news about the denomination
The following news items apply to (or affect) the Free Will Baptist denomination scattered across the nation and around the world.To read more about Free Will Baptists and the various departments that make up the national organization, visit www.nafwb.org.
Phase Two of the Ridge Church Project Nears Completion
New Durham, NH—Seven men from five states recently gathered in New Durham, NH, to complete phase two of the Ridge Church restoration project. The Church on the Ridge, founded by Elder Benjamin Randall, was the first church in the northern movement of Free Will Baptists. The congregation, which began meeting in 1793, completed the current building in 1820, making it the oldest FWB church structure in existence.
Delegates to the 2007 national convention in Little Rock, AR, voted to help the New Durham congregation (which no longer meets in the Ridge Church) maintain the aging structure in light of its historical significance.
During phase one of the project volunteers added support beams to repair the sagging roof and replaced the worn shingles. In addition, the group removed two deteriorating chimneys and reinforced the worn bell tower.
Volunteers for phase two of the project stripped peeling paint from the building, carefully restoring the surface for painting. Although hampered by rain, the group finished painting everything but the bell tower. In addition, they painted the foyer of the church and installed a drainage system designed to prevent standing water under the building.
Coordinator Ken Akers said, “These men came to paint, and paint they did! We finished almost everything we came to do and had a great time doing it.”
To find out how you can be part of Phase Three, or simply to learn more about the Ridge Church restoration, visit www.fwbmastersmen.org.
Free Will Baptist Named "Top Sunday School Teacher in America
CHURCH HILL, TN—Gospel Light Publications, sponsor of the national Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Day, recently named Paul Rector as the “Top Sunday School teacher in America.” Paul was awarded a dream vacation to Hawaii along with a commemorative plaque and resources for his church.
Paul Rector has been teaching Sunday school to the Adult Class at First FWB Church in Church Hill, TN, for more than eight years. His students describe him as one of the most caring and inspirational individuals they have ever met.
According to Senior Pastor Derek Bell, “Paul loves the Lord with all his heart and despite several health issues, he does all he can to put Christ first in his life.” Diabetes has caused several problems for Paul, most notably his ability to see well. A number of surgeries to both eyes have resulted in little improvement, however, Paul has not used his condition as an excuse. According to Pat Stilwell, one of Paul’s students, he has adapted to his eyesight challenge by having his wife Diane read Scripture passages to him. He repeats the verses over and over until they are committed to memory.
Pat says, “Paul might be walking in the dark physically, but spiritually he is walking in the light.” In spite of the health challenges Paul has experienced, he never blames God for his misfortunes. Instead, he is known for saying, “You just have to give it to the Lord.”
According to his class, Paul has a remarkable ability to relate, to connect with all kinds of people and personalities. He sees the humor in things and is adept at getting people to loosen up and laugh with him. According to Pastor Derek Bell, “Paul would be just as comfortable talking to a bunch of bikers, as he would talking to a group of church people.”