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A weekend celebration that marked 142 years for the Shelby Baptist Association was a big success, officials say.
“I had three churches call today [Tuesday] with just glowing responses about how the weekend went,” said Tony Hough, director of missions for the Shelby Baptist Association.
Activities held Friday through Sunday included a countywide worship service Friday night at Highland Baptist Church on Mount Eden Road, and Carol Herndon, ministry associate for the SBA, said she estimates that about 150 people showed up for that service.
She said a mission’s fair on Saturday at Graenfenburg Baptist that included 40 booths really showcased missions’ activities of Shelby County Baptist churches, 26 of which were represented at the fair, she said.
“We have thirty churches in our association, and twenty-six of them participated,” she said.
Herndon said she and many others really enjoyed hearing many missionaries speak about their experiences abroad.
“We had missionaries from China, Pakistan, Africa; it was fascinating to hear what they had to say,’ she said.
Herndon said the SBA had not held a celebration in several years, and the event was a good way to focus on the association’s missions’ activities.
“It would be great if we could make it an annual event, but it would be really hard to pull it together each year,” she said.
Hough said he agreed.
“When you have so many different churches and organizations in that kind of setting, you’re talking about so many factors, so many activities to coordinate,” he said. “When you consider all that, it’s amazing that everything went so smoothly.”
Bill Barker, a national missionary to Appalachia who spoke at the event, said he was very impressed with how the event was organized.
“It was just excellent,” he said.
Other missionaries who spoke included Nik Ripken, missionary and author of the book Insanity of God, Ruth Ripken, gospel magician David Garrard, and George and Cathy Chinn of the Mississippi River Ministries.
Ripken was the guest speaker at Friday’s worship service. A rural Kentuckian, his pen name is a pseudonym he adopted to protect the identity of the real-life individuals described in the book which details his participation in leading relief efforts into Somalia before and during the “Blackhawk Down” days.
Barker said he has been attending about 20 such events a year for several years now, and he would rank Shelby’s event in the top 10 that he has ever participated in.
“I was very impressed,” he said. “When you’re a missionary participating in something like this, you appreciate it when it’s well organized and you know what to expect.”