God has poured out His blessings on Maryland and Delaware churches, as we strive to praise Him always.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds,” Psalm 9:1
This week’s blog includes stories about outreach, support and praise from the east to the west.
On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Ocean City Baptist Church(OCBC) completed their Upward Soccer season with a closing that brought more than 700 visitors —players, families and friends — to the Ocean City Convention Center.
Sean Davis, OCBC pastor, said, “For the past 13 years, we’ve done an Upward Soccer program. At the end of the season, we do a celebration night, where all the kids and their families come. They get an award, and we have door prizes, and we share the Gospel with them.”
Sometimes they have entertainers, but most of the time they have games for the students.
This season nearly 500 children played Upward Soccer with the church — the biggest enrollment to date. Davis said many children and their families have made confessions of faith as a result of the Upward program and have joined the church, and a few have become leaders.
“We also get to minister to the entire community in different ways. Many of the people who play, or their families, reach out to us when there is a crisis in their lives because we are the ones who showed them Christ first. I have been asked to do funerals and minister to families who are unchurched because, in that moment of crisis, they have no one else to turn to. It all starts with our soccer program.”
North Glen Community Church, Glen Burnie, Md., will welcome John Burghauser on Nov. 11. Burghauser will share his testimony at the 11 am. worship service and then lead a “Caring for the Addicted” seminar, starting at 5 p.m.
John and his wife, Peggy, are members of White Marsh Baptist Church and both serve as missionaries for Stauros Ministries, providing mentoring and support to those who struggle with addiction and to their families. The couple also works to help equip churches to respond to people in those difficult situations. Peggy supports John in an administrative role.
John was a user of multiple substances for more two decades. His lifestyle threatened to destroy him and his marriage before God saved him, using the testimony of a Stauros Community Pastor Tom Eakins, visiting White Marsh Baptist Church from Ireland. Eakins shared about new life in Christ, reading from 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The testimony and scripture made a profound influence on John and helped him move forward in his life with Christ. As he grew stronger, he wanted to help others, coming alongside them in a friend and mentor role to give them the support and encouragement they needed, as they strove forward towards the goal of recovery and a new life. He became the first full-time pastoral care worker for Stauros Ministries, the American expression of Stauros Foundation.
An introvert by nature, he struggled to be comfortable in churches designed for extroverts and discovered many people recovering from addiction were dealing with similar issues. As part of his outreach, he teaches churches about developing a welcoming culture, specifically as it relates to addiction.
The interactive seminar will focus on defining addiction as a spiritual issue, representing Jesus’ model of care and discipleship, and defining the need and role of Christians to disciple and provide care to those suffering from addictions. The seminar is for individuals and the church body. All are welcome.
The Church at Severn Run, Severn, Md., will have a classic Christmas handbell concert on Dec. 4.
The performance will feature classics including, “The First Noel,” “Silver Bells,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Love Came Down” and, of course, “The Carol of the Bell.” Vocalists will sing solos, duets and trios throughout the evening.
Church member Madge Luoto directs the handbell choir, which consists of ringers from age 11 and up.
The church will provide a cookie reception following the concert. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Inner Harbor Ministry
Inner Harbor Ministry (IHM) will celebrate Thanksgiving, starting at noon on Nov. 22 at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Pennington Avenue in Curtis Bay, Md.
Volunteers will serve turkey dinners with the “fixings.” Over 150 people, including families with children, and many who are homeless, enjoy the meal each year. After lunch, they are offered donated canned goods, school supplies, clothing and blankets.
Christopher Gudmundson, IHM director and pastor of Dundalk First Baptist Church, Md., said the ministry needs cold weather clothing, and hygiene kits. The kits can easily be assembled. In a 1 gallon plastic bag, place a washcloth, bar of soap, small shampoo, comb or brush, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant and mouthwash. These are great little outreaches with a potentially huge impact.
Inner Harbor Ministry offers Bible study and hot meals every Thursday evening at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Many Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware(BCM/D) churches
prepare and serve meals on a rotating basis. They also serve as table ministers, visiting with those who line up each week, praying with them and just being a friend. For more information or to volunteer, email IHMBaltimore@yahoo.com.
Western Baptist Association
Western Baptist Association churches participated in the annual October “Autumn Glory Festival,” in Deep Creek, Md.
Several churches were represented. Volunteers manned a Baby Comfort station, they offered children’s activities and gave away goodies.
Pleasant View Baptist, Oakland, Md., presented “Autumn Declares God’s Glory,” including songs by the praise team and the children’s choir interspersed with puppet skits.
Kenny Heath, WBA director of missions, was an announcer for the annual “Grand Feature” parade.
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