The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists convened in its 156th annual session with Little Cowan Church, Whitesburg, Kentucky.
By early 1912, a group of people from Little Cowan Creek began to see their need of a Savior and a place to worship where the true Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached. We have no record before 1912, but we do know these people went about 20 miles by horseback or on foot to the Hurricane Gap Church of Regular Primitive Baptists on Linefork Creek. Elder D. F. Gilley was the moderator and a member. Soon several of them were saved and became members of that church, but they longed for a church near home. After much praying and trust in God, with an arm from the Hurricane Gap Church, our church was organized in June 1913, and was called the Little Cowan Church of Primitive Baptists. Elder D. F. Gilley was elected moderator and Bill Banks, church clerk.
Elder Gilley served as moderator from June 14, 1913 to September 1937; J. R. Peters, assistant moderator June 9, 1917 to March 8, 1919; Jim Maggard, assistant moderator, March 11, 1933 to June 14, 1934; Jesse Gilley, assistant moderator and moderator, May 10, 1937 to September 11, 1948; Bernard Banks, moderator February 10, 1945 to May 19, 1988; Logan Willis, moderator September 11, 1948 to July 9, 1949; May 10, 1952 to May 1953; J. H. Sybert, moderator May 15, 1950 to May 10, 1952; Bert Banks, moderator, May 10, 1958 to September 9, 1987; Oscar Irvin, moderator March 12, 1988 to March 19, 1998. Elder Woodrow Fields has been our good moderator since March 1998 to the present. Assistant moderators are John Banks and Tony Little; associate, Brad Dutton.
Other ministers who helped in organizing our church were: Elders A. N. Joyner, J. P. Peters, E. A. Robinette, F. M. Long, J. R. Peters, E. S. McPherson, Hal Lassiter, F. M. Phipps, and maybe others of whom we have no record. Charter members of our church were: Floyd and Alcy Banks, Bill and Susan Banks, Serena Jones, Susan Long, Peggy Day, Elizabeth Banks, Loretta Adams, Katie Day, Millie Bush, John D. Ison, Alec Ison, Lee Ison, Arminta Ison, Samantha Ison, Gilbert Boggs, and Malinda McDaniels.
Our church was received into the Eastern District Association October 2, 1913, with delegates J. F. Banks and Gilbert Boggs.
When the church was organized, services were held in the Little Cowan school house a few hundred feet from where our church now stands. Ground for the old school was given by James Banks, grandfather of Bernard Banks. A sum of money was given to the school board entitling the church use of the building for as long as it was needed.
Brother Bernard Banks donated land for the church house which was built in 1948. The building was dedicated September 12, 1948, with Elder J. H. Sybert preaching on Genesis 28:17 "this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." Later, additional land was purchased for the annex, which was dedicated to the memory of Sister Minnie Vae Banks.
God has been good to us these 95 years. Our membership today is 94. We are thankful the same God who inspired our forefathers nearly a century ago is still watching over and caring for His people. We believe if time should go on another 95 years, there will still be some at the Little Cowan Primitive Baptist Church who serve and worship the God of our creation in the same old-fashioned way.
The cool fall air greeted everyone as they gathered for the first meeting of the 156th session of this great gathering. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in singing several songs of praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Won't it be wonderful there when we enter glory land, knowing for sure that the Lord will be keeping us forevermore? Let us be a bright shining light for Jesus everyday so we can hasten to him, glad and free. Let us anchor our soul in the haven of rest to be safe ever more in Jesus Christ. From the dawn of creation, the wonderful story of love has encouraged the sinner to believe. His love was shown through the anguish He bore while suffering alone. It won't be very long till Jesus shall descend and all the saints will go home. We'll know each other by the smiles that we wear as we meet in the morning by the bright riverside. When the roll is called up yonder, we'll share the glory of His resurrection.
Elder Terry Sizemore, moderator of the association, welcomed everyone to today's services. What a privilege it is just to be here. Thank God for all the blessings throughout the year, and especially here at Little Cowan. Everyone must be mindful of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of the challenges in this life, we are headed for a better place. Elder Sizemore mentioned the passing of Elder Clyde Phillips since our last meeting and asked everyone to remember Elder L. E. Hill.
Sister Zula led the congregation in singing the association's standard song, "Brethren We Have Met Again." Whether you have attended this association for years, or if this is your first time, we pray God will truly bless you and make you feel welcome. The moderator thanked Sister Zula for her service to the association over the years.
Noah Hamer and Jerry Moore blessed us with their song and reminded us that sometimes we need to go back home to our father's house and take a servant's place to remind us of our blessings. When we go to Him, He'll greet us with a smile to welcome His children home.
Elder Sizemore reminded everyone to turn in their church letters now so the committee can review them. He appointed the Committee on Religious Exercises, which includes: David Horton (chairman), Roy Jones and Clifton Horne.
Prayer requests were made for the lost, and we were thrilled to hear about Roy Jones' youngest son, Justin, being saved and he asked us to remember his eldest son, Josh; Stella Sybert, Donald Sybert, Maxie Marcum, Hasco Jenkins, Bobby Williams, Faye Mallory, John Bowlin, John Turner, Gleason Storie, the elderly at Rose Chapel, Mr. Ward's brother-in-law and Jackie Gillenwater. Elder Robert Carter led us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer after his wonderful testimony.
Elder Woodrow Fields, pastor of the host church, thanked everyone for coming. He also thanked those who have helped in any way, especially all the ladies working in the kitchen and on the grounds. Thank God for all His blessings while preparing for the gathering of this grand body. For all those who have helped throughout the year and during this busy week, Little Cowan Church offers their heartfelt thanks. Regardless of what the contribution, the church thanks you for everything that has been done. How precious it is to know the Lord, for our help truly comes from Him.
Elder John Banks, having been chosen to preach the introductory sermon, came forward to take the first part of the service. With a resounding welcome, Elder Banks thanked God for everyone coming. Using as a thought, "Let us stay in the old path," he read from Titus 1:7-9. We must not be self-willed, but our will must be that of God. There is no place to stray from the straight and narrow ways established by the Father of all creation. We must be steadfast in His ways, not the ways of man. Let us be prepared for battle so when the sound of the trumpet comes, we will have the power of God. If we enter the battle divided, our children and grandchildren will not have the opportunities to hear His word preached. We must be aware of what goes on around us so we can tell everyone what the Lord says. If we trust in Jesus, everything will be alright, regardless of what man might think. The world can't take our hope away, for anything is possible in the Lord. There is nothing greater than salvation, for if we know the Lord, this old world cannot harm us. Let us continue to work in the vineyard so God can receive all the glory and honor. Elder Brad Dutton took the second part of the service, thanking God for the many blessings of life. We are glory bound if we heed our Father's will, for His light is still shining. When He died on the cross, man thought it was the end, but in three days the temple was raised for He is risen, just as He said. Blessed are they that believe what God said. One day soon we'll behold Christ Jesus, for we have a heavenly way wherein we must travel. There is no peace or satisfaction in this world, for we must return to our first love. Let us labor not for the things of this world that perish, but labor for Jesus who endureth forever. The table is spread with His precious word. We should put it to practice in our daily lives, for only the Lord can satisfy and set souls free. These men preached so wonderfully. Thank God for all our preaching brethren. Brother Dan Cross led us in singing while the congregation fellowshipped as we were adjourned for lunch.
The congregation enjoyed a wonderful lunch served by the host church. Sister Zula McCullough led several songs of faith and inspiration. We shall meet on that beautiful shore in the sweet by and by if we stand on the solid rock of ages. What a wonder that Jesus loves even me. The unseen hand leads and guides through ways we cannot see, much less understand. Over life's tempestuous seas, Jesus Savior will pilot His children. Some day when we've traveled our last mile here, we'll enter the life boat that will carry us safely home.
Further blessings came through wonderful testimony and songs of praise from Jason Robinette, Naomi Adkins, Joseph Robinette and Jerry Scalf. Deliverance shall come and we shall join in the triumph wearing palms of victory. We must never give up though the way grows dim; for because of Him, we will make it safely home. The Lord did not promise us smooth sailing all the way, but He did promise us a safe landing. We long to stroll over heaven some glad day when all our troubles have vanished away and we can enjoy all the beauties where all things are new. Greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world. Thank God for His marvelous grace!
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to the afternoon service and thanked the host church for the wonderful lunch. We are not looking for something new, but we are searching out the old paths.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, the McPeek family, Joyce Garland, Gene Wallen, Della Malone, Tee and Rosie Johnson, Lewis Roop, the lost in A. D. Howington's family, Clara Smith, Fred Gilreath and his son; Daniel Hurd, Tonya Ellison and her family, Sister Russell's grandchildren, Mike Peterson's wife. Elder A. D. Howington humbly took our petitions to the Lord.
Brother Billy Jack Johnson, Chairman of the Committee on Church Letters, came forward to give the report of our state and standing. A total of 64 churches were recommended by the committee to be accepted. The chairman explained that the clerk had received a letter from Mt. Mitchell Church informing him that they would not be lettering into the association this year, but they did plan to letter in next year. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendations of the committee and seat those delegates duly elected or appointed by their respective churches as the voting body of the association. One vote of nay was received concerning Peterson's Chapel Church. By majority rule, the vote of the delegation will stand. Elder Sizemore requested a motion to allow him to voice his opinion. It was motioned and seconded for him to do so. He asked each church to allow the love of God to move forward. Regardless of any past problems, we must trust in Him as we seek the old paths, for we cannot trust the theologies of the world. Elder Sizemore read a query and asked that it be printed in our minutes. The entry from Hopewell Church in 1896, reads as follows: Brethren, we ask this Association to state in the minutes, the difference in the doctrine they hold on election and predestination and that of the Calvinistic construction of the doctrine of election and predestination. We believe that the atonement of Christ redeemed the world from the condemnation that justice demanded an account of Adam's transgression, and that they who are lost on account of their own sins, because they will not obey the gospel. See Romans 5:12 and 18; John 12:47. We have from time to time set forth the doctrine of Christ in our minutes and the atonement of Christ contrasted with the limited atonement theory of Calvin. We believe in the doctrine of election and predestination as taught by the word of God which accords with the Christian experience that God loves the world with pity and graciously invites the whole race of Adam to obey his gracious law and live, and the law of grace commands all men everywhere to repent. Acts 17:30-31. We further believe God knew and chose and predestined the obedient or believer to everlasting life and the disobedient or unbeliever to perdition or eternal death. As we understand the doctrine of election taught by John Calvin, one of the great reformers and the founder of Presbyterianism, a man of great learning, who wrote much on the subject of religion and taught that God saw fit in His wisdom to select or elect from the fraternity of Adam a certain number out of Adam's posterity and provided a redeemer for them and gave them to Christ in contract or covenant and Christ atoned for them alone and the Spirit is only sent to them to lead them to God. While this doctrine has been visible among Baptists since the introduction 250 years ago, its entrance was opposed and is still opposed by the same element of Baptists everywhere. Hopewell Church, Hawkins Co., Tenn., Oct. 9, 1896
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials. Elder John Arnott was nominated. It was motioned, seconded and voted for nominations to cease. With a wonderful testimony and thanks to God for His love and for the health to attend for many years, Elder Arnott came forward to serve during the election.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business of the association.
It was motioned and seconded for Brother Danny Lawson to serve as clerk and treasurer. It was motioned and seconded for nominations to cease. Through the vote by acclamation, he will serve for the ensuing year.
It was motioned and seconded for Elder Terry Sizemore to serve as moderator of the association. It was motioned and seconded for nominations to cease. Through the vote by acclamation, Elder Sizemore will serve as moderator for the ensuing year.
Elder Sizemore thanked Elder Arnott for his years of service and dedication to this association. He also thanked God for his wife, Peggy, for her help and dedication over the years. Speaking for himself and the clerk, he thanked the delegation for the confidence placed in us over the years. We desire the prayers of God's children in everything we attempt during the next year. We pray the Holy Spirit will guide and direct us in all things.
Brother David Horton, Chairman of the Committee on Religious Exercises came forward to give the report.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Electrical and PA System: Delmer McPherson (chairman), Elders David Jerrell and Virgil Lipe, Scott Mellons, Bobby Caudill, Eric McPherson and Danny Lawson. Brother Delmer McPherson came forward to give his report for the committee. With permission from the association, a new amplifier was purchased. A cordless microphone has been borrowed from the same business where the new amplifier was purchased. It was expected the microphone could be given to those speaking during business proceedings to help everyone hear what was being said. The committee asked the association to decide if they wanted to use the microphone in this manner. Brother McPherson thanked the committee and the host church for all their work in setting up the electrical and PA system. It was motioned, seconded and voted to purchase the microphone at a cost of approximately $250.00 for use during the business proceedings.
The moderator mentioned that he should have asked for a motion and second to allow him to appoint any and all committees. He then asked for this motion and to accept the previously appointed committee for the electrical and PA system. It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator to appoint any and all committees.
The moderator appointed the following committees:
Committee on Newly Constituted Churches: Ministers Burnice Sybert (chairman), Glenn Cornett and Charley Johnson; Deacons Ronnie Brooks and Don Gordon; Laymen Clifton Horne and Null Lawson.
Committee on Finance: Neal Drinnon (chairman), Bill Winstead and David Smith.
Committee on Obituaries: Harold Head (chairman), Bill VanHoose and Shane Russell.
Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries: Greg Hill (chairman), Oscar Irvin, Lewis Baker, John Arnott, A. D. Howington, Brad Dutton and Tommy Meade.
Elder Sizemore dismissed the Committee on Church Letters for 2008 and appointed a new committee for 2009 which includes: Bill Maggard (chairman), Gary Henard, Ralph Baker and Don Gordon (alternate).
A question was raised from the floor concerning the need for a committee to help the church at Mt. Mitchell. The moderator explained that the church is making progress and to our knowledge, no action is needed at this time. No further comments or motions were forthcoming.
The moderator informed the delegation that school absence excuse forms are available from the clerk.
The clerk reported all financial transactions to the delegation, including a statement from the association insurance carrier that they have a group plan for any church in the association.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to have all things which are standard printed in the minutes.
The business being concluded, the delegation was dismissed until Friday morning, October 3, 2008.
The cold morning air did not dampen the spirits of God's children on the second day of services because they were still rejoicing from yesterday. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in song. We're on our way to Canaan land where there will be no tear dimmed eyes. What a blessed happy meeting when we meet in the morning just inside the eastern gate. Wonderful times are just ahead and our conflicts and trials will be past. I'll meet you in the morning to live through eternal ages. We know of a land built by Jesus where we'll never grow old. Earth holds no treasure to God's children because Heaven holds all to us. We have joy in this life, but when we meet our blessed Redeemer there will truly be joy without measure. When this old world casts us down, He speaks in that still small voice to whisper sweet peace.
We were blessed in song by Aubra Hill and Glenn Cornett. Shouts of praise and wonderful testimonies rang out from all over the tent as God so wondrously blessed His children. He took us to Calvary and washed us whiter than snow when He saved us by His marvelous grace. We should vow to die on the battle field fighting for the Lord. Jesus left His home and came to you and me; some glad day we'll meet Him in the clouds of glory to go home for eternity.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to today's service while thanking God for all His blessings. What an awesome God we serve. It is such a privilege to gather together one more time this side of heaven.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, all the requests from yesterday, those serving our country in the military; Eugene Greer, Eric Reed, Doris Burke's great-niece's family, Jim Burke, Jearlene Persinger, Lewis Baker, Darrell Laughlin, Mae Delph, Earl Vaughn, Francis Armstrong, O'Dell Arnott and L. E. Hill. Elder Oscar Irvin took us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
The delegation was called to order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
Sister Nettie Roberts blessed our hearts with testimony and song. We are standing at the feet of our King who gave His life for us, but He is alive forevermore.
Elder Allen Hensley, having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, came forward to take the first part of the service. Thanking God for His many blessings, he read I Corinthians 15:1-3 and used as a thought, "Just where do we stand?" We must stand where the Lord bids us to stand. If the spirit of God moves out, we are left desolate. We cannot worry about offending our family and friends; we must stand for the Lord. If God be for us who can be against us? God's word is forever settled in heaven and we cannot change it, even if we wanted to. We must honor Him today and put no others before Him. If we don't take our stand, what will we leave those coming after us? It is not God's will that any should die lost, but if they fail to believe Him, it is of their doing. He made a way that all who believe on Him shall be saved. We must depend on the word of God. He is not slack concerning His promises. We are the light of this world and we must be the keepers of the church. Elder Eckel Head followed with another message from on high. Let us walk in the path set before us. His word is truth and a guide for us through this life. He read Psalm 37:35, 39-40. If we stand for the Lord today, He will help us in this troubled world. He saved us from hell but He also saved us from the things of this world. He will see us through anything and everything we face here in this life. God placed us where He wants us to be; let us praise Him in all that we do. We know where we are headed and He will take care of us until we get to our heavenly home. We must stand for the Gospel of Christ regardless of what others may think and say. We sit here today under true gospel preaching that we all agree is backed by His Holy Spirit, but we must stand by it when we return to our churches and communities. Satan knows he cannot get our soul, so he works on our mind; but by the grace of God he can't have that either. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! God wonderfully blessed these men to preach the gospel and for this we give Him all the honor, praise and glory.
The congregation fellowshipped as we were adjourned for lunch.
After a delicious lunch served by the host church, the congregation came together in the tent with songs of praise. He allows us to face a frowning world as He wipes our weeping eyes so we can understand just how great God is. We'll reach our heavenly home through Christ. The greatest statement anyone can make is to say it is well with my soul. He nailed all our sins to His cross and we bare it no more. His unseen hand guides us through this weary land and while it leads we have no fear.
The congregation was blessed by singers from Richardson Chapel, West View and Daniel Smith. Just take a moment to say thank you Lord for all the times He has been there for us. We realize He is always there, but sometimes when we pray we are closer than at other times; but Christ is always there for us. There waits for us a great tomorrow. Only God knows where and when we shall go to dwell on Zion's Hill. We have a better home waiting for us, but we long to see Jesus, the One who died for us. Let us never forget to bow on our knees and cry holy to the Son of God.
Elder Sizemore thanked the church for the wonderful lunch and thanked God for such a wonderful place to be. Let us use our talents for His glory as urged by the Holy Spirit. We have complete liberty in the Lord. Elder Sizemore reminded us in song there is going to be a change. He came here to show us the way, and then He got on a cloud and went home.
Prayer requests were made for all those in the previous services, the unsaved, Virgie Grace Hill's children, Von Burton, Williams family, all those serving our country in the military and their families, Carson Johnson and family, Fred Fletcher, Daniel and Laura Rimer. Elder Greg Hill humbly led us to the throne of grace.
Sister Kay Johnson blessed us with a wonderful song and testimony. When things look hopeless Jesus is so real, for it is the realness of His spirit that sets us free. Thank you Jesus for all you've done, all you're doing and all you're going to do. Jesus paid the sin debt we each owed. It's still the blood that saves from sin. In this old world we have troubles, but in Jesus we have peace. Our true desire is to see someone come to know the Lord as their Savior and be saved.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
The moderator read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises.
The moderator announced several revivals that will begin soon.
The association regrets to report the passing of two of our trustees, Brothers Carl Peterson and Delmer Wallen, Sr. this past year. The moderator appointed Jim Bowlin as a trustee in Virginia and Larry Russell as a trustee in Tennessee.
The Committee on Newly Constituted Churches reported that none had been received.
The Committee on Finance reported $8,544.50 in receipts for the year. The chairman asked the churches to send additional money to help the association.
The Committee on Obituaries reported that 53 have been received at this time.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries reported that none have been received.
The moderator reminded those serving on the committees that they were released when their final report is given.
It was motioned, seconded and voted that the host church will be responsible for the maintenance of the kitchen, with any needed repair costs to be reimbursed by the clerk from association funds.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk $1,100 in appreciation for his services.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk to replenish the necessary forms to properly perform his duties.
Elders Mike Fullington, Jamie Jarnigan and Joe Pitzer came forward as members of the Circular Letter Committee to present their letter to this grand body. Our search is not in the new things of this world, but in God's holy word. We cannot go back just a few years, but we must look into the origin of our faith. This circular letter continued in the same spirit we have felt throughout this entire association. While its message is to our preaching brethren, it also applies to each child of God. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read. Each pastor is encouraged to read it from the pulpit of their respective churches.
The Holy Spirit so gloriously intervened in the business session.
The moderator appointed the Circular Letter Committee for 2009, which includes: Elders Roger VanHoose, Eckel Head and Fred Gilreath.
The clerk asked the delegation if they wanted him to have the Change of Membership form reprinted to change the year from a 19 prefix to a 20 prefix. He also informed them that the association website has a new domain name and requires a yearly fee of approximately $46.00. It was motioned, seconded and voted not to reprint the membership forms. It was motioned to reimburse the clerk for last year's fee and pay the fee for this year. A member of the delegation volunteered to host the website on TextCo Media's storage devices with a cost of approximately $10.00. The original motion was withdrawn and a new motion was made to reimburse the clerk for last year's fee and use TextCo Media as the domain server for the association website. The motion was seconded and voted on.
The association received an offering of $1,272.00 to defer some of the costs of the association.
The moderator requested that the complete address be printed in the minute as part of the directions to the host church to help those using GPS systems to find the church easier.
The moderator reminded the delegation that only church members or pastors can be seated as delegates for the association.
Before the process of deciding where the association will meet next year began, the moderator reminded the delegation that only those chosen or appointed by their respective churches as delegates were allowed to vote. There were 8 churches that asked for the association to meet with them next year. These are: Beech Grove, Burke's Union, Clear Springs, Fairview (OH), Little Cowan, Oak Grove, Richardson Chapel and Riverside. Before the plea process started, Beech Grove, Burke's Union, Clear Springs, Oak Grove and Riverside withdrew. During the plea process, Little Cowan withdrew, leaving the vote between Fairview (OH) and Richardson Chapel. By a clear majority, the delegation sent the association to Fairview Church, Bellbrook, OH where the Lord willing we will convene on Thursday morning, (October 1, 2009) before the first Saturday in October, 2009. Introductory Elder Jason Robinette; Alternate Elder Joseph Robinette.
Adjourned until Saturday morning, October 4, 2008.
We were once again greeted by cold morning temperatures, but God's children were thankful for another day of services. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation as they sung several songs of Zion. How beautiful heaven must be, for it is surely a fair haven of rest for the weary. Let us praise His name, tell of His excellent greatness and of His love unbounded. How we'll shout and how we'll sing in joyful song when the redeemed are gathering in. The angels must stand back, for they cannot join that song. Jesus pardoned our sin, now we can say we are saved and our soul has been redeemed. We love to tell of the unseen things above, especially of Jesus and His glory. Knowing Jesus makes us want to tell of His love wherever we go.
Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone to our memorial service as he thanked God for His tender mercies so gloriously bestowed upon His children. Thank God for the lives of those who came this way before us and have now gone on to their reward. We pray if there is one on the grounds that does not know the Lord in the free pardon of sin, that they might find Him today before it is too late.
Special blessings were received in songs of praise from Joe Pitzer, Carol Lipe, Bill Winstead and the singers from Sulphur Springs Church. God's children long to be in sweet Beulah land. The hardest time to pray is when victory is on its way; so when we don't feel like praying, just pray. He will move Satan out of our way. We can see the lights of that city, for we are nearing the shore where we will suffer no more. What a joy to know that Jesus loves even me. How sweet the sound of God's amazing grace. When we've been there ten thousand years, we'll have no less time to sing God's praise. Jesus is so wonderful because He first loved us.
The Little Cowan Church singers further blessed us with their songs of praise and wonderful testimony. Let us watch, work and pray to strengthen the wheel. Each spoke is needed to do His will and draw stronger in faith when we kneel. Jesus spoke to us when we were lost in sin's dark sea and now we are free indeed. He is still calling to those who don't know Him. He first loved us and now we can love Him more and more every day.
Thank God for the precious memories of loved ones as we celebrate their lives today in our memorial service.
We need to pray that God will open the hearts of those who do not know Him so they can be saved; also remember in prayer the requests made in previous services, our young people, Josh Jones, all those serving our country in the military and their families, Henry Wheeler, Dustin Lawson, Adam Lawson, Jack Winn, the Williams family, Doris Burke's great niece's family, Jim Burke, Brother Donnie's son and sister, Chris Winstead and Richard Chase. Elder Sizemore welcomed his dear friend, Missy Walton. Elder Burnice Sybert humbly took us to the throne of grace.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
The Committee on Religious Exercises conveyed they had no additional information to report.
The moderator reminded the delegation that Sister Eileen Brown still sends out notices of revivals and special services.Please let her know by the 20th of the month for the announcement to be included in the next month's announcements.
The clerk read the Resolution of Thanks that he had prepared. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
The moderator read the list of names of those that have left our ranks since we last met. Many of our loved ones have gone on to their reward since we last gathered. We cherish the fond memories of these dear saints of God. While we miss them, we know they are in a far better land and would not want to come back if they could. We praise God for having known them, for what they meant to us and most of all for the stand they took for Jesus. May the Lord continue to bless the families of these brave soldiers of the cross.
Having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, Elder John Arnott, who is celebrating 50 years in the ministry, came forward to take the first part of the service. He thanked God for allowing him the health to be here again and for being a part of this grand body of God's people. The passing of our loved ones can leave vacancies, but Jesus can fill them. Jesus also dreaded what He must face when He asked His Father to let this cup pass from Him. Paul saw Timothy's obedience and we can see it with us today, and we truly have much to be thankful for. He quoted a portion of I Cor. 15:2 in remembrance of these departed saints of God. We must remember the things of God. While our nation wants to forget, we must remember what we learned from past wars and other conflicts. God helped us through these, even though we were unprepared, and now we have all but forgotten. God has never forgotten any of the times we have fallen on our knees to call upon His Holy name. He paid our sin debt that we might have liberty. He was the Son of God, born of a virgin and His blood was the blood of God Almighty. Only He can cleanse us from our sin. He loved us and gave the Father glory as He went about doing His will. It is about the blood of Jesus and nothing else. As we grow older, it truly gets sweeter along the way. God is still in control whether man honors Him or not. There is none other besides the true and living God of all creation. Elder Terry Sizemore took the second part of the service, delivering another wonderful message from the Lord. The peace of God will truly set us free. As we gaze upon the creations of God, His peace so wonderfully comes over us. The past is under His blood and our will must be the will of God. The light of His love is on us; for while we were yet unlovable, Christ died for us. God's intervention will roll the stones from our path just as it was rolled away from the place where Jesus arose. Our victory is in Christ, just as it was for those who passed from our ranks this year. They depended on God and they remained steadfast in His work. Now it is up to us to be that light and do the Father's will. He never left these saints and He will never leave nor fail us. The brook of His spirit will not run dry nor leave us empty. We need to be obedient to the Lord's command, just as He is obedient to the Father. We need to quit thinking with the carnal mind and start obeying what saith the Lord. We should also move forward beyond our carnality because every time we need the Lord, He is right there.
These men were a blessing because they obeyed the Spirit and preached what the Lord gave them. Thank God for them and all our preaching brethren that stand to share the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We look forward to this wonderful occasion, and before we know it our time together has passed. Smiling faces and special greetings for each other were evident as God's children gathered for the last meeting of this grand body. The Lord richly blessed His children during the 156th annual session of the association. This meeting is just a foretaste of that glad reunion day we are so looking forward to. The folks at Little Cowan were rejoicing and thanking God for all He has done for them during this past year, and especially during this special week of services. We thank God for this time together and we know the Lord will continue to bless in our respective churches as we return home.
The congregation assembled in the church for today's service, still rejoicing from the blessings of the past few days. What a wonderful day when we gather over home never to part again! We'd like to stay here longer, but we'll live in glory by and by. We can be of service along this pilgrim way by telling and singing the wonderful story of Jesus. When the sun sets over Jordan, we'll be going home. We are led by still waters and fed in green pastures by our heavenly Father. As we journey through this weary land, we cannot find our way alone; but if we walk a little closer to the Lord, His helping hand will guide us.
Elder Woodrow Fields, pastor of the host church, thanked God for everyone in attendance at today's service. His Holy Spirit fills us and supplies our every need, Jesus Christ. Without His amazing grace, we would be most miserable. We continue to pray the Lord will speak to some lost soul that they might be saved.
Elder Brad Dutton opened the service with a welcome to everyone. Man can welcome you, but it is God who truly makes us feel welcome. We feel right at home this morning and thank God for His wonderful spirit. We were blessed with special singing from Faye Banks, Ramona Caudill and Paula Jackson, Nettie Roberts and Brad Dutton. We heard good news from a far country. He raised Lazarus after four days and they said He was too late, but He was still right on time. An empty grave is there to prove our Savior lives and we can face tomorrow because all fear is gone. As we see the lights of glory, we know He reigns. He will carry our heavy loads if we let Him. One day soon, we'll stroll down the street of gold and walk on the peaceful shore. We look for a city where no storm clouds ever gather, but when we get to heaven, He'll wipe away our tears. There's a light at the river to help us safely to the other side, where we'll look upon the One who made it all possible.
After many wonderful testimonies, prayer was requested for the unsaved all over this country and around the world. Please continue to remember: all the requests of previous services, Dorothy Caudill's sister, Harold's family, Jack Roberts, Paul Jackson's, grandchildren, Glennis Little's family, the sick among us, and many unspoken requests signified with uplifted hands. Brother Danny Lawson led us to the throne of grace.
Reminiscing about the wonderful year they have had while sitting together in heavenly places, we were blessed with wonderful testimonies from all over the house. Thanks be to God for all the efforts put forth to help the association. Without God in our midst, all would have been in vain. Thank God for the churches that dismissed their services to be here today.
We thank God for all the ministers that were in attendance at today's services. To the best of our knowledge, each one took a part in the service in some way. Elder Jerry Persinger took the first part of the service as he read I Peter 1:3-6 and used as a thought, "How is our hope this morning?" We must do the job set before us today. Be not afraid of what man might say or think, but look to God the Redeemer and Keeper of our faith. We have an inheritance because Christ shed His blood on the cross. He took it all upon Himself when He died for our sins on the cross of Calvary. Man corrupts everything he touches, but we have an inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled in Jesus Christ. There is trouble everywhere we look, but God is still in control because He fadeth not away. God's promise of eternal life is incorruptible. Search the scriptures to find out the true things of the Father, for this is how we find the old paths and walk therein. He is God and besides Him there is no other. Jeff Holbrook took the second part of the service for his stirring message. God gave us some wondrous things and when we see them come to pass, the time is near when He shall come after His bride. If the created becomes larger than the creator, then there is a problem in the midst. It is a joy from above just knowing we will be home forevermore. We are kept by His Holy word, for we are now the sons of God.
Elder John Banks closed out the service with wonderful words of encouragement for the saints of God. Thanks be to God for what we have heard today and felt in our heart. Please remember the lost that the word may be declared unto them.
I have attended this church since I was a baby, and all down through the years there are so many memories, it is hard to control the emotions felt here. These are memories not only of many saints gone before us, but many new ones here today. We have so many fond memories of our days here at Little Cowan. Many faces we remember from past years are not with us, but the Lord blesses us with so many wonderful memories and new friends. I thank God for the privilege of attending this blessed event and seeing so many friends. Most of all, the Spirit of God is here with us and there is no way we can ever repay Him for all He has done. I thank God for the privilege of working with this grand body of God's children. It is a truly wonderful experience just to be here today.
We were dismissed with song and fellowship until we meet again.