First Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Association, Inc. to hold 151st Annual Session
Historic Baptist Association will convene at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
By Linda T. Fortenberry, Ph.D
Special to the Outlook
The faith-based community in Florida’s Big Bend is bursting with spiritual glee in joyful anticipation of the 151st Annual Session of the historic First Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Association, Inc. First Bethlehem will convene, Oct. 2 – Oct. 7, at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 224, N. Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard, in Tallahassee. Reverend Dr. RB Holmes is the Host Pastor for the week. First Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Association, Inc. is comprised of approximately 72 churches in the Big Bend area and beyond.
Undergirded by the theme “Conquering Our Communities by Clinging to the Cross,” the presentations for this 151st Annual Session are theologically rooted in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Peter 2:24-25; and Romans 12:16. The Annual Session begins Monday with an Executive Board meeting followed by the official “Welcome Program” presented by the host church, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. It concludes Saturday, Oct. 7, with a Youth Explosion. Throughout the day and every evening, delegates will participate in seminars, sermons and plenary sessions related to missions, education and evangelism. Additionally, the heads of the various auxiliaries will deliver their annual messages. A grand banquet is scheduled Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Bethel Family Life Center.
“We are delighted and excited to welcome this annual session” said Holmes. “Now, more than ever, people of faith, character, and conviction, must stand up and step out for Jesus. We are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray that our delegates will come praying and leave shouting the victory in Jesus. We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus!” stated Holmes.
Rev. Dr. Isaac Manning, is the moderator of the First Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Association, Inc. He recently completed his first four year term as moderator. As a tribute to his leadership, Moderator Manning was reelected as moderator without opposition and will begin his second four year term in this annual session. Moderator Manning believes in the power of God unto salvation and has guided the Association to a place of focus, faith, and fellowship. “We are God’s children, united by the blood of Jesus. As we “Cling to the Cross” we tell the world that Jesus is Lord!” proclaimed Moderator Manning. His vision for the Association will be presented, Oct. 4, at 7:00 p.m. for his annual message.
First Vice Moderator, Dr. Charlie Barfield, applauds Dr. Manning’s dynamic leadership. “I personally hope we have a great gathering at Bethel. We are praying that the people come together and have a glorious time. Moderator Manning has been great for us. By following and supporting him, our Association can do greater work for kingdom building” stated Dr. Barfield. “As it is written in 2 Chronicles 7:14, I pray that our Association would collectively seek God’s guidance and direction through prayer and supplication, and humbly submit to the will of God, that we may lead God’s people as His spirit leads us” stated Second Vice-Moderator, Elder Melvin Crawford. “First Bethlehem has a relevant role in today’s society. Many of our churches need our support and prayers. The collective voice of First Bethlehem is a critical factor in church growth and stability. The preparation of our church leaders in teaching and preaching sound doctrine is paramount in today’s society” stated Dr. Mack Johnson, Third Vice-Moderator.
Evangelist Miner Brookins serves as President of the Women’s Auxiliary. She is prayerfully looking forward to a spirit-filled annual session for the Women’s Auxiliary which includes the Women, Young Women and the Ministers’ Wives and Widows. Additionally, the Women’s Auxiliary is coordinating the Association’s annual banquet Thursday evening at 6:00 PM. Mother Rethia L. Hudson has served First Bethlehem over sixteen years through three moderators. She is a tireless worker in the Association and faithful servant. Her responsibilities include coordinating all associational logistics, registration information, communications and ensuring that the annual sessions are well-planned and executed each year. Her familiarity with all aspects of associational work has endeared her to the moderators, pastors and members of First Bethlehem.