Twenty-three members from Bethany Christian Church were welcomed to Sunday Vesper Services at Camp Seafarer, Sunday, July 8. From California, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and even as close as New Bern – scores of campers filed past members of Bethany, offering words of welcome, condolences for our church, and messages that they were praying for us.
Each member of Bethany present was asked to take a bookmark made by campers. One bookmark echoed the theme on the banner in Taylor Lodge where a reception honored Bethany Disciples just prior to the waterfront worship service.
One speaker spoke of events that influenced lives, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John Kennedy, the explosion of the Challenger, and for members of our church, that Monday the fire destroyed the church halls. Several inspirational messages followed about individuals seeking to be positive influences for doing God’s work.
One camper asked if we would be back to see them again. It was apparent that our church family has a dominant place in their hearts. Their summer at camp will be remembered not only by camp experiences, but also by the fire that destroyed a church near their camp and their efforts to reach out to us. It is a beckoning call that in our rebuilding, we will influence others by reaching out to them as others are reaching out to us.
“We will not rebuild Bethany based on our faith in a building, we will rebuild Bethany based on our faith in Jesus Christ.” Gary Edge
Using a simile, the church right now is like a flat balloon, Christine Beeman helped Parker Watson and Kaley Tijerina demonstrate to the congregation how working together we would rebuild the church. Over and over, the emphasis of this mini-sermon was that “we will rebuild the church with God’s help and guidance.” When a balloon filled with air was set free, it flew off in all directions and went flat again. Christine made the point that with God’s help, we would find the right direction to rebuild Bethany.
While away with their children at a camp for autism, Simon and Sara Spalding returned with an unbelievable gift to Bethany. Simon composed a moving tribute to the church and its rebuilding. He could not be present Sunday to sing it but Sara left hardly a dry eye in the congregation when she had finished her rendition of Simon’s wonderful, beautiful, and lasting tribute to the ongoing life of Bethany Christian Church, the “Church at the Crossroads.”
Click here for Simon’s words.
Please note that this moving piece of music is now copyrighted.
Click here for Simon and Sara’s website.
Gary Edge concluded the service by calling the names of faithful members of Bethany Christian Church who now live with the Lord. He said, “They are speaking to us now, they are saying ‘Stand tall …'”
Campers and counselors from both Camp Seagull and Camp Seafarer were on hand spending their July 4th holiday helping Bethany Christian Church. Ward Russell from Asheboro, NC, led a contingent of campers from Sea Gull to retrieve and stack bricks. Iris Glace from Charlotte and Taylor Sullivan from Wilmington were part of a group of campers from Seafarer helping inventory books and other items salvaged from the fire.
These young people, willing to spend their Independence Day holiday hard at work in the hot sun for a church they don’t know is an uplifting gift to the people of Bethany. On the other hand, Bethany is obviously a church they do know, for it is simply another church worshipping Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
A Note From Mac Harris
BARBARA JAMES CREATES WORSHIP BANNER
Barbara James thought Bethany needed a worship banner at the pavilion worship service last Sunday, so she designed and created the three-piece cloth banner spelling “JOY” that adorned the pavilion behind the communion table. Barbara began working on the banner Saturday before the service, and finished around 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
As she was purchasing the cloth needed to make the banner, a stranger overheard her mention the burned Bethany church and donated a yard of the cloth. The store in New Bern also donated a yard of cloth, and gave her a 15% discount on the balance of the purchase.
Bethany is lucky to count Barbara among its church family, and grateful to strangers and businesses for their kindness and help. Barbara’s banner again Sunday and beyond will remind us of the “joy” of our risen Christ, the journey upon which we have embarked to rebuild God’s Church at the Crossroads, and of the love shown by compassionate brothers and sisters who are strangers only in the sense that we do not know their names.
NEW BERN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES PRESENT PROCEEDS OF ICE CREAM SOCIAL
Representatives of Broad Street Christian Church and Highland Park Christian Church Sunday presented to the Bethany Board proceeds of the Ice Cream Social held Sunday afternoon in the Broad Street Fellowship Hall. The social raised in excess of $10,000. The Bethany Church Family greatly appreciates the generosity and Christian love shown by the people of both churches, those who attended the social, and of the Maola company, which provided the ice cream.
WORSHIP SERVICE SCHEDULE
Worship services again will be held at the Pavilion Sunday, July 8, at 10:00 a.m.
The Bethany Christian Church Board voted Sunday to begin holding Sunday School and Worship Services at Camp Caroline at regular times on July 15 : Sunday School, 10:00 a.m. and Worship, 11:00 p.m.
VESPERS SERVICE AT CAMP SEAFARER
Camp Seafarer invites the Bethany Church Family to an informal outdoor vespers service Sunday, July 8 at 7:00 p.m. The camp wishes to stay in touch with Bethany as we begin our rebuilding journey.
JENNIE ADAMS APPOINTED TO COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE
Chairman Chris Watson appointed Jennie Adams to the Communications Committee to fill the eventual vacancy when Charles Beard relocates to Wilson.
Highlights from the pulpit.
“We are on a journey, It has already begun.
“We’re all one in this. Let us lift each other up in prayer.
“Look over there, what do you see?
John Beeman, Jr., said, “I see a new start.”
“Look over there, what do you see? Some see nothing but problems. People of faith see opportunity.
“Look over there, what do you see? Some see a pile of rubble. People of faith see a shepherd we will follow.”
“It’s God who will build His church back, but He will need our help.”
Using the book of Ezra for context,”God builds us up when we renew our committment to him. God builds us up when we renew our committment to faith.
“God builds us up when we build a foundation on a rock. The foundation of our new church will be Jesus Christ. He is the solid rock from which we will build.”
And in closing, “We are in Easter people. The events of Good Friday will not hold us down.”