By now, you have seen many articles, news reports and columns about the passing of Jeffrey Rollins, the beloved pastor of Springfield Baptist Church for 25 years. And if you knew Pastor Jeff, you certainly understood the adjectives used to describe him - caring, selfless, loving, gracious, encouraging, giving and supportive. Many have added that they feel privileged to have known Jeff.
It was a good question.
On Friday evening, Jan. 24, I was walking into Strickland Funeral Home in Springfield when I met my colleague Pastor Bob Rogers from First Baptist Church of Rincon walking out. We exchanged pleasantries, as we always did, and then parted. I remember thinking as I walked into Strickland's, "Bob doesn't look so great. I wonder if he's OK." I regret not turning back around and asking him exactly that.
The parishioners of St. Boniface Church in Springfield hosted their seventh annual ecumenical supper Jan. 19 as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. All Effingham County churches and clergy were invited to attend.
The past few weeks, I have presided at more funerals than I have in any six-month period in my ministry. In so doing, I have witnessed grief so deep that I have been shaken, humbled, and reminded how quickly life changes. The story of Horatio Spafford came to mind more than once over these weeks.
First Baptist Church of Rincon will present its annual Christmas musical, "The Heart of Christmas," on Sunday at 6 p.m.
First Baptist Church of Rincon will host the annual Rincon Community Thanksgiving Service on Sunday at 6 p.m.
Two Effingham County churches are among the drop-off locations for the national collection week for Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts.
A 14-foot snowflake tree will adorn the First Baptist Church of Rincon float in this year's Rincon Lions Club Christmas parade, with 20 individualized snowflakes, one for each student killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Conn., last year, said Bill Gammon, FBC Rincon associate pastor.
First Baptist Church of Rincon will be providing free dental and medical exams, free children's clothing and a free car wash as part of its annual fall festival Oct. 26 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be free medical exams (basic check-ups such as blood pressure and eye checks), a free car wash, free children's clothing giveaway, in addition to more traditional fall festival activities such as children's games and booths.
On Sept. 8, Zion Lutheran Church joined together with the 4 million members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in nearly 10,000 congregations to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ELCA. At Zion, this opportunity was used to serve school children around the world by making and filling 70 school kits.
The Annie Moses Band epitomizes the notion that the family that plays together, stays together.
A team of 19 First Baptist Church of Rincon volunteers went to Sanyati, Zimbabwe, last month. While there, they presented "True Love Waits" to sixth- and seventh-graders, and read Bible stories, played music and games and performed puppetry for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Dr. Darren W. Thomas, minister of education at the First Baptist Church of Springfield, will be leaving Springfield to begin a new ministry position with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Asheville, N.C.
An upcoming 5K race will benefit a local church's mission trip to Africa this summer.
Everyone loves Christmas. Trees, lights, presents, songs, parties, and meals make Christmas a very special time every winter. But for Christians, Christmas is really only significant in light of Easter. The manger reflects its glory only in the witness of the empty tomb.
It's a good bet that church pews will be more packed than usual these next two Sundays. Local congregants and pastors will likely struggle to remember the names of those who come to pray and sing next to them on Palm Sunday and Easter Day. Once again, it is time for the CEO ("Christmas and Easter Only") crowd to emerge. My perspective on such folks is perhaps unique, stemming from a conversation I had years ago.
Among the many revelations I've had over the past decade in my ministerial experiences in Effingham County are the following truths: (1) there are many people with real needs in our community, and (2) I am incapable of discerning exactly who they are.
In Christianity, hell is often characterized as a realm in which God or love is completely absent. The great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky may not have been far off when he said, "I am convinced that the only hell which exists is the inability to love."
As my wife and I close in on 30 years of marriage, I suppose we will naturally look back and thank God for His care in our life together.
Can't you imagine the following conversation with a local youngster?
A few months ago, my teenage son Alex was competing in a national weightlifting competition outside St. Louis. The morning of his competition, I decided to forego the predictable hotel breakfast for fresh-cooked food at an omelet joint within walking distance.
Jamie Coots, pastor of a Middlesboro, Ky., church, died recently following a worship service in which he was handling snakes. I'll give you three guesses on the cause of his death.
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