As promised, I want to use this space over the next few months to explore our church’s Baptist identity. This is as much for me as it is for you! I am still learning the history and practice of the Baptist tradition, so let’s explore together. And hopefully, the net effect will be that we come a clearer understanding of who we are and what our place in the community is.
The first thing to say about Baptists may seem silly because it is so simple: Baptists are Christians. Duh. But it is still worth repeating. When the Baptist movement started in the 1600s, they weren’t starting a new religion, but they were recovering what they perceived to be the New Testament faith and practice, pruned of the Medieval accretions that characterized the Roman Church. In other words, they wanted to be a better version of the church and not a new religion altogether.
And even today, American Baptists are ecumenical (from the word that means “the whole world,” meaning the Christian faith that is in all times and places) Christians. Some Baptists may say they are the only kind of true Christians—and that everyone else is either in error or not Christian. But most Baptists agree that they are but one kind of Christian.
Baptists have tended to be non-credal (that is, not placing authority in creeds like the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed), for fear that doing so might add a layer of artificial authority and interpretation over the Bible itself. However, most Baptists would almost certainly agree with the gospel that is summarized in those creeds, which are embraced by a majority of Christians in the world. We all believe in the Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; in Jesus the eternal Son, who was born of the Virgin Mary, who died on the cross for our sins, who was resurrected from the dead, and who will come in judgment on the Last Day; in the Holy Spirit who inspired the apostles and prophets; in one holy Church, the Body of Christ; in baptism and the Lord’s Supper; in the future resurrection of all people and the Age that is coming.
This much we agree on with all Christians, regardless of what the signs in front of our buildings say! As the apostle said, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” So let us live in peace with all who are united with Christ.
Blessings and Peace,
Diaconate Meeting Minutes
Diaconate meeting of First Baptist Church was held on Sunday, September 9, 2018.
The meeting was called to order with an opening prayer by Rev. Ray McCalla.
Minutes of last diaconate meeting were read and approved.
Jim Bartelson talked to Kautzky Tree Care. Because of rain they haven’t done the tree at the parsonage yet but it is scheduled to be done this next week.
Jerry Rhoads has been on water duty at the parsonage for water in the basement. Thanks, Jerry!!
Reports are on file from Vicki Brown, Financial Secretary; and Luella Bartelson, Benevolence Secretary; Sandi Rhoads, Treasurer, mailed a check for $180.00 to buy out the copier. There was a question about a $32.00 bill that she received so she will call “Shawn” that she deals with and find out what the bill is.
We will discuss what to do with the parsonage at the quarterly meeting in October. Please give thought to what we want to do—rent or sell.
Ray give his report; the youth group has started on Wednesday nights the group is called BUMPY which stand for Baptist; United Methodist, Presbyterian Youth. Attendance has been good. Ray also attended the ABWM meeting in August; he also gave reports on home visits, the newsletter and the new website.
Sunday school started this morning and was well attended.
We discussed maybe having some kind of a fund raiser for Traci and Lisa. It will be discussed at the ABWM meeting on September 19th.
Jim closed in prayer.
Meeting adjourned at 12:30 PM.
Pastor Ray is gathering the Cass County Choral Society for a winter performance. The CCCS will sing “Sing Joy to All the World! A Christmas Celebration” on Friday, December 21, at 7:00 p.m. at the Atlantic High School auditorium. There will be a free-will offering for the group. If you would like to sing, the first rehearsal will be Sunday, October 21, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. at the Heritage House’s lower-level lounge. If you are interested, contact Ray for more details: (712) 250-1607.
Tour of Churches
Ever wonder what some of the other church buildings in town look like on the inside? This is your opportunity to see them! The Atlantic Ministerial Association, along with the Chamber of Commerce, is sponsoring the Tour of Churches: Sunday, December 16, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Visit each of the churches in town and see them in their Christmas-Advent splendor. Refreshments will be offered at each stop.
Ray and Rachelle are cooking up a cross-denominational handbell choir. Since the Presbyterians already own handbells and music, we want to play them—together! The goal is to have a Christmas performance: one Sunday during the Presbyterians’ 10:00 worship service, and the next Sunday at the Baptists’ 11:00 service. If you can lift a bell and count to four, please talk to Pastor Ray. We need ringers!
Quarterly Congregational Meeting
Our quarterly congregational meeting will be after worship on Sunday, October 14. After the meeting, we will share in a potluck lunch. Bring something to share!
World Mission Offering
International Ministries, also known as the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, works cross-culturally to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ and to proclaim, through both word and deed, God’s reign of justice, peace and abundant life for all creation. We will be receiving an offering during September and October to support the work of International Ministries. Watch for weekly inserts in our bulletins. Please give generously!
Visit these Web sites to learn more about International Ministries and the World Mission Offering.
Technology for the Tech-Illiterate
Michelle Andersen, director of the Atlantic Public Library, is offering a Digital Discovery Class. The classes will explore online resources that the library offers, as well as tech help for the tech needy. Older adults are welcome! Come to one or all of the meetings:
October 10, 17, 24, & 31, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Did You Hear?
Jim Field from KJAN interviewed Pastor Ray on Thursday, September 27, during the Heartbeat Today segment. If you missed the twelve-minute interview, it is archived as a podcast on KJAN’s Web site: http://www.kjan.com/index.php/2018/09/heartbeat-today-9-27-2018/
B.U.M.P.Y (Baptist United Methodist Presbyterian Youth)
Our ecumenical youth group is off to a great start. We hit a high of 31 youth last Wednesday, which is a great feeling! We gather every Wednesday from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Methodist fellowship hall (lower level). This is for all kids, grades 6-12. Supper is served!