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Experience at Santa Paula Church PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Montgomery   

 

July 2, 2001 

Dear Friends,

I have returned from the annual meeting help at the First Primitive Baptist church in Santa Paula California. This has been one of the most incredible meetings I have attended in a long time. Elder Mark Rowell and I were especially invited to attend and preach. Santa Paula is a lovely church pastored by Elder Charles Clark. Other ministers who preached were Elders Holder, Bryant, Wilson, and Clark (this dear brother preached an excellent sermon Saturday afternoon). There was good visitation from the area churches and the fellowship was especially sweet. I stayed in the home of Elder and Sister Clark and enjoyed my visits with them along with their daughter, Margaret and Brothers Clifton and Bill Ivey, who also stayed there. I was privileged to see many of the dear friends that I have in California as well as meet new ones.

Saturday morning presented one the most memorable experiences that has ever happened to me. I was to preach first followed by Brother Mark. Twenty minutes into my sermon, I was speaking of taking advantage of opportunities that the Lord might present to us--how if He would call a man to preach, then that man should not look back and preach the Gospel, and if the Lord would impress someone to take up their cross and follow Him in baptism, then they should do so immediately. I told the congregation that if one would want to join the church right then, then I would quit preaching and they would be received immediately. After I made this point, I looked down and saw Janet Abernathy standing in front of the podium. This dear sister has wanted to join the church for 17 years but had always put it off. Well, she could not put it off any longer. I left the pulpit and went down to where she was amid shouts and expressions of great joy from the congregation. It was the most electrifying experience I have ever had in my ministerial life. She was joyfully received and was given the right hand of fellowship. I have read of this happening in my historical readings but have never personally witnessed it, nor had anyone else who was there. I cannot put into words my feelings nor adequately describe the scene that we all beheld. During the remainder of the meeting,  it seemed that it was all we could discuss but we all concluded that words were just too inadequate to describe our feelings.

After the handshake, I tried to "finish" my remarks and then Brother Mark got up and preached a wonderful sermon. The Lord really blessed him.

That afternoon, before preaching, Sister Janet was baptized by Elder Clark.

I heartily endorse all of you to visit the Saints at the Santa Paula church. God is with them.

In His service,
David Montgomery

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.