Decades later, youth choir members reunite under retired director

Originally published in The Christian Index

THOMASTON– Around 60 choir members crowded into the loft at First Baptist Church of Thomaston Feb. 24, between the ages of 35-65. They’d come from as far as Connecticut and California for the weekend. But this was no typical reunion. Every participant was there because the influence of Leon Newman, retired music minister at First Baptist. 

Doris and Stephanie Warnock, a mother-daughter team, put together the youth choir reunion to honor Newman, who was the music minister at First Baptist from 1973-2000. In addition to leading the adult choir, Newman invested heavily in the teenagers through youth choir. 

“Back then, in the 70s, we didn’t have a youth group, so we had youth choir. It was the youth group,” Betty Callaway Welch shared. Welch, now a member of Harp’s Crossing Baptist Church in Hollonville, was one of the 60 who returned for what she described as a “homecoming” to sing in the choir led by Newman. 

Continue reading here.

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Reaching the neighborhood ‘international mission field’ through literacy missions

Original story published in The Christian Index.

MARIETTA – Years ago, while living in New Orleans, Ann Lampert waited outside an emergency room. There, she saw a scene that would lead to what her husband Andy deemed her “calling.”

While waiting for her own son to finish a project in the hospital that day, Lampert saw a Hispanic lady rush in with her bleeding child. When the woman approached the desk, she could not explain what was wrong with her son.

“It was hard,” Lampert’s husband, Andy, recounted. “Her heart just melted.”

“Something’s got to be done about this,” he remembers her saying.

This experience led to Ann Lampert feeling called to make a difference. Read more here.

Still thankful for my Christian education

Post originally appeared in The Christian Index

Eight and a half years ago, a much more naive version of myself stood up at my high school graduation and said this in a speech:

“Attending Eastwood Christian Academy was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It has been worth every sacrifice my mom and I have made… It means everything to me that we read the Bible every morning in homeroom, as well as begin each day with prayer. Only at a Christian school does a student have the privilege of attending a chapel service every Wednesday. I am so thankful that if I have ever needed to get godly advice or if I ever needed to just talk to someone, the teachers here at Eastwood have always been available to me and willing to take the time to listen and pray with and for me.

I added, “The price of tuition is so small compared to the price that a student has to pay not to be surrounded by this atmosphere…”

I started attending this very small, very conservative Christian school in 2001. After graduation, I’d go on to attend (a series of) small Christian universities (kudos to people who pick one college and stick with it). I’d graduate from a small Christian university and go on to start my graduate studies at a Southern Baptist seminary.

All of this is to say that I’m a product of Christian education. And I owe my life, most of my spiritual foundation, and a whole lot of my growth in Christ to my experience in Christian education… continue reading here.