This is my church

A story in Larry Davies’ Turning Points: “Every Sunday for nearly three years Walter had a routine. Just before 10:00 a.m. he would open the doors to Epworth and prepare the church for worship. If the weather was cold, he would build a fire in the old wood stove. If it was hot, he would open all the windows and distribute the hand fans with a picture of Jesus on one side and an ad for a local funeral home on the other.

Next, Walter would open the Bible located on top of the wooden pulpit and read the selected Scripture for that week. Then it would be time for prayer. Often there were folks in the community included on Walter’s list. The latest national and world news would be mentioned. But always, Walter ended every prayer with a plea for God to remember and bless his beloved church.

Every Sunday, Walter had a routine, but what makes this story so unique is that with very few exceptions, Walter began and ended the Sunday morning worship service … alone. Alone? Why? Many years ago, Epworth church was built on land donated by a neighboring farmer, but if for any reason they stopped meeting regularly, if Walter stopped opening the church doors every Sunday, the property would revert to the original owners … Epworth church would cease to exist.”

One Sunday, a family new to the area came to the church. They were attracted to the small chapel and curious about what happened there. They decided to stay and worship.  Then they came back, inviting their neighbors. Before too long, more people attended. A minister was hired. During all that time, Walter remained faithful. The circumstances tempted him to give up, but he wouldn’t. When asked why, he responded, “This is my church.” That was it.

God is doing new things among us. This is our church. We, too, must remain faithful!

Please note the important dates before us as we seek to discern God’s direction and ask for His blessing. Next Sunday, we gather at the Table of the Lord for Communion. Following the service, our annual church conference will take place. Significant items will be presented. Be there. This is our church.

 

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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