The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists convened in its 168th annual session hosted by Copper Creek (Addington Frame) and Willow Chapel Churches held at Copper Creek Church in Nickelsville, VA.
The church now known as Copper Creek Primitive Baptist (Addington Frame) was established in the early 1800's. The first records show it was organized in 1807 with Elder Robert Kilgore as the pastor. In those days, services were held in homes and at the Saratoga School House. A plot of land was given by William Addington in an area down on the creek about 3/4 mile from the present site, to build a meeting house. A frame structure was erected and put under roof, only to run out of supplies and funding. Therefore, the meetings could only be held during favorable weather. The land and lumber was donated by Addingtons, most of the labor and at that time, most of the attendees were Addingtons; this being the case, the structure was known as "Addington Frame". The first church meeting in the structure occurred in 1866.
On June 10, 1882, James and Julia Addington gave land at the present site to build a church building. The old frame structure was razed and included in the building of the new church, thus bringing forth the name of "Addington Frame". The first May Meeting was held there in 1884.
The present structure was built on that same plot, and services began in 1914. That same year, the 62nd annual session of the Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists was held here, 106 years ago. At that time Elder Tom Carter was pastor. The introductory was preached by Elder E.A. Robinette from the 1st chapter of John, verse 12; “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” The moderator was Elder E.S.McPherson and J.J.Addington was clerk. That year the membership was 94. The donation to the Association was $2.00; the amount received at the Association was $44.00; the clerk's fee was $5.00 and the minutes cost $30.00.
Over the years we have been blessed with kind and spiritual leaders. Our pastors have been our guiding light throughout the years. Each one listed below has brought the Lord’s words to us in the spirit in which the Lord wishes us to receive his holy word.
Elder T.R. Carter 1914, Elder W. Elbert Addington 1915, Elder M.H. Peters 1916-1917, Elder R.E. Wampler & Elder A.L. Addington, Asst. 1918, Elder Curt M. Fuller 1919-1920, Elder Tom R. Carter 1921-1953 with Elder John Robert Gardner Asst. 1944-1952 and co-pastor in 1953, Elder John Robert Gardner 1955 until his death in 1982, Elder Eckel Head 1983 until his death in 2010, Elder Harold Head 2010 until his death in 2011, Elder Daniel Smith 2013-2017, Elder Bob Brown Asst. Pastor April 2016 until his death October 2016, Elder Harmon Willis 2017 to present.
Our church at Copper Creek has been a landmark for many Scott Countians through the years. It's location on the edge of a cliff, overlooking beautiful Copper Creek Valley, makes it visible from afar in different directions. Our building remains the same, with only a few amenities, such as central heat and air, padded pews, and an adjoining fellowship hall with inside facilities.
Our meeting times were on the Sunday following the 2nd and 3rd Saturday for many years and now we are blessed to have services every Sunday. Our annual May Meeting, which is also our Union Meeting, has become a homecoming time for many who have left the community and still like to return to fellowship and keep in touch with family and friends. In the early years, bountiful meals were spread on the ground; then were upgraded to tables under tents, and now we are blessed to eat inside comfortably in any type of weather or you may enjoy the deck on the back of the fellowship hall which overlooks Copper Creek.
The Lord has richly blessed us here at Copper Creek over the last 106 years. We hosted the association in 2014, which was the 100-year anniversary of the current church building. We still preach the gospel in the old-fashioned way and welcome everyone to attend. We are doubly blessed to be allowed to join with Willow Chapel to host the "Grand Ole Body" of the Association this the 2020th year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its 168th session.
On June 6, 1953, members of Walnut Chapel Primitive Baptist Church convened for a regular business meeting. During this session, it was moved, seconded, and voted to open a Primitive Baptist Mission in the Tate store building, located in West Carter’s Valley, three miles to the west.
The first service of the mission was held on June 28. After singing songs of Zion, prayer was led by Brother Bob Bishop. Elder Dana Crawford brought the message, using Hebrews 13:8 as the text, and the thought, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Services were held each Sunday evening until August 1, 1953, when six members from Walnut Chapel organized a Sunday School.
On April 3, 1954, it was agreed for this mission to become an organized church calling for an arm from West View Primitive Baptist Church, and on April 18 of the same year, Willow Chapel Primitive Baptist Church was officially formed. Elder Basil Freeman was elected to be the first pastor, and Henry Powers was elected as the temporary clerk. The first members were Charles and Ruby Culbertson, received by letter from West View, and Walter Powers, J. A. Freeman, Eckel Ford, Henry Powers, Elmo Parks, Fannie powers, and Bessie Freeman, received by letter from Walnut Chapel. Ann Freeman, Barbara Parks, and Jewel Culbertson were received by experience and were kept under the watch care of the church until they could be baptized. Eckel Ford was set aside to prove himself for the office of deacon. Charles Culbertson and Tom Adams soon joined Brother Ford as deacons.
In June 1954, a building committee was chosen to begin preparations for a church building. The church plans were finalized in July, and construction began soon after. The first services were held in the church basement on October 31, 1954. It was eight years later that the church was completed, and the first services were held in the sanctuary in October of 1962. The debt for the church building was paid in full on September 11, 1967; a dedication and “burning of the note” took place the following Sunday. This original church is still the one used today. A fellowship hall was added in 2009, and the sanctuary was fully remodeled in 2016.
Over the years, several God-fearing men have dedicated themselves to the office of pastor: Basil Freeman, Gerald Hopkins, J. L. Hill, Glen Williams, Gale Derrick, Eckel Head, Frank Gilliam, and Carl Smith. Scott Tipton is the current pastor, having served 12 years to date. Their faithful servitude is greatly appreciated by all who have sat under their preaching, church members and visitors alike.
The quietness of the grounds gave way to a lively and joyful reunion as we gathered for the 168th session of our beloved Association. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in singing praises to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Draw us nearer to the cross, fore I am thine, O Lord. Let us be true and faithful, trusting, serving every day. Onward to the prize before us. O, the joy of that glad meeting. Heaven holds all to me! There is wonder-working power in the Blood. Their songs of praise were a wonderful way to start the day.
Our moderator, Elder Terry Sizemore, welcomed everyone by expressing his gladness for each one in attendance at the 168th annual gathering of the Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists. Elder Sizemore led the congregation in singing further praises to the Lord. “I am so glad that Jesus loves me. Jesus loves even me.”
The Moderator asked all ministers to sign the minister’s book, including ministers from other associations and church affiliations. He reminded each delegate to get their ribbon for the afternoon service.
The moderator reminded everyone to turn in church letters, obituaries, and financial contributions. The Letter Committee was appointed beforehand, consisting of Steve Minton (chairman), Robert Brown, Gary Hall, and Danny Lawson (alternate).
Since we last gathered, two of our ministers passed from death unto Life. Elders Silas (Porter) Carroll and Walter Willis moved from among us to receive their Heavenly reward.
Sister Zula McCullough came forward to lead the congregation in singing the association’s standard song, “Brethren We Have Met Again.” Since we met twelve months ago, some have left this world below. Oh, how sweet in union dear, we have met in counsel here.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Religious Exercises, which consists of Roy Jones (chairman), Rodney Dodson, and Steve Hunt.
Scott Tipton welcomed everyone on behalf of the host churches, Copper Creek and Willow Chapel, and expressed what a blessing it is to be able to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. Much work and love has gone into the preparation for the meetings that we all hold so dear, and we have looked so forward to serving.
We were blessed with special singing by Bradley Brown, followed by Terry and Peggy Sizemore. ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er. Someday I shall stand on the top of Mt. Zion, and I’ll never walk in the valley again. I’ll sing and shout when I reach that city!
Prayer requests were made for the lost, the Association and its churches, Pauline Lawson, Bradley and Juanita Bowen, Betty and Hershel Baker, Charley Johnson, Frank and Juanita Gilliam, the Alisa VanHoose family, Georgia Lawson, Lewis Baker and the others at Chestnut Flats, Joanne Palmer, Maude Turner’s brother’s family, Jerry Scalf, Cora L. Neeley, Hunter Hensley’s Dad and Papaw, David Begley, Sherrie Cope, Edna Lane, Kay Short, Bill and Jewel Spurlock, family of Charles Wells, Clifton Horne’s brothers, Charlene Smith, Draxie and Angela Johnson, several others that the clerk could not hear, and many other unspoken prayer requests. Elder Kevin Cross led us to the throne of grace with a fervent prayer, thanking God for sending His Son, Jesus Christ.
Having been chosen to preach the introductory sermon, Elder Harmon Willis began by thanking God for putting him at Copper Creek and for putting the church together with Willow Chapel. He read verses four through seventeen of 1 Timothy, chapter one, using the thought, “We have to remember what He came for: to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus ate with publicans and sinners, for those who are not sick do not need a physician. Jesus came to save sinners, just as He came to visit Zacchaeus. Jesus also taught Nicodemus that you must be born again to get to Heaven. Paul wrote that he was chief of sinners. John Newton similarly spoke, “Although my memory is fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner, and Christ is a Great Savior.” We will never be more saved, even in Heaven, than we are right now.
Elder Scott Tipton followed with another Spirit-filled sermon from our Lord and Savior, using the fifteenth verse of the same chapter. Paul wrote that “I am chief” among sinners. It is easy to forget that it’s a personal salvation, that we were all sinners, and that we are still sinners saved by the Grace and Mercy of Jesus Christ. When Jesus healed the lepers, the one turned back and glorified God. The only thing that will get you to Heaven is knowing Jesus Christ. Because He is alive, I’m alive. Just as Paul learned on the road to Damascus, when you meet Jesus, there will be a change in your life. In Christ, there is no darkness. In the Spirit, there is no sin. If you are trying to live good enough to get to Heaven, you can’t do it. It is worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
We were adjourned for lunch in a song of praise. Someday, when I’ve traveled my last mile here, then safe I shall be in beautiful Heaven I know.
The host churches prepared and served an abundant lunch, and all in attendance seemed to thoroughly enjoy the food and fellowship.
Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in singing songs of praise as the congregation gathered for the afternoon service. Everybody will be happy over there, for no burdens there will be for us to bear. It won’t be very long till burdens we lay down, and then we’ll shout and sing with angels around the throne.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to the afternoon service as he thanked the host churches for the delicious meal.
Further blessings were bestowed upon us with special singing and testimony from David and Wanda Parsons and Kim Robinette, Bonnie Wilson, Aubra Hill, Elder Jason Robinette, and Terry Sizemore. Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon. Troubles will soon be o’er. Going where no one dies, we’re Heavenward bound. I can’t take a soul that’s sin-sick and make it whiter than the snow, and I can’t calm the raging sea, but I know the man who can. I call Him Jesus for He’s my dearest friend. I just want to thank you, Lord, for making me whole, and for saving my soul. For taking my place and your mercy and grace, I just want to thank you, Lord! There’s been a change in me. Old things have passed away since Christ has set me free. He didn’t come here to stay, just to show us the way. Then, He got on a cloud and went home.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, Linda Lucas, Juanita Williams’s great-grandson Skylar, Jim Emery’s brother Gary, Naomi Adkins, Brenda Bowlin, Suzie Yount, and many unspoken requests all around. Elder Joseph Robinette led us to the throne of grace with a humble prayer.
Brother Steve Minton, Chairman of the Committee on Church Letters, came forward with testimony and to give the report of our state and standing. With 35 churches total, it was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendations of the committee and seat those delegates duly elected or appointed by their respective churches as the voting body of the association. The clerk has received word that the letter from Caney Creek is in the mail and should arrive Thursday.
The delegation was seated in order to conduct the business of the association.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials. Elder Oscar Irvin was nominated. No other nominations were made. It was motioned, seconded and voted for nominations to cease. Elder Irvin came forward to serve during the election.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as clerk and treasurer of the association. Brother Kevin Hale was nominated and it was seconded for him to serve as clerk and treasurer. It was motioned and seconded for nominations to cease. Through the vote, he will serve for the ensuing year.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator of the association. Elder Terry Sizemore was nominated, and it was seconded for him to serve as moderator of the association. It was motioned and seconded for nominations to cease. Through the vote, Elder Sizemore will serve as moderator for the ensuing year.
Elder Sizemore thanked Elder Irvin for standing as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials. The moderator humbly thanked the delegation for their vote of confidence. There is a great responsibility attached to the offices of the Association, but there is also great joy in serving. We desire the prayers of its members that we follow the Lord’s will in every action and decision.
The moderator asked for a motion and second to allow him to appoint all committees necessary to carry on the business of the association. It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator to appoint any and all such committees.
The moderator then appointed the following committees:
Committee on Electrical and PA System: Delmer McPherson (chairman), Scott Mellons, Eric McPherson, Clifford Bledsoe, Danny Lawson, Adam Lawson, and Curtis Hale.
Committee on Newly Constituted Churches: Ministers: Jason Robinette (chairman) and Robert Brown; Deacons: Roy Jones, Ralph Baker, and Clifton Horne; Laymen: Doyle O’dell and Carson Sturgill.
Committee on Finance: David Parsons (chairman), Daniel Hurd, and Hunter Hensley.
Committee on Obituaries: Jim Emery (chairman), Roger Manring, and Curtis Hale.
Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries: Ministers: Oscar Irvin (chairman), Burnice Sybert, Joseph Robinette, Roger VanHoose, Mike Fullington, Scott Tipton, and John Banks.
The moderator reminded the delegation that the use of ribbons for members of committees was discontinued, but we will continue to use ribbons to identify delegates.
The moderator reminded the delegation that Excused Absence forms are available at the clerk’s desk, as well as a Community Service form.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk to replenish the necessary forms to properly perform his duties.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to have all things which are standard printed in the minutes.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk $2,000 in appreciation for his services.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator $1,000 in appreciation for his services.
Brother Delmer McPherson, chairman of the Electrical and PA System Committee, came forward to give the report, stating it was wonderful to see all those able to be here, it’s a pleasure to serve, and thank God for saving his soul. Brother McPherson stated the new sound system was still working well. Brother McPherson’s service is greatly appreciated by all, especially those who are listening from outside the tent.
Brother Roy Jones, chairman of the Religious Exercises Committee, came forward to give the committees report.
• Thursday night at Willow Chapel: Jason Robinette, Roger VanHoose, Sammy VanHoose
• Friday Morning in Stand: Joseph Robinette and John Banks
The clerk reported all financial transactions of the year to the delegation.
The business being concluded, the delegation was dismissed in prayer, led by brother Joe Robinette, until Friday morning, October 2, 2020.
The Lord blessed His people as they gathered for the second day of this 168th association. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in singing several songs of Zion. Saints will sing redemption’s story with voices clear and strong when the redeemed are gathering in. There to meet with loved ones nevermore to say goodbye. We’ll finally be satisfied.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to today’s service. Thank God for blessing us with another day. May God continue to pour out his Spirit upon His children as we worship Him through song and praise.
We were blessed with special singing from the two host churches, led by Kala Hale, Tony Smith, Steve Minton, Amy Bledsoe, and Mishayla Hensley. When the storms of doubt against me roll, and the sea is rough, I ask the Lord to take control. When my burdens are over and my work here is through, I want to stroll over Heaven with you. All the troubles and heartaches have vanished away. There will be no sorrows there. No more clouds in the sky, and no more tears to dim the eye. What a day that will be, to be with the One who died for me!
Many in attendance raised their hands while praising our Merciful God. Rejoicing could be heard all throughout the tent.
Testimonies were shared, and prayer requests were made for the lost, the sick, our churches, Carter Hagar, Pauline King, Lillie Bell Reed, Jean Brewer, Ronnie and Nancy Brewer, Jim Bowlin, Eddie Malone and his family, Lenore Stevens’s daughter, Holly Lawson, Deion Tolbott, Ashley Absher, Elder Lewis Baker, Eugene Sullivan and his wife, Wanda Gardner, Roger Manring’s friend, Wayne Gibson and others at Chestnut Flats, Sherrie Cope, Eli Miller, Kay Short, and numerous unspoken requests. Elder Burnice Sybert led the congregation to the throne of grace with a beautiful and humble prayer.
The delegation was called to order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
Elder Joseph Robinette, having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, came forward to take the first part of the service. Elder Robinette began by singing “Royal Descendant,” and then turned to the 1st chapter of St. John, reading the first fourteen verses as his text, using the twelfth verse as his thought. “But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” It seems as though the Jews should have had an easier time believing on Jesus, since they could see his miracles firsthand. Blind Bartimaeus believed and called out to Jesus to have mercy on him. The woman with the issue of blood believed and wanted so badly to get to Him. We all had a sickness unto death, even the very sin we were born into, in which Jesus Christ is both the cure and the propitiation for our sins. What manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us. Now are we the sons of God. You must be born again, not of flesh, but of God. When Christ died on the cross, He became the firstfruits of those who are asleep. It’s not yet appeared what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is. We are created a new creature by God if you’ve been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ. As a son of God, that’s who you are, a royal descendant.
Elder John Banks came to the stand to take the second half of the preaching service. He stated that he is thankful for the inheritance of this annual gathering, but that’s not the inheritance. The real inheritance comes by our spirit being drawn to God. Jesus hasn’t changed, not since the first meeting of the Primitive Baptists, and not since the beginning of time. He sent the only One who was truly righteous to become the sacrifice for all of us that are unrighteous, so that we could be ambassadors for Christ. If we humble ourselves, He will lift us up. He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. That change must take place in your heart. Now is the day of salvation. The Word is still going out. If the grave were the last stop, we are of all men most miserable, but we have hope in Christ. There is still a joy unspeakable and full of glory. By the Grace of God, we are here, and by the Grace of God, we are saved. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but God delivers him out of them all. Our Savior Jesus Christ is still alive today.
We are thankful for these second generations preachers for continuing to preach the Gospel and continuing this goodly heritage.
We were dismissed for lunch with a song. Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. His grace truly is amazing.
The tent began to refill following a fantastic meal provided by the host churches, and we thank all those that had a part in preparing and serving the food.
Sister Zula McCullough and Bradley Brown led the congregation in singing more praises to the Most High God. His faithful follower I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me. For all who look above and trust His matchless grace, it won’t be very long. If we are prepared to meet Jesus the King, a wonderful time it will be.
The moderator welcomed the congregation back with praise to God and words of thanks to the host churches for the great lunch.
We were further blessed with special singing and testimony from Null Lawson, Tony Smith, and Dennis and Karen Stewart alongside Roger and Sammy VanHoose. I started this Journey at an altar of prayer, and what a Journey this Journey has been. When Jesus comes that morning, the preparations are already made. He gave me a brand-new life. Satan said my Lord was gone and would not hear my prayer, but praise the Lord, the work is done, and Christ the Lord is here. I’ll not fear, for I’ll see Jesus, the one who saved me, face to face. O Lord hear my prayer before I leave; I want to live so that my friends will follow me. I’m ready to go to that Golden Shore, because I want to see Jesus.
Testimonies were shared and prayer requests were made for the lost, Georgie Lawson, Mike Fullington, Steve Hunt’s grandson, HC and Pearl Johnson, Jim Emery’s granddaughter, Naomi Adkins, baby Titus, baby Cain, James Harris, Hunter Hensley’s Dad and Papaw, Christy Bowlin, Henrietta Adams, Null Lawson’s wife, and unspoken requests all over the congregation. Elder Tommy Meade praised God then led us in prayer, thanking God for the gift of Life and Salvation in Jesus Christ, taking our requests to the Lord, and asking for His will to be done today and for the rest of the meeting.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
Brother Steve Minton, chairman of the Letter Committee, came forward to give his report. The letter committee reviewed, read, and recommends that we accept the letter from Caney Creek, as it was received by the clerk Thursday after the close of business. It was motioned, seconded and voted to seat the delegates as part of the voting body.
The moderator appointed the Church Letter Committee for 2021 which includes: Robert Brown (chairman), Gary Hall, Danny Lawson, and Ronnie Johnson (alternate).
Brother Roy Jones read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises.
• Friday night – Willow: Gary Hall, Hunter Hensley, Kevin Cross
• Saturday morning in Stand: Burnice Sybert, Oscar Irvin, Terry Sizemore
• Saturday night – Rollers: Joseph Robinette, Jason Robinette, and Sammy VanHoose
• Sunday morning – Rollers: Oscar Irvin
• Sunday morning – Burke’s Union: Joseph Robinette, Jason Robinette, and Sammy VanHoose
• Sunday morning – Poplar Grove: Billy Marcum
The clerk read the Resolution of Thanks that he had prepared. It was motioned, seconded, and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
Elder Jason Robinette, on behalf of the Committee on Newly Constituted Churches, reported with sadness that none had been received.
Elder David Parson reported on the behalf of the Committee on Finance. It was reported that there were $5490 in receipts for the year. The chairman thanked each church and individual for their contributions.
Elder Jim Emery reported on behalf of the Committee on Obituaries that 28 have been received at this time.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries reported that no queries had been received.
The men chosen to write the circular letter for 2020 were Elders Mike Fullington, Keith Holt, and Chris Salley. Elders Holt and Salley came forward and Elder Salley read their letter, as Elder Fullington was unable to attend due to health reasons. Its message to each of us was one of encouragement, which is especially needed as we continue to deal with the current global pandemic. It was motioned, seconded, and voted to print the letter in our minutes as it was read.
The moderator noted that all committees are dismissed upon delivering their final report.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Circular Letters for 2021 which includes: Elders Kevin Cross, Harmon Willis, and Wally Berry.
Elder Scott Tipton came forward to give a report concerning adding an awning to the mobile kitchen, as requested from last year. As a result of an anonymous donation, the awning was already purchased and installed. Elder Tipton also reported that there was another anonymous donation to purchase two new air conditioners for the mobile kitchen, and that Willow Chapel purchased new sit-down tables for the Association. The host churches together purchased new folding stand-up tables to replace the heavy wooden tables, but they have not arrived.
Brother Clifton Horne reported that a new 24’ enclosed trailer was purchased. In order to transport and store all the equipment (tent, chairs, etc.) of the Association, we needed heavier axles than originally specified. The trailer which was purchased is expected to serve the Association very well.
Our Moderator led the congregation in singing “I’d Rather be an Old Time Christian” as several volunteers took up an offering to help with Association expenses. A generous donation of $1036 was received. Another $70 in donations were received outside of the offering.
The moderator reminded the delegation that only those chosen or appointed by their respective churches as delegates were allowed to vote, and the maximum number of votes per church was 4, if all delegates are present. Likewise, if only one delegate was present, then the church would only have one vote.
There were two churches that asked for the association to meet with them next year. These are Fairview (Bellbrook) and Willow Chapel. Elder Jason Robinette delivered the plea for Fairview. Elder Scott Tipton was to deliver the plea for Willow Chapel, but he withdrew prior to a vote, as led by the Spirit.
By default, the association was sent to Fairview (Bellbrook), where, the Good Lord willing, we will convene on Thursday morning (September 30, 2021) before the first Saturday in October 2021 for the 169th gathering. The introductory and alternate sermons will be preached by Elders Joseph Robinette and Jason Robinette, respectively.
Brother Robert Brown dismissed us in prayer as we were adjourned until Saturday morning, October 3, 2020.
God blessed His children once again as they gathered for our memorial service. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in singing the songs of hope and praise. Dear friends, there’ll be no sad farewells. There’ll be no tear-dimmed eyes where the soul of man never dies. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, oh the half has never yet been told. Some sweet day, I’ll reach that strand, still guided by the unseen hand.
Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone to our Saturday morning memorial service, thanking God for the privilege and blessings of gathering together for the 168th annual session. He praise the Lord for providing us wonderful meals this week, not just the physical meals, but the spiritual meals that we’ve been able to eat. He asked that we each redeem the time in order to give God glory. What a wonderful time is ahead for all who know Him.
We were further blessed with testimony, praise reports, and praises to the King from David and Wanda Parsons with Kim Robinette, Elder Sammy VanHoose, Tony Smith, Amy Bledsoe, Elder Scott Tipton, and Elder Terry Sizemore. Gently I feel the touch of his hand, leading the way to Heaven’s bright shore. Troublesome waters I’m fearing no more. One day I went to and altar, and I came up a millionaire. My treasures are laid up there. He said I want to set you free, and then He opened up the door. If you have friends in Glory Land who’ve left because of pain, they’ll suffer not again. The way seems dark and drear, but just a little talk with Jesus makes it right. I once was lost, but now I’m found. I was blind, but now I see.
It was a blessing to see and hear those in attendance praising God, shouting and rejoicing.
Testimonies were shared and prayer requests were made for the lost, Naomi Adkins, Steve Hunt’s grandson, Vicki Jones, Ella V. Fisher Gillam, Bradley and Juanita Bowen, Danny Lawson, Eileen Brown, Bonnie Wilson’s friend and her family, Bruce Addington, Sue Hudson, Roger Manring’s family, Steve Minton, all the leaders of our country, and numerous unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Brother David Horton humbly led the congregation in prayer, asking God to extend mercy to and open the eyes of the lost.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded, and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read, with the addition as requested.
Brother Roy Jones provided the final report of the Religious Exercises Committee.
• Saturday morning in Stand: Burnice Sybert, Oscar Irvin, Terry Sizemore
• Saturday night – Rollers: Joseph Robinette, Jason Robinette, and Sammy VanHoose
• Sunday morning – Copper Creek: Curtis Hale, Scott Tipton, and Jason Cotter
• Sunday morning – Rollers: Oscar Irvin
• Sunday morning – Burke’s Union: Joseph Robinette, Jason Robinette, and Sammy VanHoose
• Sunday morning - Poplar Grove: Billy Marcum
It was stated that we would continue to print Sister Eileen Brown’s contact information in the minutes as she continues sending out revival and special service notices. Please let her know by the 20th of the month for the notice to be included in next month’s announcements. Individuals and churches should send a donation to help Sister Eileen with postage and handling. Her contact information is as follows: Please report to her via email.
Elder Scott Tipton came to extend thanks to landowners that allowed the use of their land beside the church, many local businesses that provided donations of money, goods, and services, and Mark and Tina Williams for staying at night and watching over the grounds. Many more than the two host churches were represented in the work that was done to make the association happen.
It was moved, seconded, and voted that the moderator would be allowed to have a discussion concerning restarting the 5th Saturday night fellowship meeting, beginning January 30th, asking for a church to volunteer. The fellowship meetings were discontinued due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elder Burnice Sybert volunteered, inviting everyone to the next fellowship meeting to be at West View, and we are looking forward to that fellowship.
For many years, the Saturday morning service has been dedicated as a memorial service for those saints who have passed from among us. The moderator read the names of those that have moved on to a better home since we last met. Please remember their families in your prayers, and we thank God for their friendship.
Having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, Elder Burnice Sybert took the lead in our memorial service. This is the 65th time the Saturday morning service has been held in memorial to those gone on their reward, which is to be present with the Lord. The memorial service originally remembered the departed elders, but within a few years, was dedicated to all members of the association that have gone Home in the last year. Many have gone on to Heaven since our association began.
Elder Sybert read from the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, verses 1-11, using as a thought, “keep in memory; He was seen.” He came to His own, but His own received him not. They failed to believe that Jesus was the one they had been waiting for, even knowing the prophesies from the Old Testament. As many as did believe were given the power to become the sons of God. Jesus’s primary purpose was not to heal the sick, but to seek and to save that which was lost; he did those miracles that people might believe on Him. Paul was taught at the feet of Gamaliel, was very well learned, and was a Jew of Jews. He heard the Gospel from Steven, just before Steven was stoned. That Gospel continued to prick his heart. Paul saw Him in the Spirit, in a vision on the road to Damascus. We’ve heard His voice as one of authority and of power. A voice that calls us out of sin or into service for God. Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will see the ones who have gone on before us to be in their spiritual body. Their eternal body will be given on the day of resurrection. The soul and spirit will be reunited with the glorified body. We miss the ones we only see at the Association. We miss the ones who have gone on, but we will be reunited.
Elder Oscar Irvin took the second preaching portion of our memorial service from the same thought, that “He was seen.” God allowed Moses to see His hinder parts. Isaiah saw God high and lifted up. We understand that Christ had been seen by a different generation. Even before the world was, He was. Before Adam received the breath of life, Jesus was. When Jesus took back the keys to death and hell, He brought life back to the Adam-race. He died on the cross, and He was risen for our justification. We’re alive, because we believe the record that God gave of His Son. We were dead and could not even look for Him, but He left the 99 and sought me out and bought me with His redeeming blood. He paid off our sin-debt, and now we belong to Him. We saw Christ raised from the dead, and we believe that He lives in us. Thomas and Mary knew Him when he called their name. We know his voice, and the voice of a stranger we will not follow. This house of clay goes down in mortality and is raised in immortality. It goes down corruptible and is raised incorruptible. God withholds no good things from those that love Him.
Elder Terry Sizemore, having announced his call to preach 38 years ago to the day, came forward with another wonderful message from God. He used the second verse, and his thought was, “we must believe.” Christ revealed Himself unto Thomas in the flesh, but we don’t have to see in the natural. Peter and the apostles were waiting in the upper room to receive the power. We have seen Him made alive through the same power. It’s not just a man-choice, but a God-choice. No man can come to God, unless he be drawn. The power of God fell, and they preached to Jews of every nation, and all that heard understood their words. The power that God ordained from Heaven comes down on the ones who believe, even though they have not seen. Just as Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him, He asks us to affirm our love for Him. Do the work that God has put at your charge. We overcome Satan with the words of our testimony unto the lost. Satan desires to sift you as wheat, to separate and cause division, and to tear you to pieces. Just as Jesus prayed for Peter, He’s prayed for us. We need the prayers of each other, but we can go to Him directly. Paul had to humbly come to Jesus, as we all can only know Him for ourselves. Christians can only point the lost to Christ. God pulled Philip from a wonderful meeting to go to the road to Gaza. He saw the chariot of the eunuch who was the treasurer to the queen of Ethiopia. He joined himself with him. We need to be willing to get up in the chariot when they need our help. We need to tell people the Goodness of our Savior.
Thank God for these men and their willingness to stand firm and preach the truth of His word.
We were dismissed in songs of praise led by Sister Zula McCullough. Precious memories, how they linger. Fellowship and praise were shared, and we were adjourned until Sunday morning, October 4, 2020.
By the mercy of God, we were allowed another opportunity to gather in fellowship, this time inside the church house at Copper Creek (Addington Frame) for our last service of the 168th annual session of the Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists.
Elder Harmon Willis welcomed everyone, asking everyone to mind the Holy Spirit this morning. Elder Willis asked that if anyone was here and lost, they would take the opportunity to get it fixed up this morning. Elder Roger Manring opened the service in prayer, asking God to guide the words of the preachers.
Congregational singing began by singing “Just One Way to the Gate,” led by Steve Minton. Tony Smith and Kala Hale also led us in singing several songs of praise to our Lord and Savior. We were delighted by special singing from Larsyn Bledsoe, Millie Hale, Tony Smith, Steve and Flo Minton, Anita Howell, Amy Bledsoe, and several others.
Elder Curtis Hale opened the preaching service with testimony and by reading the first ten verses from the second chapter from the first epistle of Peter. Elder Hale used the thought, “Jesus, a living stone, and ye also as lively stones.” Many times, we have been disobedient, just as when Moses smote the rock when he was told to speak. God still poured the water out of the rock, and God still pours out blessings on us. He still pours out the living water upon those that are drawn unto Him and call upon Him. Nothing can wash us clean except having the blood of Jesus applied to our soul. None of us are made worthy of Jesus by our works. We have nothing to build upon in ourselves, but we must build upon the Chief Cornerstone who is Jesus Christ. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
Brother Jason Cotter, a man of God and a friend to many members of our Association, then spoke from the ninth verse of the same chapter. He began by giving his testimony of salvation, how he was called out of darkness into the marvelous light. He lifted us out of the miry clay and set our feet upon the Solid Rock. Jesus was the only One who could help us out of the situation that we were in. We went from being not a people to now having obtained mercy. God has the Door open this morning, and one day it will be closed; don’t wait until it is too late.
Elder Scott Tipton came to take the last part of the preaching service, using the same text and the thought, “we were not a people.” We were once a people who could not be attached to the chief cornerstone. Jesus told Peter that upon this rock I will build my church. We must be fitly framed together with Christ. Elder Tipton ended by begging the lost to come to an altar of repentance. Many gathered around the altar to pray, and one precious soul escaped Hell and gained life eternal. Praise the Lord that He is still in the saving business!
The service ended with testimonies of those that prayed at the altar, testimonies of several others, and words and songs of thanksgiving to God, and lunch was served.
I pray God will continue to bless all our churches and their respective members over the next year, and we are looking so forward to the gathering in Bellbrook, Ohio for the 169th annual session.