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Date: 11-29-2017

...found hidden in wall of 102 year-old church

A 102-year-old stained glass church window has seen the light for the first time in 52 years, after being found hidden behind a wall during a building renovation in Whitesburg.

This stained glass church window believed to have been destroyed in 1964 was uncovered recently during a remodeling project on the top floor of the Bella Home Furnishings Building in downtown Whitesburg. The building, originally built to house Hoover’s Home Furnishings, sits on a lot formerly occupied by the First Baptist Church of Whitesburg. (Photo by Ben Gish)This stained glass church window believed to have been destroyed in 1964 was uncovered recently during a remodeling project on the top floor of the Bella Home Furnishings Building in downtown Whitesburg. The building, originally built to house Hoover’s Home Furnishings, sits on a lot formerly occupied by the First Baptist Church of Whitesburg. (Photo by Ben Gish)Workers renovating the second floor of the Bella Home Furnishings building for temporary use as administrative offices of Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation made the discovery.

The Bella building, made of concrete block and brick, was built by late Whitesburg businessman and longtime state representative Hoover Dawahare on the site of the old First Baptist Church after the church built a new building on Madison Street and moved there in June 1964. The grand opening of Hoover’s Home Furnishings was in February 1965.

The church building itself was torn down, but the church addition and parsonage was kept intact. As it turns out, so were two walls of the old church. The painted back wall of the building camouflages the different brick patterns where new construction joined the old brick church.

What is now used as an apartment building was built as an addition to the church and a parsonage. When the Hoover’s Home Furnishing building was built, the church addition was kept and tied into the new building. The bell tower on the northwest corner, the roof, west and south walls of the church were torn down, leaving the east wall facing the old Whitesburg High School, and the north wall, which connected to the parsonage.

When work began on the building to remodel it for use by MCHC, workers started tearing out a wall and found an entirely different wall underneath it. The structural brick wall is a scant four feet from the south wall of the parsonage, and window air conditioners stick out into a completely enclosed alleyway between the two. On the second floor, in what remains of the north wall of the church, workers found the arched top of a 10-foottall stained glass window.

“When they tore the paneling off, it became visible and they opened it up,” building owner Mike Caudill, CEO of MCHC, said.

Further demolition uncovered the remainder of the window, perfectly preserved inside the wall. Part of the framing is missing, but the glass is complete and has no cracks. There is an opening for brickwork indicating a second window like it, but Caudill said the window itself has been removed and the opening filled with concrete blocks. Caudill said he plans to preserve the window that still exists.

The windows are in an area behind the old bell tower. Pictures of the church taken in the late 1930s and early 1940s show similar windows in the front of the building as well.

MCHC bought the old Whitesburg High School on the hill behind the building, but Caudill said that building can’t be remodeled in time to meet a deadline for the start of a new clinical education program for third- and fourth-year students of the Kentucky College of Optometry, which is run by the University of Pikeville School of Osteopathic Medicine. Instead, MCHC will move its administration offices into the furniture store building, expand its obstetrics and pediatrics departments into the old administrative offices, and make room for a clinical space for optometry as MCHC works on remodeling the interior of the old school.

By Sam Adams
The Mountain Eagle

 

Date: 11-28-2017

Kentucky Baptists threaten to kick out churches that think it's OK to hire 'practicing homosexuals'

Southern Baptists have long opposed same-sex marriage and ordaining gay ministers, arguing that the Bible unequivocally rejects homosexuality as sinful and perverted.

Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard, a volunteer at Highland Baptist Church (where he leads an LGBT ministry), sits in the pews inside the church's sanctuary. Blanchard is a gay man who has been part of a movement in a faction of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches urging church leaders to drop a ban on hiring people who are LGBT. (Photo: David R. Lutman, Special to Courier Journal)Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard, a volunteer at Highland Baptist Church (where he leads an LGBT ministry), sits in the pews inside the church's sanctuary. Blanchard is a gay man who has been part of a movement in a faction of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches urging church leaders to drop a ban on hiring people who are LGBT. (Photo: David R. Lutman, Special to Courier Journal)

The Louisville-based Kentucky Baptist Convention hasn't left that position to interpretation. The powerful Southern Baptist group, which has 2,400 churches and 750,000 members across the state, has ousted congregations that bless gay unions and welcome people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender as pastors and missionaries.

That's why discussions on dropping a ban against hiring gay and transgender people by a more liberal group of affiliated churches, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, has threatened to trigger an even larger rift.

Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said that if the fellowship's leaders soften their rule against hiring “practicing homosexuals,” it would be a perilous step in the wrong direction. In essence, they're "redefining sin," he said.

In mid-November, a Kentucky Baptist Convention committee voted in Louisville to “monitor” the fellowship's moves and indicated that the convention might expel churches aligned with the fellowship if it lifts the ban.

"We were surprised by this action. We didn't have any discussions with them about it," said Chris Sanders, a lawyer who is serving as interim executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Kentucky.

“We would have much rather talked with them in advance,” Sanders said.

In the Baptist faith, church autonomy is key, and congregations choose how to worship. Many have multiple affiliations. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship formed in the early 1990s after conservative leaders gained national control of the Southern Baptists. 

Some churches, such as St. Matthews Baptist Church, joined the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship but stayed affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

The LGBT issue flared after the fellowship’s leaders in Georgia offered prayers for the victims of a shooting massacre in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed at the gay nightclub Pulse. 

Louisville’s Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard, an ordained minister and volunteer who leads an LGBT ministry at Highland Baptist Church, thought the gesture was hypocritical in light of the fellowship's ban on gay employees.

But Blanchard, who was one of the Kentucky plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage, has joined a chorus asking fellowship leaders to end their discriminatory practices. 

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship “needs to drop this homophobic policy,” Blanchard said. "It’s past time."

Baptists aren't the only Christian denomination struggling with how to handle matters of sexuality. Many congregations are debating whether to perform same-sex marriages, ordain gay ministers and welcome transgender people.

R. Albert Mohler, who is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a recognized scholar of Baptist theology, said in an interview that he's not surprised that a conflict of this sort is erupting within the Fellowship ranks.

"This has been an issue we can only describe as inevitable and explosive ... they clearly have a huge division" where younger leaders on the left may gain the upper hand, Mohler said, adding that he questions whether the smaller group has "the doctrinal stability to normalize LGBT persons." 

The watchful approach by the state convention isn't surprising because "a church that endorses homosexuality is no longer cooperating with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention," he said.

At the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a committee called the Illumination Project has met for months with church members and leaders in several states. The group is scheduled to recommend changes in February.

Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said his group has become concerned that the fellowship is ready to change course.

The fellowship "has always held the same position as Southern Baptists have held,” Chitwood said. To drop the gay ban is akin to “redefining 2,000 years of Christian teachings.”

Blanchard sees it the opposite way. It’s not biblical to ban LGBT people but he knows fellowship leaders also are trying to avoid alienating the large churches that provide financial support.

He’s disappointed that the Illumination committee has no gay members. “They’re discussing our inclusion without including us,” Blanchard said.

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To the Rev. Dwight Moody, a Baptist minister and retired professor of theology at Georgetown College who attends a fellowship-affiliated church in Lexington, the state convention's tactics are unfair and unnecessary if each church is truly free to set its own course.

If the Kentucky Baptist Convention ultimately splits with the fellowship, he said, “it’s punishing local churches for the actions” of national leaders, which would be a "new wrinkle."

Chitwood thinks many of the fellowship churches won’t go along with sanctioning LGBT clergy or missionaries anyway because most members believe the Scriptures clearly define gay life as un-Christian.

“I don’t think it will have a big impact,” he said


By Grace Schneider
Louisville Courier Journal

 

November 24, 2017

Awe

by Mark Fulmer

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47 (https://pcpc.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=eba67192d3a27da52e93fefb8&id=fd7fc4bf41&e=82a9a8f891)

Darkness had finally fallen. There were no street lamps, or billboards, or headlights. The blackness was thick. But in the distance, where we had hiked an hour before, we could see an unearthly orange glow. Smoke swirled upward as if from a cauldron. The scene was eerie. "What is that?" I asked. "It's creepy!"

"That's the volcano," came the answer, "the one we were looking down on just a bit ago. You just couldn't see the glow in the daylight." I was breathless, overcome with the awe of what I was seeing. That glow, and warmth, and steam was coming from the furnace that is the center of the earth. And in the amalgam that is awe, I felt amazement, and wonder, and a dollop of fear. Light and mist and heat from inside the earth. Awesome!

Think of how many times in Scripture the same thing happens. The unexpected overwhelms the ordinary, as God's power and mercy and love all burst unavoidably into the here and now. Remember those half a million people trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea? And then the leader cried out, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today" (Exodus 14:13). And they crossed the sea floor on dry ground. It wasn't too long before the descendants of those same folks would capture a heavily fortified city with trumpet blasts and shouts. Then years later there would be a crowd of mourners who shared probably the longest pregnant pause in history. The stone had been rolled back, the weeping rabbi friend had shouted the dead man's name, and then, he came out — alive. The onlookers must have been awestruck. "The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them,
'Unbind him, and let him go'" (John 11:44).

The church began that way and still grows that way. When God's people "see the salvation of the Lord," they recognize themselves as part of the eternal history of God's power and mercy and love. And awe comes upon them. Once stony hearts are filled with gladness. These Christ's Ones grow more and more in awe of the goodness God has done in Christ. And Christians want to share. Can you imagine having crossed the Red Sea or marched around Jericho or unwrapped Lazarus' torso and not told anyone about it?

So this week especially, as we give thanks, may God renew our awe, that we may receive our meals with "glad and generous hearts." And may the light and warmth and love of Christ be seen afresh in us.

About the Author

Mark Fulmer
Elder
Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Mark Fulmer is an elder at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, and along with Steve Vanderhill, teaches the New Creations Sunday School class.

 


God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Rivers of Living Water Now Flowing

    On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'" (When he said "living water," he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

    John 7:37-39 NLT

    Key Thought

    It is dry in my part of the world this early winter as this devotional thought is being written. The weather experts say it will be dry through spring. When I go to the country and drive down gravel and dirt roads, the dust is like powder — so fine that it seeps in through the seals on the doors and windows. Winter wheat and oats are stymied withered shoots just out of the ground because there is not enough moisture to help them grow. Our lives, our spirits, can feel parched and dry just like these crops. All the big religious celebrations in the world can't remove this dryness. They may make us forget it for a while, but just for a while. Our spiritual thirst can be slaked only by the Spirit of the Living God. Jesus poured out the Spirit when we first became his true followers. Yet even with the ongoing presence of the Spirit within us, we can lose sight of the living water within us. So let's draw close to Jesus and ask that the Spirit's presence have greater influence, power, and refreshment in our inner being.

    Today's Prayer

    O Father, God Almighty and God who is near, help me to sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. May the Spirit have greater influence over my heart and my behavior. I willingly offer myself to be shaped, empowered, and refreshed by the Spirit as I am conformed to be more and more like Jesus. It is in Jesus' name that I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2017 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • Hope of the Holy

    And he [an angel]  carried me [John]  away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

    Revelation 21:10 NIV

    Key Thought

    The Holy Spirit brings hope. There is the short-term hope the Spirit brings through his comforting and enabling presence. The Spirit also brings hope through the promise of Scripture and God's visions for us of greater things that lie ahead for us. In a time of unspeakable danger and fear when John had his vision, Jesus' call to his disciples was to be faithful even to the point of death. In that situation, this vision given by the Spirit is one of victory and hope. The Spirit brings hope — not a wish for a better future, but the assurance that a glorious future awaits us.

    Today's Prayer

    O Father of mercy, thank you for giving me the assurance that a victorious future awaits. Thank you for giving me the Holy Spirit as a gift, a down payment, guaranteeing that glorious future. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2017 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.