Alaskans travel south to help Tar Heels
March 14 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Alaskans travel south to help Tar Heels | Friday, March 15, 2002

Friday, March 15, 2002

Alaskans travel south to help Tar Heels

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

DURHAM - "Give, and it shall be given unto you ..." So said Jesus (Luke 6:38), and so it has worked out for the Glenn School Road Baptist Church in Durham.

Two years ago, pastor Robert McMillan led a mission team from the church to assist with an ongoing construction project at Birchwood Community Church in Chugiak, Alaska. When the Glenn School Road Church decided to renovate and expand its sanctuary in September of 2001, members planned to do most of the work themselves. But, to minimize the amount of time the sanctuary would be unusable, they knew a boost from a visiting work team would be invaluable.

McMillan remembered that when the Baptist State Convention (BSC) entered a three-year mission partnership with Alaska Baptists in 2000, officials insisted that it should work both ways. So, he called partnership coordinator Mark Abernathy to request the aid of a mission team from Alaska, and the Rabbit Creek Community Church in Anchorage was quick to respond.

Members of the Rabbit Creek Church know about missions. Their contemporary, multilevel church facility is both attractive and functional - and it was built with the help of a long string of volunteer teams from Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, states that had previous partnerships with Alaska Baptists.

Now they are giving back. Every year, Rabbit Creek Community Church sends out mission teams. They have been as far south as Mexico, and as far north as Kiana and Kobuc, above the Arctic Circle. Later this fall, they will assist with church construction in Honduras, coordinated through the BSC's partnership office.

Alaska's ministry needs are great and there have been many requests for assistance from BSC volunteers. Hundreds of Tar Heel Baptists have made the trek to participate in Alaska mission projects - 681 went in 2000, 1,285 in 2001, and more than 1,000 are expected in 2002. But, there have been few requests inviting Alaska Baptists to return the favor. Two Alaskans have come to assist with relief efforts related to Hurricane Floyd, but Glenn School Road Church was the first BSC congregation to request a team from "the Last Frontier."

The Rabbit Creek Church was glad for the opportunity to help, said Kenneth Chadwick, a church member who is also Alaska's director of state missions, stewardship and men's ministries. Chadwick, an Arkansas native and 37-year veteran with the North American Mission Board (formerly the Home Mission Board), has been in Alaska since 1996. He plans to retire later this year and move to Colorado.

Eight members from Rabbit Creek made the trip, and most of them found lodging with church members Lenny and Junior Weaver. Their only complaint was that the food was too good, and there was too much of it. Anchorage gets only a few hours of sunlight this time of year, so team members were glad to see the sun high in the sky.

North Carolina volunteers go to Alaska with visions of side trips to see ice-blue glaciers, snowy mountains, rivers of salmon and picturesque harbors.

What did the Alaska team hope to see and do in Durham? For Michael Dupree, minister of youth and education at Rabbit Creek, the extracurricular highlight was a visit to Duke University, where he had his picture taken at center court in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Team members also visited the lemur research center at Duke, but their primary goal was to work, said Kim Perkins, as she drove screws into a section of drywall.

And work they did.

The team began work on Friday, March 1. They worked every day but Sunday, when they worshipped with the Glenn School Road congregation, and Tuesday, when heating contractors were scheduled to be in the building.

During the course of the week, they removed pews and other furniture, ripped up the carpet, dismantled the stage and demolished a wall before adding insulation, installing drywall, and working to finish a newly raised section of the roof.

McMillan was impressed and pleased with the amount of work done during the week, and said church members would be back in their sanctuary soon.

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over."

Partnership works both ways.

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3/14/2002 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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