Posts Tagged Baptist

Hamrick Lectureship Check Presentation to the Ministerial Scholarship Fund

FBC Lectern for FurmanJanuary 17, 2016, would have been Dr. John A. Hamrick’s 100th birthday. We chose this date to honor him by turning the remainder of the funds in the Lectureship Fund to the Ministerial Scholarship Fund. I presented the check to Dr. Malcolm Clark chair of that fund. These are my remarks.

“Some of you did not know or experience Dr. John Hamrick. He was the most influential South Carolina Baptist of the last one hundred years. He was an outstanding preacher, a serious theologian, a Biblical scholar. He was a visionary with a keen ability to get things done. He loved Baptist history and was a leader in Christian education. Most of all, he was a man of great faith. He often said, “If God gives you a job to do, he will find a way for you to do it.”

The Hamrick Lectureship was a fitting tribute to him because of his love of our history and his devotion to Christian education; therefore it gives me great pleasure to honor his devotion to Christian education by presenting this check which represents the remainder of the lectureship funds to the Ministerial Scholarship Fund in the amount of 3,699.11.”

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333 Years of Glorious Service and Counting

Mitch, Jane & Arthur Caliandro 1-21-08On Sunday October 11, 2015 First Baptist Church of Charleston celebrated 333 years of glorious service to God, to the community, and to the world. Not only that but it launched a building campaign for the next 333 years. Think of that. It is not a museum church. It is a church vibrant with dedicated members and leaders. For the historians the service should have been on September 27th. The current sanctuary was dedicated in 1822 during the pastorate of Richard Furman.

Worshiping in this oldest Baptist Congregation in the South, in this time loved city of Charleston fills one with a certain sense of permanence and continuity. Both have been here a long time and neither is going anywhere.

I have been a member of this body for 50 years. I know that God brought me here. It is family. For most of the time it has been a good fit. For all of the time it has nourished my soul. I am indebted to the great saints of the past who made this place possible. I am inspired by some of the great saints of the present who labor on. I single some of these out in my book, Our Father: Discovering Family. I could never name all of them. Members of the congregation are busy with mission project both minor and major. They are really too numerous to mention but all of them are part of what makes First Baptist, First Baptist. For example, recently Emory Hyatt, Minister to Children, suggested that each Sunday school class give a small gift once each month to the day school teacher with whom we share space. Just another but thoughtful way to say, “We appreciate all that you do.” God is at work when the people of God are at work.

The picture is Mitch Carnell, Jane Hamrick, Dr. Arthur Caliandro of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York when he was a speaker for the John A. Hamrick Lectureship.

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Our Father: Discovering Family – Review by Pat Ezell

Our Father – Discovering Family, written by Dr. Mitch Carnell began with a moving experience in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. He and his wife, Carol, stood in that magnificent place one morning and prayed along with people, as he points out,  “from around the world; of every race, creed, religion, nationality, male, female, child, adult, gay and straight” the “Our Father” prayer, or as we may know it, “The Lord’s Prayer.”  In that place at that time Mitch gained a new and deeper understanding of what “Our” really means which he shares throughout his book.  Mitch’s experience in St. Paul’s Cathedral reminds one of the event involving a large group of first century Christians when the Holy Spirit came upon them. There were people from every nation and tribe in that part of the world; all speaking their native language, but all saying the same thing. (Acts 2:11-2)  

Our Father – Discovering Family  is the story of Mitch Carnell’ physical and spiritual journey in which he discovers family, God’s family. It is a journey that began in a small mill-town in up-state South Carolina and took him to a position as Director of the Speech and Hearing Center in Charleston, South Carolina.  Brought up in a Christian home with Christian parents he is open and honest as he discloses personal triumphs and heartaches and the lessons learned from them. His wit, sense of humor, intellect, and insight are revealed as he shares some of the challenges of having very poor eyesight and lighter than average skin color.  His faith and total trust and belief in The God of Creation is evident in the way he tackles reality following the deaths of his father, mother and first wife Liz, in a period of less than two and a half years. Through the mountains and valleys of his journey Mitch shares how God continues to reveal himself through day to day events.

 Our Father – Discovering Family is a book that challenges our sometimes narrow view of how God works in our lives and how potential stumbling blocks can become stepping stones.  The book is a reminder that we pray “Our Father,” not  “My Father,” and that “Our Father” is Father to everyone he created no matter what the differences. 

In his book Dr. Mitch Carnell provides a stimulus to continue to seek God’s plan for our lives regardless of the season. To see God in the ordinary and not so ordinary events of our lives is a challenge presented to readers of this book.

 

            A Review by Patricia B. Ezell

            Associate Dean (retired)

            College of Graduate and Professional Studies

            The Citadel  

 

 

           

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Fifty Years of Blessings

Charleston Speech and Hearing Center Board member Mrs. A. Baron Holmes (Dewar ) was the first to tell me about First Baptist Church when I came for an interview, but Lester Hamilton was the first to invite me to visit.  He said, “When my wife comes to invite you to the church, tell her that her husband already beat you to it.” Nell was a paid visitor for the church.

On our first visit we encountered an amazing, inviting and engaging group of young professionals. We left a similar group behind at Goodwood Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. When we heard Dr. John Hamrick preach the deal was sealed. Liz said, “It is formal enough for me and Baptist enough for you.”

When we joined, Dr Hamrick said to Liz, “I will ask you this, but I will only ask you once. Do you have any interest in becoming a Southern Baptist?” “No, Dr. John I don’t” “Welcome to the church,” he said. “The only thing you can’t do is to vote to give it to the Presbyterians.” Dr. Hamrick understood that she could not abandon the faith of her Presbyterian missionary parents. When David Redd became the Minister of Music and Worship, our cup was filled to overflowing. I came to First Baptist knowing how to praise God, how to thank him and how to petition him, but together Dr. John and David taught me how to worship. What a combination of talents. Of course the beautiful historic sanctuary inspires worship.

Our children, Suzanne and Michael, were baptized at First Baptist and Suzanne was married here.  In late August, 1989, Liz was rushed to St. Francis Hospital. During the terrible thirteen days that she was in intensive care and I remained in the hospital to be close, Dr. Scott Walker and G. W. Bowling never missed a day in visiting us. The people of First Baptist and Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she taught kindergarten, kept me well supplied with food and company. At Liz’s funeral Scott said, “When that aneurism hit Liz, God was the first to cry.” Two weeks after her funeral Hurricane Hugo devastated the sanctuary and the entire Charleston area.

When Carol and I were married at First Baptist nine years later by Dr. Hamrick, Dr. Tom Guerry and Dr. Monty Knight, the church welcomed her with open arms. She relished singing in the choir until she had to give it up late this summer. Carol asked Mary Peeples to represent her mother who was in a nursing home. Ann Fox coordinated the event.

We started the John A. Hamrick Lectureship in 1996. Dr. John’s life illuminated his faith. “If God tells you to do something, he will find a way for you to do it.” When Marshall Blalock arrived as our pastor, he fully supported the lectureship. He also supported Forty Days at First Baptist and Say Something Nice Sunday. None of these could have thrived without his support. Lori Lethco, Marshall’s administrative assistant, deserves a lion’s share of the credit for the success of these programs. There is nothing like the lectureship in the state. It is supported by contributions. The committee and especially Marshall are routinely criticized for our choice of speakers overwhelmingly by people not connected to the church.  Marshall simply states, “The people of First Baptist Church are sophisticated enough to make up their own minds.” The Hamrick Lectureship will celebrate its 20th. Anniversary in January, 2015.

When the editor of the Florida Baptist Witness wrote a front page editorial denouncing Say Something Nice Sunday as, “Gospel Free Sunday,“ Don Kirkland, editor of the Baptist Courier, asked Marshall if he wanted to respond. Marshall replied, “No. His words speak for themselves.”

The celebration of the church’s 325th. Anniversary in 2007 was a glorious affair. The Rev. Dr. Thomas McKibbens, now interim pastor of the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island – the first Baptist church in America, delivered an electrifying sermon, “The Theology of Friendship.” The service was followed by a congregational lunch at the John Hamrick Activity Center.

I have always loved church. I made my profession of faith public in Northside Baptist Church in Woodruff, South Carolina when I was eleven years old. The invitation hymn was, “Just as I Am.” I am grateful for the wonderful people in that small church that gave me a firm foundation that has allowed me to explore and expand my faith with assurance. “I know in Whom I Have Believed.”

October 6, 2014, is my 50th anniversary as a member of First Baptist Church of Charleston.  For about twenty seven of those I taught an adult Sunday school class after stepping in as a substitute. Although these fifty years have not been without heartbreak and pain, my family and I found a home. This is a loving, supportive church family. I have nothing but gratitude for the people at First Baptist and thanksgiving for the spiritual nourishment I have found here.

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