition is to see us work together as churches in the community — to make the community a better place to live.”

Many churches don’t “keep the main thing the main thing,” said Tom Stacey, director of missions for Selma Association.

But Freedom Baptist does, he said.

“They’ve taken the high road on issues and have led this town in staying focused on preaching Jesus, living the life of sanctification and trying to make a difference in their town through ministry,” Stacey said. “When we do missions, they are there. They support this association and their activities and do their thing.”

Spicer has also taken his turn as moderator of the association.

“James Spicer is one cool-headed, praying dude,” Stacey said. “A lot of folks respect him.”

Maybe that’s because he and his church are involved in various activities with both predominantly black and predominantly white congregations. For instance, Spicer attends pastors luncheons twice a month, and Freedom Baptist participates in Jesus Day, an outdoor program put on by a committee comprised of members of various churches.

“We’re heavily involved in trying to unify the churches in Selma,” Spicer said.

But Freedom Baptist also wants to make a difference in Selma, and one of the ways it is doing that is by providing meals and activities for senior adults in the community.

The church also offers programs for at-risk children, teaching them to avoid drugs and alcohol and providing after-school tutoring.

“We’re trying to get them off the streets and teach them a skill that they can use,” Spicer explained.

Members of Freedom Baptist volunteer with Selma Christian Ministries to construct single-family houses and support the local crisis pregnancy center.

They also help with Alabama Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug recovery program; reach out to the area’s homeless population; and offer a computer literacy program. (TAB)

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