/The Pastor’s Pen/
/104th Church Anniversary of the Bethlehem Baptist Church/
To the officers, members and friends of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, greetings and grace in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we celebrate this first church anniversary of the new millennium we can truly say, We’ve come this far by faith”.
The Lord had brought us a mighty long way and because He will not leave us nor forsake us, the future of the church is blessed.
We have not made it this far by ourselves, but there have been many who have gone on before that have paved the way for where we are in the year 2000.
Paul says, in Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner /stone/; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
The church has grown upon a firm foundation of faith, with Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.
And as we reflect on the ministry of days gone by we can see the fruit of the labor of many.
This anniversary is special; special because we are blessed to honor one of our former Pastor’s, Rev. Dr. Charles E. Thomas and the New Hope Baptist family.
Over Twenty years ago Rev. Thomas ministered here in Woodbury as a voice crying out in the wilderness.
He embraced a hand approach and during his ministry accomplished the building of our present sanctuary built in 1963.
From South Jersey to North Jersey, from the country to the city, from Bethlehem, the “house of bread” to bringing “new hope to New Hope” Rev. Thomas has been a blessing to thousands of people.
Earlier in the year, Rev. Thomas surprised us one Sunday morning and told us he would be retiring this year.
As we joined New Hope to thank God and how appreciation to Pastor Thomas at his retirement celebration, Bethlehem could literally see what the Lord has done these past thirty-two years of faithful ministry.
And so we too say thank you Rev. Thomas for giving to the Lord.
As we look to the Lord we can see how He has blessed.
Bethlehem can witness what happens when people partner with the pastor and follow leadership.
We are all blessed to witness the mantle of ministry pass from Pastor Thomas to Pastor Joe A. Carter.
New Hope can see from whence Rev. Thomas came and the roots of his ministry.
As we look to the future, it is important to know what we do today will have a far reaching impact of people who we do not even know.
As we seek to serve the Lord the fruit of ministry will touch hundreds and thousands as we remain committed to Christ.