By Jeff Huett
When Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of Haiti, killing more than 1,000 when it made landfall on October 4, Pastor David Johnson thought of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Field Personnel Jenny Jenkins.
Johnson and his Overland Baptist Church congregation partners with Jenkins in Haiti, alongside other CBF Heartland churches.
It’s connections like this one with Jenkins in medical missions that have made partnership with CBF so important to the church over the years. Overland has been a CBF partner church for all 25 years of the Fellowship’s existence. That 25-year partnership is exactly one quarter of Overland’s life. This year, the church turns 100 years old.
The church celebrated its past, future and its connection with CBF and CBF Heartland at a special Centennial Celebration on Sunday. The service coincided with the start of CBF Celebration Week, which runs today through Oct. 23.
CBF Heartland Coordinator Jeff Langford and its former coordinator Harold Phillips were on hand to congratulate members of the church on its anniversary and celebrate CBF’s 25th year. Dr. Paula Jackson, the daughter of former Overland Baptist pastor H. Dale Jackson and rector of Church of Our Saviour Episcopal Church in Cincinnati, preached.
But this celebration was more than a one-day event. Johnson said the congregation wanted to celebrate throughout the year by completing 100 community service projects. He said the church surpassed 100 and probably approached 200 projects.
“The church is active in serving its neighbors,” Johnson said.
Johnson and a fellow member serve in leadership for the local Meals on Wheels program and the church spearheads an innovative partnership between a group of churches and the local Ritenour County Schools to provide utility assistance to the families of students. The coalition of churches includes congregations of the Presbyterian, Methodist, United Church of Christ, Lutheran and General Baptist churches. The partnership, called Ritenour Co-care, is supported through offerings collected by the churches, by many school teachers in the county through payroll deduction, and through an annual trivia night that raises thousands of dollars, Johnson said.
The congregation is also a fun, upbeat presence in the community. Its 7-member Bluegrass band called the Glory Pickers (with Johnson on banjo) travels throughout the community playing at civic events, nursing homes and outdoor festivals.
Overland is a congregation that is a few years older than city in which it resides. It is healthy and poised to begin its next 100 years.
“We’re future-oriented here at Overland,” Johnson said. “And I believe church success is measure in centuries. Just talk the European Baptists about that.”
Join Overland Baptist Church and other churches and individuals from across the Fellowship in celebrating 25 years of CBF October 16-23. During this week, Fellowship churches and individuals will set aside intentional times of celebration to honor CBF’s 25th Anniversary. Through special worship services, mission projects, Bible studies, state and regional gatherings and other special events, this CBF Celebration Week will be an opportunity for Cooperative Baptists across the country and around the world to thank God for the past 25 years and look forward to our future as a Fellowship. Resources are available at www.cbf.net/cbf25.