First Baptist Church ended 2021 as we began it… praising and glorifying God! Even with the world still in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, we know where our help comes from! Challenges continued throughout the year, especially due to Covid-19, but we stayed the course and let the Lord guide our path. Here are some highlights from 2021.
After slowly easing through the end of winter -- and into 2021 -- with lower in-person attendance due bad weather and the threat of Covid-19; we were ready to move forward. Thank God our members and others could live stream our services each Sunday on our Facebook page until they were ready to come back to the church building.
By March, the government began to issue Covid-19 vaccines to those over 65 years old and for people who have health issues. Always caring for his flock, Pastor Jackson found a way within weeks, to secure shots for every member who was eligible at that time. As the year progressed, over 90% of our congregation became immunized.
Spring and Easter is a time of renewal and rebirth; and so it was for First Baptist. More and more of our congregation began coming back to church to fellowship with each other. We of course followed all Covid protocols. It was a blessing to be together again worshipping God for all He had brought us through.
We celebrated Women’s Day in May with our own Min. Adrianne Robinson delivering the word. All dressed in white, the Ladies also took time out of the special service to honor the 6 most senior women of the church and the Fab 5 were newly dubbed the Sensational 6. And at the end of the month we concentrated on the physical building and grounds of our church at the annual Clean-up Day. All hands were on deck as we spent all day giving God’s house the attention it deserves.
The Fifth Pastoral Anniversary celebration held in June for Rev. Jackson was a wonderful time to show him just how much he is loved and appreciated. The program included guest preacher, Rev. Carla Jones Brown, Senior Pastor from Arch Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia PA. Rev. Jones Brown has been with us before as she preached our Ordination & Elevation service in 2020. Highlights of the event were the special presentations given by each church ministry commemorating Rev. Jackson's five years at FBC. Add to that special gifts, lots of accolades and many good wishes for the future. For more click...Pastor's 5th Anniversary
October is set aside for Men’s Day and 2021 was exceptional. Keeping your feet on a righteous path while on your spiritual walk was the overarching theme. Rev. JerQuentin Sutton, M.Div., Sr. Pastor from Lebanon Baptist Church in Westwood made a return visit and delivered a powerful message. Rev. Sutton also preached at our 120th Church Anniversary in 2020. Along with a celebration cupcake boxed for travel, each man received a pair of designer socks with praying hands as a gift.
Pictured above clockwise from upper left are: Rev. JerQuentin Sutton; Congregation; Men's Day Chairman and Diaconate Vice Chair, Deacon Mark Turner; and FBC Members, Bro. Earl and Sis. Yvonne Baisden and their guests.
First Baptist Church was in full force at the local production of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity. The bi-annual Christmas play recounts the birth of Jesus through song and dance and features talent from area churches in surrounding towns. Even though we are small in size, we were big in participation. Our church had the most singers and dancers in the cast!
We were extremely blessed this year to have Rev. Nicole Drakeford from First Baptist
Church in Vaux Hall visit and share the God's Word. And several dynamic local preachers ministered to us in their own unique way as well. We thank God for Rev. Benjamin Evans from Mt. Zion AME Church in Eatontown; Rev. Dianne Watson-Kendall and Rev. Darlene Wilson from Pilgrim Baptist Church in Red Bank; Minister Carla McGhee from Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Neptune and Minister Tracey Kimbrough from United Fellowship Baptist Church in Asbury Park.
FBC ended the year with the announcement of a newly created Women’s Bible Study which will begin in January 2022. And Glory to God for making a way for us to keep the church open all year long as many local churches remain closed; because by the end of the year, 5 new people had walked down the aisle to join our church. And after the remaining few complete their New Member classes in 2022, they will also become full members.
And one last thing… The members of First Baptist Church are so proud to celebrate our Pastor on the completion of his Doctorate of Theology degree (Th.D.) on December 29, 2021. Congratulations to the Reverend Dr. James A. Jackson, Jr.
We look forward with great anticipation as to where God will lead us in 2022.