So here we were again — between pastors. Secretaries came and went also. Judy Jenkins resigned in 2005 and Heather Schott became secretary that May. Heather organized the church office well during her stay of two and one half years; then she moved on to fulltime employment elsewhere. The busy Personnel Committee (under the able leadership of Pauline Littell) hired Michelle Pike to replace Heather. Michelle’s ready smile and quiet efficiency are appreciated by all.
The deacons chose Bruce Warrington to be interim pastor after a summer of guest preachers. We welcomed him at our October Fall Festival. A new attraction that day was the Peninsula Baptist Association Evangelistic Fun Trailer for the children. This included inflatable moonwalk, slide and obstacle course, as well as snow cone and popcorn machines.
Women’s Missionary Union inspired our young people to step out on mission. They traveled to the Eastern Shore in 2007—2009 on mission day trips to help Marisa Sanchez pack health kits for migrant workers. Debbie Riley and the Youth Council planned a work-related mission trip to Tennessee in 2008 with Christian-based organization “Team Effort”. Their unique money raising project, “Flocking for Missions”, involved the youth placing pink plastic flamingos on front lawns to encourage donations from the congregation. The youth also sponsored a church movie and dessert to finance their trip. On June 29th, six adults and eight teenagers drove to Gatlinburg, repaired a mobile home, and ministered to the surrounding neighborhood.
Our Pastor Search Committee was ready to present a candidate for our approval in July, 2008. Reverend Ray “Bud” Goude, Jr. became our new minister on August 25th. Bud is the son of a Baptist minister. He graduated from Gardner Webb University with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. He earned his Master of Divinity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Bud has served three churches, and comes to us from James River Baptist Church in Williamsburg. He is active both in P.B.A. and the Virginia Baptist Board. Reverend Goude met his wife Donna when they were students at Gardner Webb College. She has her Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Edu-cation and is the librarian at West Point Elementary School. They have two grown children: Kimberly, a graduate of Longwood College and Ryan, who attends the engineering program at Virginia Tech. Pastor Bud’s stated goal is: “to honor his Heavenly Father through glorifying his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. By loving God, loving others, and serving in the world, he believes the church will fulfill its purpose to bring others to become disciples of Christ.”
Gloucester Point Baptist had a second search committee working also during 2007 and 2008. We were looking for a Director of Children and Youth to replace Darrell Overbey. This committee came forward in August, 2008, to present Jason Turner to the congregation.
Jason accepted Jesus Christ at the age of sixteen in Greenville, North Carolina. He graduated from Wayne Community College before being called by God into fulltime Christian ministry. While being treated for cancer, he received a Certificate in General Bible Studies from Liberty Home Bible Institute and served as Youth Director at Grace Church in Greenville. In 2005, he and his new wife Sarah moved to Lynchburg where Jason earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Religion at Liberty College. The Turners have two young children, Noah and Seth. Jason became our Minister of Children and Youth September, 2008. How exciting it was to have TWO new church leaders!
We introduced our staff to the community in a unique way. The Guinea Jubilee Parade on September 27th provided an opportunity for our youth and children to decorate a float, “Fishing for Friends”. Bud and Jason walked along, passing out church fliers with a lifesaver candy attached. Gloucester Point Baptist Church won first place ($50) in the church division. This theme was continued in our Fall Festival. The Gloucester-Mathews Gazette Journal Newspaper featured the festival and recipes from the men’s cake and women’s pie contests.
With new leadership in place, the deacons launched a program they had been considering for some time. Our Sunday evening worship service had been struggling for years. Bible study, concerts, mission programs — all failed to revive attendance. The church began C.A.R.E. ministry as an outreach of Sunday School. Christians Actively Reaching Everyone replaces the Sunday evening service. The congregation meets at 6:00 p.m. to reach out with correspondence, phone calls, visits and prayer. One Sunday School class takes charge each week. Rotation of responsibility has brought success as every family and visitor receives attention regularly.
Effective outreach and C.A.R.E. has increased our Sun-day morning involvement. As our membership increased, Pastor Goude recognized the need for a New Member Sunday School Class. They meet in the Fellowship Hall and various individuals take turns teaching Baptist Beliefs, Bible study/testimonies and service opportunities available at Gloucester Point Baptist.
When this anniversary year began, Pastor Bud set church goals to increase our local mission efforts. With his encouragement, the church has initiated several outreach projects. First is Angel Food Ministry. It began in March with Alice Oldfield as host site director. This outreach began in Good Hope, Georgia in 1994 and has expanded to thirty-eight states. We partner with Newington Baptist Church, distributing food boxes to friends and neighbors. Participants buy a weeks worth of frozen, shelf and fresh food (seventeen items in a standard box) at bargain prices. Each kit sold brings one dollar to the church to invest in other boxes, which are given to needy families. This ministry is described as a “hand up”, not a “hand out”.
In addition, spring 2009 brought a Bible study to Gloucester Point Baptist. Paige Townsend and Sarah Turner sponsored a six week Beth Moore study in Psalms. Approximately thirty-five women benefitted from this experience and another Bible study is planned for autumn to continue this women’s ministry.
As we go to press, Gloucester Point Baptist Church is registering children for “Upward Soccer”, to start in August. This national ministry is for the community — sports with a Christian focus.
All that has been written about these past fifty years can only serve as an introductory glimpse into how God has blessed and used this congregation, known as Gloucester Point Baptist Church. As we move onward, our church will encounter many challenges as it continues to provide a vital Christian witness in the midst of rapidly changing times. May we resolve to keep our eyes focused clearly on our Lord Jesus Christ, who “is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) As long as we have the faith to follow wherever He leads us, we have nothing to fear. “…I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6)