Last updated: April 11. 2014 8:25AM - 1286 Views
Flo Johnston Faith in Focus

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First Baptist Church, the Baptist presence in downtown Laurinburg for 135 years, has called its interim pastor since last November to become the church’s 31st senior pastor, beginning May 1.

Dr. Wayne D. Wike has all his Baptist credentials in order with only one slight deviation. He earned his doctorate in ministry from Union (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va. But in this town, a little sojourn among Presbyterians will only serve to endear him to the populace.

Wike’s other degrees are from Gardner-Webb University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also has had pastoral care training from the School of Pastoral Care at Baptist Hospital of North Carolina in Winston-Salem.

“When I walk down the hall at First Baptist, there are portraits of former pastors representing the Who’s Who of North Carolina Baptists and I feel myself honored and humbled to think I will be serving a church with this kind of heritage,” the pastor said in a phone interview this week.

The church is marking its 135th year with several outreach projects, including the completion just recently of a Habitat House.

During his professional career, Wike has served as senior pastor for five different Baptist churches and also has served as the executive director of the Council for Christian Higher Education for five years with the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. Since 2003, he has been director of development at Wingate University.

Although the new pastor has spent the past 17 years as an administrator, he says his long suit in ministry is pastoral care. “This was the thing people talked about most when I was serving a church,” he said.

Pastoral care includes such things as visiting those who are grieving, counseling and keeping an open door and being available to members, he said.

But what kind of preacher is Wike?

“Preaching is the centerpiece of Baptist ministry,” he said. “Folks at Laurinburg have been gracious in their comments. They like messages that are biblically based and this is a direction I want to maintain.”

Wike is married to Debbie Boyd Wike, who is an eighth grade teacher in Union County Schools. She plans to continue teaching after the move to Laurinburg, he said.

The Wikes have three adult children and twin 6-year-old granddaughters who live in Georgia.

The new pastor will continue to serve First Baptist as interim through the end of April and will preach his first sermon as senior pastor on May 18. A service of installation will be announced later.

Churches set joint services

A group of churches in the inner-city will hold services each night of Holy Week in a series sponsored by the Ministerial Alliance.

Following is a listing of churches and speakers.

Palm Sunday: Westminster Presbyterian, the Rev. Vermel Taylor.

Monday: Bethlehem Baptist, the Rev. Jerry McNeil.

Tuesday: Union Grove Baptist, the Rev. Ravondalyn Johns.

Wednesday: Jones Chapel Missionary Baptist, Dr. J.C. McLean.

Thursday: Franklin Chapel AME Zion, the Rev. R.P. Lennon.

Friday: Star of Bethlehem, the Rev. Kenneth Bethea.

Easter Sunday: Galilee United Methodist, the Rev. T.R. Davis.

The service on Palm Sunday is at 6 p.m. The one on Easter morning is at 6 a.m. and the night services during the week all begin at 7 p.m.

Special music planned

The Sanctuary Choir at First Baptist Church will present “Were You There?” during Palm Sunday worship at 11 a.m.

Accompanied by orchestra, the production will feature several local musicians including Dr. Tim Altman and Noah Altman, trumpet; Dr. Joanna Hersey, tuba; Dr. Tracy Wiggins, timpani/percussion and Jane McLaurin and Kari Ricks, flute.

From traditional to contemporary styles, musical selections will include “Day of Darkness,” “Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs,” “Bought with a Price,” “Written in Red,” “A Communion Reflection,” “Holy is He” and “The Lord’s Prayer.”

“The days leading up to Holy Week are extremely significant and meaningful to Christians as they recall the suffering and death of Jesus and anticipate Easter Sunday when they celebrate the resurrection,” said Sylvia Stewart, organist and director of music ministries.

“The music of this season truly touches the heart and we cordially invite the community to join us for this special service of worship.”

Leading the service and serving as narrators are Dr. Wayne Wike, interim minister, and Kevin Sills. The service will include Holy Communion.

Holy Week events vary

Among special events at Laurinburg Presbyterian are a Maundy Thursday service at 7 p.m. when the Chancel Choir will perform John Rutter’s Requiem. On Holy Saturday, April 19, at 5:30 p.m. the church will hold is annual Service of Healing and Wholeness in the chapel, led by Pastor Neal Carter.

Trinity Presbyterian and Faith Presbyterian will hold a joint Maundy Thursday worship service at 7 p.m. at Faith Church, 2220 Elm Ave. The community is welcome.

Palm Sunday services at St. Luke United Methodist are at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Maundy Thursday service is at 6:30 p.m. An Easter egg hunt for children in the community is set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 19.

The Palm Sunday 11 a.m. service at First United Methodist downtown will feature an Easter Cantata “Upon This rock” by Choplin featuring the Chancel Choir. The children’s choirs will sing as well. On Maundy Thursday the service will begin at 7 p.m.

The final Community Lenten Lunch for this year will be at noon Wednesday in the fellowship hall at First United Methodist. The church’s pastor, Dr. Jonathan Jeffries will lead the meditation that is followed by a light lunch for $5.

Worshipers at St. David’s Episcopal will march around the church property singing hosanna and waving palm fronds on Palm Sunday, followed by worship that will include the reading of the entire gospel account from Palm Sunday to the crucifixion. Holy Communion will follow.

Thr Maundy Thursday service at 7 p.m. will include foot washing, followed by Communion and then the stripping of the altar and saving Communion to be used on Good Friday. There will be an indoor garden where the “reserve sacrament” will rest overnight. On Good Friday, the 7 p.m. somber service will use the reserved sacrament.

About Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified.

Different denominations have different traditions, but two important biblical events are the primary focus of Maundy Thursday services. These are foot washing and the meal that has been translated by Christian churches as Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist.

In the biblical story, before the Passover meal, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. In some churches, in the Episcopal Church, for example, foot washing is part of the service. The biblical story says Jesus showed his disciples the “full extent of his love” by demonstrating how Christians are to love one another through humble service.

“Maundy” is derived from the Latin word “mandatum,” meaning “commandment” and refers to the commands Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his death.

Contact Flo Johnston at flo.johnston314@gmail.com or call 910-361-4135.

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