The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists convened in its 157th annual session with Fairview Church, Bellbrook, Ohio.
Over 70 years ago, people from various mountain sections of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky began to migrate to this area of Ohio as they sought a more prosperous way of life. Many found employment in industrial plants in this area and established their homes and farms in the vicinity.
Although they were enjoying their new homes and better means of earning a living, there was something not quite to their satisfaction. They visited various churches and sought to worship with them, but there was a spiritual atmosphere they had known previously that was missing from them here. They started having services in their homes, in groves, or wherever a building could be found when weather conditions prevented them from meeting outside. As they enjoyed these services, a need for a church building of their own was felt.
The location where the church now is, and where an old church building had stood many years ago with an adjoining cemetery, was offered to them and arrangements were made for it to become the permanent location of a band of Primitive Baptist people. This was made possible with the help of "Uncle" George Driskel, who owned the land. Although he was a member of another organization, he was a true friend of this church.
The original building was erected and in August, 1938 the church was formally organized with the help of Elders E. A. Robinette, W. H. Burke, H. V. Hall and J. H. Sybert. The building was dedicated, and the first Union Meeting held. The church was admitted to the Eastern District Association in October, 1938 with 37 members on roll.
The original 18 charter members included Brothers Orbin Barnett, Claude Barnett, Clyde Barnett, Jesse Barnett, Dewey Bledsoe, Hammie Fleenor, Lewis Joyner, Bryan Moore, Rhea Johnson, and Clarence Slagle and Sisters Minnie Barnett, Hattie Barnett, Helen Barnett-Slagle, Lillie Bledsoe, Ollie Fleenor, Mary Gilliam, Euna Joyner and Mary Moore. These brothers and sisters have all gone on to be with the Lord.
The original building was remodeled and improved from time to time. The present building was completed and dedicated in November, 1965. The old building is presently being used as a Fellowship Hall. Present membership is 133.
Elder Clarence Slagle, who was the first pastor, served in that capacity the greater part of the time until 1976, and others who have served as pastor include the following: Elders Joe Dean, Frank Brown, Roland Callahan, Charles Roller, Luther Abrams, Bryan Moore, Elmer Parsons, Crawford Sage, Ron Bledsoe, Kenneth Mitchell, and Hasco Jenkins, who just recently passed away. Current pastors are Elders Jason Robinette and Joseph Robinette, his son and assistant.
The first Deacons included Brothers Orbin Barnett, Lewis Joyner and Bryan Moore, who all are at rest with the Lord. The influence from their guidance is still remembered and felt here. Others who have served as Deacons in the past were Brothers Owsley, Leonard Davis, Homer Lovins, Jim Osborne, Crawford Sage, Bobby Taylor, William Vanover, Kyle Vanzant, Ron Bledsoe, Kenneth Mitchell, Emerson Browning and Morris Giles. Current Deacons are Brothers Ray Eldridge and Eldon "Sonny" Wallen.
Brother Lewis Joyner was the first Clerk/Treasurer and served the church well until moving to Florida in 1966. The next Clerk was Sister Virginia Hall Osborne, daughter of Elder Hobart Hall, who served until her untimely death in January, 1974. Next was Sister Berneda Moore Vanover, daughter of Elder Bryan Moore, who served until 1979 when she moved to Tennessee. She was followed by Sister Betty Barnett Livingston, granddaughter of Brother Orbin Barnett, who served until 1982. She was succeeded by Brother Kenneth Mitchell, until his untimely death in 2002. He was succeeded by his wife, Sister Charlene Slagle Mitchell, who is still serving as Clerk, with Sister Lois Taylor as her Assistant.
In 1950, Sister Georgia Moore Sage, daughter of Elder Bryan Moore, was elected as Treasurer, and served well until her death in 2008. The current Treasurer is Betty Barnett Livingston, with Brother Keith Sage, son of Georgia Sage, as her Assistant.
Presently serving as Trustees are Brothers Eldon "Sonny" Wallen, Cleve Mitchell, and Will Rowe. Trustees who served over the years include Brothers Orbin Barnett, Bryan Moore, Claude Baker, Harry Brown, Cleveland Slagle, John Osborne, Lace Maynard, Homer Lovins, Kenneth Mitchell, Ron Bledsoe, George Livingston, Morris Mounts, William Webb, Leonard Davis, Dewey Bledsoe, Sherman Cole, Dale Cole, Chuck Davis, Warren Kail and Eric Mitchell.
In the name of the Lord, we thank each of you here today and all those who have gone ahead of us to meet the Lord, for the strength and guidance you have given this church throughout the years.
The setting of this association is the 4th time the association has met with this church since it came to be a part of this body. We take this opportunity to offer our sincere thanks to all sister churches who have in any way assisted in preparing for this 157th Annual Session of the Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists. May God's richest blessings be upon you all.
The frosty morning gave way to bright sunshine, which warmed the air as God warmed the hearts of His children. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in song. This world and its sorrows will all pass away in the sweet bye and bye when we meet on that beautiful shore. God's matchless love assures us that forever we will be with the One who suffered in our place. Draw us nearer, blessed Lord to the cross where Thou hast died. We are on our way to a land where our darkest night will turn to day and the soul of man never dies. Joy without measure will be our treasure in our heavenly home where loved ones are watching and waiting our coming. Don't long for this world and its sorrows, for Jesus bled and died to take away our sin. Then sings our soul, our Savior God to thee, how great Thou art!
Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone to today's service with a verse of Amazing Grace. We were once blind, but now we see clearly. When we've been there ten thousand years, we'll just begin to live. These hallowed grounds are precious to us. As we look out over these memorials, we know this is not the final resting place for the saints of God. We thank God for each one, for we know they wait on the Lord's return to receive His children home.
Sister Zula led the congregation in singing the old song that has become the association's standard song, "Brethren We Have Met Again." Let us pray that holy manna will be showered all around.
Elder Sizemore mentioned the passing of Elder Hasco Jenkins since we last met. It was also noted that Elder James (Jimbo) Calhoun passed from us, too. He reminded everyone to turn in church letters and obituaries. Don Gordon was appointed as an alternate on the Church Letter Committee during 2008, which would make two voting members from the same church on the committee. Don agreed to hold off until next year, so the moderator appointed David Horton to the Church Letter Committee for 2009.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Religious Exercises which includes: Joe Robinette (chairman), Sam VanHoose and Billy Jack Johnson.
Prayer requests were made for the lost, our country, our churches, those serving in the military, each other, Sister Townsie Godsey's family, Bobby Williams, Tammy Pendleton, Allen Hensley, Tee and Rosie Johnson, John Turner, Josh Jones, Eckel Head, Clifton Horne's mother and brothers, A. D. Howington, Lolita Horne, John Bowlin, Jim Bowlin, Maxie Marcum, Henrietta Adams, John Arnott, Jess and Lillie Akens, Donald Lowell Johnson and family, those that could not be here in the service, and many unspoken requests signified with uplifted hands. After his wonderful testimony, Elder John Turner led us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
Elder Jason Robinette, pastor of the host church, welcomed everyone with his testimony and song. We shall wear palms of victory and crowns of glory, for deliverance will come and we will reach the Promised Land.
Having been chosen to preach the introductory sermon, Elder Robinette took the first part of the service. He read Psalm 87, the same chapter read in 1974 by his grandfather, Ben Hill, and used as a text "The City of God." Let us come forward that others can see our true and living God. We were on the outside looking in, but thanks to God, He made the way for us to enter the city not made with hands. The foundation was laid long ago and we have a home whose builder and maker is God. Alienated and far off, God made a way for us that we might be heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Now we are the light of the world - a city set upon a hill that cannot be hid. The best is yet to come for God's children. Jesus will descend from heaven and we'll meet in the air, ever to be with the Lord.
Elder Joseph Robinette took the second part of the service. We're headed for a city where no sorrows ever come, and we'll all live together over there. Thank God for that city. He read from Hebrews 11:13-16, "God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city." Though we are now in a wilderness, we seek a country to come, a city not made with hands. He takes care of our treasures in His vast storehouse. While the inward man is renewed daily, this outward man is appointed once to die, but this inward man will live throughout eternity. Our steps may be getting slower, but one day we'll run. God holds the key to salvation and He is still able to save.
Adjourned for lunch.
After a bountiful lunch served by the host church, the congregation gathered in the tent for the afternoon service. It won't be very long till Jesus shall appear; that day is drawing near. If we keep trusting the unseen hand that guides us through this weary land, it will lead us to our heavenly home. What joy it is to know that Jesus loves us. In God we can bid farewell to every fear and wipe our weeping eyes to face the frowning world. Some day when we've traveled our last mile here, we'll enter the lifeboat which will carry us safely home. Through Christ we will safely reach heaven our home, for He will hold to our hand. What a day, glorious day when we shall look upon the face of the One who saved us by His marvelous grace.
We were blessed with songs and testimony from Leona Keester, Elder Darrell Ratliff, Aubra Hill and Elder Terry Sizemore. We have a better home where no sin can ever come. Our faith will end in sight when we reach sweet Beulah land. There is a place where people don't die, hearts don't break and people live forever. Jesus came here to show us the way, and one day soon the saints will arise to meet in the skies to get on a cloud and go home.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to the afternoon service and thanked the host church for the wonderful lunch. We are truly thankful that He did not come here to save this body, but to show us the way of eternal peace and joy.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, those made during the morning service, Terry Ketron, L.E. Hill and his family, Kristi Snapp, Ruby Osborne, Gleason Storie, this grand old body, Ralph and Anna Lawson's sons and Anna's brother, all those serving our country in the military and their families, and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Elder Tommy Meade took our petitions to the Lord.
Brother Gary Henard, chairman of the Committee on Church Letters, came forward to give the report of our state and standing. He noted the letters from Jenkins Chapel and Shelby Creek were not received. A total of 63 churches were recommended by the committee to be accepted. 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.
This delegation was seated in order to conduct the business of the association.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials. Elder Greg Hill was nominated. It was motioned, seconded and voted for nominations to cease. Elder Greg Hill came forward to serve during the election.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as clerk and treasurer of the association. Brother Danny Lawson was nominated to serve as clerk and treasurer and a second was received for the nomination. It was motioned and seconded for nominations to cease. Through the vote by acclamation, he will serve for the ensuing year.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator of the association. Elder Terry Sizemore was nominated to serve as moderator of the association and a second was received for the nomination. 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 Hill for standing as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials.
Speaking for himself and the clerk, he thanked the delegation for the confidence placed in us for these positions. It is an honor to represent this grand old body. It is taken very seriously and every attempt is made to act in a manner befitting these offices that God may receive the honor and glory. We desire the prayers of God's children in everything we attempt during the next year.
The moderator asked for a motion and second to allow him to appoint all committees necessary to carry on the business of the association. It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator to appoint any and all such committees.
Brother Sam VanHoose 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
The moderator appointed the following committees:
Committee on Newly Constituted Churches: Ministers - Eddie Malone (chairman), Jerry Johnson and Bobby Carter; Deacons - Steve Minton and Doug McClain; Laymen - Larry Russell and Null Lawson.
Committee on Finance: Jim Lykins (chairman), Bill Winstead and Daniel Smith.
Committee on Obituaries: Greg Hill (chairman), Josh Couch and David VanHoose.
Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries: Oscar Irvin (chairman), Lewis Baker, Scott Tipton, Shane Russell, Burnice Sybert, Brad Dutton and Richard Seiber.
The moderator informed the delegation that excused absence forms for school are available from the clerk.
The clerk reported all financial transactions to the delegation.
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 2, 2009.
The Lord blessed us with rain on the second day of this grand event, but this didn't dampen the spirits of God's children as He so richly blessed. Sister Zula led the congregation in songs of praise. In that land where we'll never grow old, we can praise Him in the way He so richly deserves. Won't it be wonderful when the trials of this life are over and we can live with Christ some happy day?
The congregation was blessed with special singing and testimony from the Copper Creek Church singers and June Kail. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away our sin and make us whole. The unseen hand leads us through this world of woe and will lead us to that home where neither sin nor sorrow can come. Beyond the grave is a land prepared by God's own hand that will be home to all the saints of old.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to today's service. Thank God for the blessing of gathering one more time with His children. God knows exactly what we need.
Elder Oscar Irvin apologized to the association and Elder Bobby Williams for the misinterpretation concerning the doctrine of the predestination of souls. Let us stand together that we may have the drawing power of God in our midst. When we walk together, Jesus' name will be lifted up and He will draw men to Him.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, all the requests from yesterday, those serving our country in the military and their families, our association, our country, Della Mae Malone and her family, Eckel Head, John Turner, Gary Fitch, Tammy Pendleton, Elizabeth Jenkins, Gerald Jones, Stella Sybert, Eugene Wallen, Eugene and Dexal Greer, Junior and Wanda Osborne, Emily Snell and many unspoken requests signified with uplifted hands. Elder Neal Drinnon blessed us with his wonderful testimony just before taking us to the throne of grace in a soul-stirring 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.
Elder John Turner, having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, came forward to take the first part of the service. His testimony blessed us so wonderfully as he described how he got started in this grand old body. He read St. John 1:36-46, using as his text a portion of the 46th verse, "Come and see." Nathaniel said, "Can there be any good thing come out of Nazareth?" When we see the Lord for ourselves, we can come to know Him. Jesus can give us a drink from which we will never thirst again. When we ask God in faith believing, we will receive. The woman at the well went away saying, "Come see a man who told me all things." Jesus is passing by, and all who believe shall be saved. Thank God for old time salvation. We have to come and see for ourselves to receive God's blessings.
Elder Roger VanHoose followed with another wonderful message and song. When we get saved, we learn what life is really about. Our real home is on high where no tear drops will dim our eyes. We must decrease that Christ might increase. God is well pleased with His son, and we depend on Him. God's word tells us the poor shall have the gospel preached unto them. We know that God is with us, for no man can do these miracles without Him. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. Men shall not enter into heaven unless they are saved by grace through faith. Salvation will take us through this life safely to the other side. Because of Him we live today. Thank God for the privilege of meeting to worship our Lord in truth and spirit. Pray that God will open the sinner's eyes that they can see what we have in serving our Lord.
The congregation worshiped God in song as we were adjourned for lunch.
The congregation came together in the tent with songs of praise after a wonderful lunch served by the host church. No matter what we may see in this old world, nothing is better than an old time Christian. Christ shed His own blood for our soul, our sin is nailed to the cross and we bare it no more; therefore, we can proclaim it is well with our soul. On Christ the solid rock we stand, for all other ground is as sinking sand.
We were blessed with wonderful songs and testimony by Joe Sizemore, Elder Daniel Smith and Faye Mallory. This weary land brings us pain and sorrow, but the first ten thousand years will be our grand homecoming as we step inside those gates of pearl. How sweet the sound of God's amazing grace that taught our heart to fear and grace our fears relieved. Grace led us safe thus far and it will lead us safely home. Jesus saved us and His sweet assurance is enough to take us home.
Elder Sizemore thanked the church for the wonderful lunch and thanked God for such a wonderful place to be. We thank God most of all for the precious soul that was saved this morning in the church. Victoria Ramey came to know the Lord in the free pardon of sin. God is able to save those that will come to Him.
Prayer requests were made for all those in the previous services, the unsaved, all those serving our country in the military and their families, Michael Willis, Earl Johnson, Darrell Laughlin, Brenda Russell's grandchildren and daughter, Glennis Little's family, Eula Sturgill, Darrell and Shirlene Manis and family, Christy Thompson, Phil Crittenden's sister, Tanner, Marshall Johnson, Richard Stevens' brother and coworker, Missy Wallen and many unspoken requests. Brother Billy Jack Johnson blessed us with his testimony and led us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
Brother Sam VanHoose read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises.
The Committee on Newly Constituted Churches reported that none had been received.
The Committee on Finance reported $9,028.40 in receipts for the year. The chairman thanked each church and individual for their contributions.
Elder Bill Winstead praised God and thanked the association for their prayers and contributions on behalf of Donnie Johnson. The contributions allowed him to get water up on the mountain in his home and to fix other things.
The Committee on Obituaries reported that 53 have been received at this time.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries reported that one query had been received. The query had three parts as follows: 1.) Are all ministers listed in our minutes without an asterisk ordained? 2.) Does the asterisk by a name mean they have been set aside to be ordained? 3.) Is it also for those not set aside to be ordained? The chairman read the query to the delegation three times. Our minutes show the names, addresses and telephone numbers of ordained and liberated ministers with the name of the church where each retains his membership. At the end of the minister's list is a notation concerning the asterisk used to denote non-ordained, yet liberated ministers which states: *These ministers have been recognized by their church as having a gift. Their church has given them the authority to exercise their gift. They are therefore liberated to preach, but are not as yet legally ordained ministers. The committee gave the following answers: 1.) Yes; 2.) No, but they are liberated to preach the gospel. The church that set them aside will ordain them when they are satisfied of their true calling. 3.) Yes. The committee recommended the words "as yet" be removed from the notation resulting in the following: *These ministers have been recognized by their church as having a gift. Their church has given them the authority to exercise their gift. They are therefore liberated to preach, but are not legally ordained ministers. It was motioned, seconded and voted to bring it to the floor for discussion. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the committee's recommendation to make the change in our minutes. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendation of committee.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries recommended that some of the business be moved from Friday's business session to Thursday's session. Some things that could be considered to be moved are: the reading of the circular letter, discussion of the allowance granted to the clerk in appreciation for his services, allowing the clerk to replenish the necessary forms, etc. to save time and hopefully even out the business for each day. It was motioned, seconded and voted to address this request. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendation of the committee. It was motioned to give the moderator discretion to move business items as needed during the seating of the association. It was noted this has been done in the past and the moderator has this authority, but the motion was seconded and voted to ensure this authority was updated.
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 $1,200 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.
Brother Gary Henard came forward to give the final report of the Letter Committee. The letters from Jenkins Chapel and Shelby Creek were received and examined by the committee. They recommended accepting these churches and seating their delegates as part of the voting body of the association. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept these churches. This makes a total of 65 churches.
Elder Sizemore appointed the Committee on Church Letters for 2010 which includes: Ralph Baker (chairman), David Horton, Don Gordon and Bradley Bowen (alternate).
Elders Roger VanHoose, Eckel Head and Fred Gilreath prepared the circular letter. Elder VanHoose came forward to read the letter to this grand body. Its message was to everyone that we might recall the duties of a Christian. In God's eyes, we were all in sin, so let us walk upright in a manner pleasing to God. We must forgive as He forgives us. Keep pressing for the peace of God. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
Elder Burnice Sybert recommended that each pastor read the circular letter, articles of faith, rules of decorum and the church covenant during our church services to help people know and understand just what our association is about. A pastor's duty is to not only preach the gospel, but to teach his congregation. There is no need for a motion in this matter, because our pastors should be more than willing to do this in our churches.
The moderator appointed the Circular Letter Committee for 2010, which includes: Layman Larry Russell, Elder Scott Tipton and Deacon Roy Jones.
Before the process began for deciding where the association will meet next year, the moderator reminded the delegation that only those chosen or appointed by their respective churches as delegates were allowed to vote. There were 3 churches that asked for the association to meet with them next year. These are: Beech Grove, Burke's Union and Richardson Chapel. Before the plea process started, Beech Grove and Burke's Union withdrew. By a unanimous vote, the delegation sent the association to Richardson Chapel, Louisa, KY where the Lord willing we will convene on Thursday morning, (September 30, 2010) before the first Saturday in October, 2010. Introductory - Elder Neal Drinnon; Alternate - Elder Brad Dutton.
Adjourned until Saturday morning, October 3, 2009.
The cool morning air gave way to bright, beautiful sunshine as God's people gathered for our memorial service. Our Savior hears our humble cry and when we trust His marvelous grace, He will not pass us by. Showers of blessings sent from the Savior above allow mercy drops to fall around us. There is a blessed happy meeting awaiting the saints of God in the morning just inside the eastern gate. Keep your lamps all trimmed and burning and for the bridegroom watch and wait. We see the stars; we hear the rolling thunder as God's power throughout the universe is displayed. As we think of God, His son not sparing, we scarce can take it all in. Marveling at His power, we bow in humble adoration and proclaim, "My God how great Thou art!"
Special singing from Sammy VanHoose was a wonderful blessing to the congregation. As we contemplate the fact that our heart is like a house and there are things we may not like to deal with. When we let Jesus in, He will clean out the hidden sins.
Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone to our memorial service as he thanked God for the beautiful morning. The markers remind us of precious memories of the dear saints that have gone on before us.
Jason Robinette, pastor of the host church, blessed us with his song of praise. Let us take off the old coat and put on the new coat of our Lord and Savior. He thanked the grand body and the local businesses for helping to make this gathering possible. A special thanks for the women of the church and the township trustees, but above all thanks to the great God of heaven.
We were further blessed by special singing from the Fairview Church youth. God loves the little children. They reminded us to build our house on the Lord Jesus Christ. It takes the young, middle aged and the old for the church to function as it should. Just as these young people sang, everything's gonna be alright. When we go in God's name, everything will work out as it should.
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, all those serving our country in the military and their families, Becky Justice, Gary Fitch and family, Eckel Head, Woodrow and Barbara Fields, John and Odell Arnott, John Turner's children, Jim Lykins and family, our churches, each other, Christy Thompson and many unspoken requests. Elder Harold Shaw blessed us with his wonderful testimony just before leading us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
The clerk requested that a change be made in the reading of Friday's minutes to include the name of the young lady, Victoria Ramey, saved in Friday's church service. It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read with the change requested by the clerk.
The Committee on Religious Exercise conveyed their final report as they noted changes for Saturday night services. Rose Chapel will not meet so they can meet with the host church.
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. Thank God for the precious memories of these dear friends and loved ones that have gone on to their reward. These memories get us through the trying times of this old world.
Elder Tommy Meade requested that a change be made for the minister asked to preach the introductory sermon next year at Richardson Chapel. He asked that Elder Neal Drinnon preach the introductory sermon instead of himself.
Having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercise, Elder Burnice Sybert came forward to take the first part of the service. We will know our blessed Redeemer when we reach the other side. We long to see our Savior first of all. As we recall those who have passed on during this year and in years past, our hearts may be sad, but we rejoice in knowing they are with the Lord. It is extremely important to include our young people in church activities and in our association so they can understand what this grand body is all about. Elder Sybert read John 12:20-32 and used as his text a portion of the 21st verse, "We would see Jesus." God created the heavens and the trinity spoke and said, "let us make man in our own likeness." They knew what man would be; that he would sin, but making man was a labor of love. We can't comprehend what the Godhead may look like, but God's word tells us if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. As God walked in the cool of the day, He knew where Adam was, but He asked where he was. He knew man had failed and man has not walked in the same way with God since Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden. When we seek Jesus, we must have a desire to know about Jesus personally. To do this, He must be lifted up at Calvary through the preaching of the gospel. Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me." These dear saints are resting today in the presence of the Lord. Soon there will be revealed a mystery that we shall be changed in a moment and a twinkling of an eye.
Elder Terry Sizemore took the second part of the service, delivering another wonderful message from the Lord. We must recognize the order where God uses people. Let us go where our help will ultimately come from, Jesus. We have a responsibility to help our people see Jesus. We had to go to the source and we must show our people that the true source of our existence is Jesus Christ. Salvation can only come from Jesus. We can't save them, but we can take them where Jesus is. His power reveals the Lord to people today as in the past. God helps us to get the word out to our people that they might see Jesus. Our people will see Jesus in our lives if we live for Him and put Him first in our life. We are that light set on a hill and men must look at the church to see Jesus in the lives of the saints of God. We would see Jesus in each other, for God's children are the church and it is in our lives that others can see Jesus.
These men were a blessing, for they preached Jesus and Him crucified. Praise God for all our preaching brethren that stand from time to time and preach Jesus. The Lord is coming again. Heaven will surely be worth it all. Thank God for His storehouse of blessings that He has blessed us with during this time.
God has really blessed his people this week and today we still rejoice on this, the close of the 157th Association. The weather is cool, but sunny.
You certainly could feel the spirit of God as the congregation sang "I'll Fly Away," "I'm Living in Canaan Now," "Redeemed" and "How Firm a Foundation."
Elder Jason Robinette opened the service, announcing there would be a baptizing following the service. Numerous prayer requests were made, including Sammy VanHoose's granddaughter; Sherry Rowe on behalf of Morris Mounts, Annie Cole's brother who is still out in sin and all those in sin. Elder Roger VanHoose led us to the throne of grace with a most humble prayer.
Elder Jason Robinette led the congregation in a song "When I Get Home" that Elder Clarence Slagle introduced to us many years ago.
Special singing by: The Fairview Youth sang "This Little Light of Mine" and "Everything's Gonna be Alright;" June Kail sang "I Call it Home;" Living Water sang "Mama's Just Walking by the Living Water with God" and "I'm Heading Home." The Clearview Singers sang "I've Got So Much to Thank Him For," "Four Days Late" and "When This World Comes to an End, Thank God with Him I Will Live Again."
Elder Daniel Smith sang "Hide Me Rock of Ages" and "Old Man." He then brought the message from Job 14:7, "The Hope of a Man," and the 14th verse - "If a man die, shall he live again?" Because He lives, you can live also.
Elder Josh Robinette came forward and read from Genesis 3:22. I'll never leave you nor forsake you, but I will go with you all the way. God is able.
There was definitely a convicting spirit felt by the elders and many others. The congregation sang "Holy Manna," "Do Not Pass Me By," "Kneel at the Cross" and "Precious Lord Lead Me On." No one came forward at this time, but by uplifted hands requests were made for the prayers of God's people.
In closing, singing "Amazing Grace" and "Crimson River," we moved on to the river side for baptizing.
We thank all for their love, prayers, donations and any way you have helped to make this grand old body what it is today. May God richly bless all who traveled the many miles. There is no greater love and friendship than with God's people.
We thank God for those souls saved in today's services. Dave Leisheit and Gary Penewit came to know the Lord as their personal Savior today.
Special thanks go to Sister Charlene Mitchell, clerk of the host church, for giving me the details of today's service and to Sister Betty Livingston for sending all the information to me. I really appreciate the assistance these ladies gave me during this wonderful gathering at Fairview.