May 9, 2005 | 1 Comment
When a church closes its doors, there is always pain. But when North Rocky Mount Baptist Church decided to disband after close to 110 years, there was also celebration. They not only celebrated because they were enabling another church to expand her ministry but also because they were able to donate $113,000 for a Campbell University Divinity School Scholarship that would ensure that the legacy of their church would live forever.
Two years ago, the small congregation took a serious look at the future and formed a committee to study options and make recommendations. This board of directors as it became known had the legal rights for the property and made the final decision to disband and sell the property to the Salvation and Praise Tabernacle at a reduced rate which made it possible for the African American church to make the purchase. The proceeds gave the North Rocky Mount Baptist Church the ability to create this scholarship for those preparing to serve as ministers. By doing so, one of the members admitted she realized they actually increased their opportunity to glorify God. In addition to the ministries that the church had been involved in North Rocky Mount, they had also started three other churches: Arlington Street in 1907; Oakdale in 1943; and Englewood in 1965. "We are now at a place in the story of North Rocky Mount Baptist Church that we must end a chapter, but the story will never completely come to an end," says Alma Joyce Crocker Reid. "Each life that has been touched by this church and its congregations will touch other lives, and those lives will touch others and so it will continue until our Savior calls us home." However, it was still not easy for the members to come to this point. The few that remained had been in the church all of their lives. The oldest member, 97-year old Robert Perry, lives next door to the church. He said that it was very difficult watching the process of losing his church happen daily. "The hardest part was the day the daycare center closed and the children left for the last time," he said almost weeping. But the members of the new church have been good to him, he added. Another church member recalled that he noticed a car in the parking lot of the church several times before it was sold as he was mowing grass and doing other chores. Since the church is located in a questionable area of town, this concerned him but before he could ask the driver to leave, a woman got out of the car and came over to him. She told him not to be concerned. She said that she was a pastor's wife and that she was coming every day to pray that they would be able to buy that property. The church member was a little surprised and explained to the woman that another church was in the process of buying it. The other proposition fell through and her prayers were answered. "Campbell Divinity School is profoundly grateful for this sacred gift presented to us by the North Rocky Mount congregation," says Dr. Michael G. Cogdill, dean of the Campbell Divinity School. "Their gift advances our mission to prepare and send out Christ-centered ministers. We will be forever grateful for their trust." Persons interested in making contributions to the North Rocky Mount Baptist Church Divinity School Scholarship may do so by sending their donations to the Campbell Divinity School at P.O. Drawer 4050, Buies Creek, NC 27506.
Photo Copy: Harold Brown, left, representing the Board of Directors of the North Rocky Mount Baptist Church, presents a check for $113,000 to Campbell University President Jerry M. Wallace. The check is from the sale of the church property and will be used for a Campbell University Divinity School scholarship.
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