Pastor Duane Caldwell reminded us in our first newsletter of the year that we needed to understand that there are the same amount of seconds, minutes, hours, and days in 2017 as there were in 2016, and the Lord should never have to ask us if we have some time. When Jesus died on the cross, He put aside everything to ensure us eternal life. We should be more than grateful to do service for the Lord, to witness, and to tell anyone we can about Jesus. He had more than enough time for us. The least we could do is have time for Him.
The Co-Director of our Sunday School, Diane Foster, encouraged everyone in the monthly Sunday School report to get involved in a Sunday School class, stating that the study of God’s word helps prepare us for the trials and temptations we face on a daily basis.
Suzanne Emerson, our WMU Director, asked that we support God’s Pit Crew by helping to fill a “Blessing Bucket” to help the people who are left homeless from weather related disasters. In 2016 God’s Pit Crew distributed over 15,000 “Blessing Buckets” to those affected. Ringgold Baptist Church met its goal of 50 “Blessing Buckets.”
Madison Norris, Minister to Children and Youth, began a new series of study called “Be Near” with the Amplify and Transient groups. They learned how we can get close to God, stay close to God, and determine if we are really as dedicated as we think. “Love!” was the theme for the Ringgold Baptist Church kids. They defined love as “choosing to treat others the way you want to be treated.”
On January 15 at 5 p.m. we had the 2017 organization meeting for all of our church committees.
Art Johnson and Robbie Richardson were ordained as deacons in our morning worship service on January 22.
On February 5, we observed Baptist Men’s Day. Our speakers were Landon Horne, Allen Ruis, and Bobby Scearce. This was also our Sunday for Boy Scout Recognitions. Boy Scout Troup 372 and Cub Scout Troop 372, along with their leaders, were present for the worship service.
In our business meeting on February 8, the Building and Grounds Committee recommended that we remove the existing HVAC unit and replace it with two LP gas furnaces plus a 5-ton AC unit replacing the old AC unit for a cost of $26,580. This recommendation was approved.
On March 11, we had to say goodbye to two of our very faithful members, Allen and Paula Ruis. Allen retired from the State Police force, and they chose to pursue a long-time dream to travel in an RV around the country to visit and work in our nation’s national parks. We will miss them tremendously, but we were assured that they would come back for visits and that wherever their travels took them, Ringgold Baptist Church would always be home and dear to their hearts.
The WMU made a donation to Samaritan’s Purse for 1,050 Gospel Booklets, which will be given to children who receive an Operation Christmas Child shoebox around the world. These Gospel Booklets were given in honor of the 15 years that Paula and Allen have passionately worked with Operation Christmas Child at Ringgold Baptist Church, the Pittsylvania Baptist Association, and the processing centers in Charlotte and Boone, North Carolina. The Eva Walton Circle hosted a farewell reception for Paula and Allen on March 5.
At our business meeting on April 12, a “Thank You” went out to Curtis Lewis for painting the baptistry. Brian Horne, representing the Building and Grounds Committee, announced that the project on the heating/air system had been completed and the bills had been paid.
On April 14 at 7 p.m., Ginger Collie directed the Good Friday Drama, “Have You Seen My Son?” On Saturday, April 15, we had the community Easter Egg Hunt, which began with a free pancake breakfast.
On Easter Sunday, April 16, at 6:30 a.m., we had the Sunrise Service followed by breakfast in the Family Life Center. Our adult choir, under the direction of Dan Wolfe, presented the Easter Cantata, “The Song Everlasting” in three sections (April 2 – “Ministry,” April 9 – “Humility,” and April 16 – “Victory”). Pastor Duane’s sermon on Easter was “The Victory of Christ” from 1 Corinthians 15:20-26.
On Sunday, April 23, Hazel Newton was honored by the WMU. Hazel and her family moved to the Ringgold area and started attending Ringgold Baptist Church in 1968. Immediately she became involved in the mission programs of the church and has continued to be actively involved until just recently when her own health and family issues caused her to slow down.
In 1976, Hazel became WMU Director at Ringgold Baptist Church and served in that capacity for 16 years until 1992. Then she served as co-director with Mary Edna Sellers for another 13 years. In the 49 years that Hazel has been a member of Ringgold Baptist Church, she always kept her focus on missions and served her church and community in so many ways. Over a hundred people attended the lunch in honor of Hazel, including Mary Edna Sellers and Rev. Carl and Susan Burger.
Our spring revival was April 30 – May 3 with evangelist Steve Freeman of Colonial Heights Baptist Church.
On May 7 during the morning worship service, we had the Baby and Child Dedication. The children dedicated were Lizzie Kaye McDarmont, Kellam Pierce Wallace, and Nolan Bailey Wallace.
On Mother’s Day, May 14, we had “Muffins for Mom” (muffins, coffee, and juice at 8:30 a.m.) to honor and remember the special “Moms and Women” in our lives. Flowers were placed in the sanctuary in loving memory of Bernice Clark by her family. Bernice spent a lifetime of loving and giving to her family, her church, and her community. Pastor Duane’s sermon, “A Home a Mother Wants to Stay In,” was taken from Colossians 3:12-15.
On Sunday, May 21, we had a special video presentation for our graduates. Lunch was served in honor of the graduates after our morning worship service.
On Memorial Day, there was a presentation of colors by the Dan River JROTC. At the end of the service, the Memorial Wreath was removed and placed at the church marquee.
In our business meeting on June 14, the Brotherhood Committee reported that they had completed two projects in the community. Representing the Building and Grounds Committee, Mac McDowell made a motion to accept a bid of $2,800 to clean, paint, and seal our steeple. The motion passed.
From the WMU report, the Eva Walton Circle had participated in the Engage Ministry in Danville by baking cookies and carrying four dozen to each Danville fire department station, the Lifesaving Crew, Ringgold Volunteer Fire Department, and the police station. A thank you note was delivered also to indicate appreciation for their daily service.
On Father’s Day, donuts, coffee and juice were served to remember and honor the special “Dads and Men” in our lives. Pastor Duane’s sermon, “A Father’s Example” was taken from Genesis 35:1-15.
Five of our sixth and seventh graders attended camp at Ridgecrest June 17-21. We had a number of fundraisers to raise money for our Youth Mission Trip to Puerto Rico:
- Soup(er) Bowl Sunday on February 5, was hosted by the youth with donations of $850.
- Amplify Student Ministry hosted a pancake breakfast on March 5 with donations of $1,500.
- Spaghetti lunch sponsored by the WMU on April 23 with donations of $1,500
- Wendy’s Spirit night for Missions with donations of $145
- Dustin Haberer donated $1 for every meal purchased at Nana Karen’s during the month of May.
During the morning worship service on July 2, we had prayer and the commissioning for our youth mission team trip to Puerto Rico, which occurred July 8-15. Five of our youth and four chaperones took the message of Jesus Christ to Puerto Rico. While there, they held a Vacation Bible School. We had a Mission Trip Recap on Sunday, July 23, where each member of the team told about his/her experience in Puerto Rico.
Our Vacation Bible School (Gadgets and Gizmos), directed by Madison Norris and Lauren Horne, was held July 24-28. There was an average of 63 children per night. Donations of $718.32 were collected for God’s Pit Crew.
On July 30, we observed Wildcat Sunday honoring the State Champions of the Dan River High School baseball team and State Champion members of the Dan River High School Track Team. There was a spaghetti luncheon following the morning worship service.
The Baby Bottle Boomerang sponsored by the WMU was a huge success this year with donations totaling $952.53. This ministry shares the gospel of Jesus and upholds the sanctity of human life.
On August 6 at 5 p.m., a special time of praise and worship was held. The “New Song Community Choir” was our musical guest. Our annual ice cream social followed this event.
In our business meeting on August 9, Brian Horne from the Building and Grounds Committee, reported that the outside handrails had been repaired and painted by Garrett Hughes, Mac McDowell, and Billy DeMott.
On Wednesday, August 16, at 6:30 p.m., Dan Wolfe, Minister of Music, had the Annual Choral Roundup. This event was for all choir members and anyone interested in joining the choir. There was a choir practice and a delicious meal catered by our very talented chef, Dustin Haberer.
A very impressive service, “Sunday of Hope Presentation” was held on August 20 during the morning worship service. Special recognition was given to anyone in the church family who had fought cancer and beat it, who is currently fighting cancer, or who lost the battle to cancer. A special thanks to Jennifer Gregory and Bobra Robinson for coordinating this event.
Leslie Blair has been our pianist for 10 years, and Ringgold Baptist Church is so blessed to have her. In the August Reflector, Leslie reciprocated her love for her church family stating that she played for God and played for us. She said one of her favorite memories from the church was when some of the members came caroling on her doorstep when she was only a few days away from delivering Eli. She said that she was overwhelmed and would never forget that display of love. She also said that Ringgold Baptist Church was a model of generosity and love for others, that it had been a pleasure to serve us for 10 years, and that she hoped to serve for many more. Leslie, you are the greatest and we pray and hope so too. We love and appreciate you so much.
Our Sunday School report in August was titled “Nursery Blessings!” It stated that on the past Sunday, there were toddlers galore in our nursery. Good News!
It was announced in August that the Misty Adkins Scholarship for 2017 was presented to Sarah Sparks, who will be attending Liberty University in the fall.
The debt for our Family Life Center was paid off in August. On Sunday, September 10, the Trustees of our church (Jimmy Morris, John Foster, and Bobby Scearce) held the Note Burning Ceremony in the sanctuary.
Our Fall Revival was held September 24-27 with Dr. Buddy Pigg as our evangelist. Dr. Pigg is from Matthews, North Carolina, and pastor of Mt. Harmony Baptist church. He was a former pastor of Pastor Duane and his wife Dena.
September 27 was the last official day for Laura Davis, our administrative secretary. Laura has been our secretary for eight years and has done a great job. Laura always had a smile on her face and was more than willing to help on the telephone or in person in her office. We wish her well in her new endeavors.
Sunday, October 8, was Global Hunger Relief Day. We had our annual beans, rice, and cornbread lunch to remember those in our world who are starving. Donations of $610 went to our Backpack Buddies Ministry.
Ringgold Baptist Church had 70 volunteers to participate in Operation Inasmuch on Saturday, October 14. Activities included collection of food at Food Lion and Piggly Wiggly for God’s Storehouse and serving customers at a local laundromat by giving out laundry packets of detergent, dryer sheets, and quarters. In addition, baby items were collected for Transition Pregnancy Solutions.
On that same day, we had the Fall Festival from 5:30 – 8 p.m.. This was organized and directed by Madison Norris, the youth, and other volunteers. Ray and Mac McDowell prepared the annual stew, and the Joy Club provided desserts. We also had hot dogs, popcorn, games, a bounce house, face painting, photo booth, hay rides, cake walk, prizes and more. A good time was had by all!
Thirty-nine Blessing Bags were donated to God’s Pit Crew for children in disaster areas. Each two-gallon Ziploc bag contained a stuffed animal, coloring books, crayons, stickers, a New Testament, and a personal note. This was headed up by the WMU.
Twenty-five volunteers packed bags for the Backpack Buddies ministry, which provides weekend meals to children at Kentuck Elementary School and Dan River Middle School. Ringgold Baptist Church and Kentuck Baptist Church prepared these bags for 30 students throughout the school year. Also, volunteers form the church went to Kentuck Elementary School each Tuesday and Wednesday to help children during their breakfast and lunch times.
On Sunday, October 29, at 11:30 a.m., the church was called into a business meeting for the purpose of hiring a new administrative secretary. The chairperson of the Personnel Committee, Dianne Donahoe, recommended the hiring of Cheryl Hogg. The recommendation was approved by the church membership present. The new church office hours will by Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
A parent Sunday School class was taught by Madison Norris during the month of October entitled, “It’s Just a Phase.”
The Eva Walton Circle sponsored the Baptist Women’s Day of Prayer on November 6. A prayer breakfast for church members, friends, family, co-workers, and the community was held at 6:45 a.m. About fifteen people were in attendance.
“Celebrate” came to Ringgold Baptist Church on Sunday, November 12, at 5 p.m. “Celebrate” is a local, newly-formed Praise and Worship band with approximately 15 musicians and singers, including our very own Dan Wolfe. This performance was the group’s first appearance to a congregation. It was a special night of music and worship for all in attendance. They did a great job.
November 13 was the starting date for our new Administrative Secretary, Cheryl Hogg. Cheryl, we welcome you to our church staff.
Kentuck Baptist Church hosted the annual Community Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, November 19, at 7 p.m. Seventy-two pounds of food and $552 were collected for God’s Storehouse.
Our annual Community Thanksgiving Luncheon held on November 23 was a big success as usual. A big “thank You” goes to Matt Foster, Jeannie Adkins, Katie Reynolds, and the many volunteers who helped to make this occasion so special. The guests are always very appreciative of their meal and gift bags they receive.
In our business meeting on December 13, Dianne Donahoe from the Personnel Committee presented the recommendation of changing Madison Norris’ employment for Ringgold Baptist Church from three part-time positions to one full-time position as Minister to Children and Youth. The recommendation was approved.
The Christmas season is such a special time for us at Ringgold Baptist Church. The sanctuary is always beautifully decorated. Members are placing lots and lots of Christmas cards in the Lottie Moon Christmas mailbox, sponsored by the Ruth-TEL Sunday School class. Money donations that would be used for postage goes to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.
When we have the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Commissioning, it is such a joy to see our children and youth bringing all of the boxes down the aisle and placing them at the alter in our sanctuary. This year we had 245 boxes, and our church also served as a drop-off center for other local churches and community people. Seventy-six boxes were dropped off to be shipped. A special “Thank You” to Bobra Robinson in her first year as the Operation Christmas Child Coordinator for her diligent and enthusiastic work with this project. She did an amazing job.
Each Sunday in December during the Children’s Sermon, Pastor Duane explained to the children the meaning of the Advent Candles and then let one of the children light the candle during the worship service.
The beautiful Christmas Cantata, “Celebrate the Season” was presented by the adult choir on Sunday, December 17. It was directed by Dan Wolfe, narrated by Ronnie Emerson, and accompanied by Leslie Blair. At 5 p.m. that night, we had the Children’s Christmas program, “For God So Loved,” directed by Madison Norris, Ginger Collie, and Leslie Blair. They did a great job. Following the program, there was a birthday party for Jesus in the Family Life Center. Everyone was invited to attend.
Churchwide Christmas caroling took place on Wednesday, December 20, for members who are homebound and in nursing homes.
Pastor Duane’s sermon on Christmas Eve was “No Room in the Inn” from Luke 2:1-7. At 5 p.m. we had the Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service. Pastor Duane’s sermon was “While Shepherds Watched Their Flock” from Luke 2:8-16. Scripture was read by eight-year-old Lincoln Horne.
In 2017 we added four new members. We had a baptismal service on January 29 for a candidate that made a profession of faith in December 2016.
This year we gained two new members by letter and in December, two by a profession of faith, who will be baptized in 2018.
The church lost and heaven gained eleven of our members this year. We will miss them greatly, and our prayers are with their families.
(Church History 2017 – Written by Toni Adkins, Dora Dunn, and Melody Walley)