It’s been 10 years since three area Baptist churches, Belmont Baptist, Zion United Baptist and Truro Heights Baptist, began holding joint services during Holy Week.
This year, six churches took part for the first time. They included the original three as well as Debert Baptist, First Baptist in Truro and Brookfield Baptist.
The services opened April 13 with a Psalm Sunday service in Brookfield and concluded with a breakfast and Good Friday service at Truro Heights Baptist. Outstanding Christian messages were brought daily by Pastors Brian Johnston, Greg Porter, Bill Martin, Frank Guinta and Eric MacKinnon. Following a planned rotation, pastors did not bring the message in their own church.
Rev. Frank Locke and his wife Hazel, of Brookfield, attended all six services.
“The services were very inspirational,” Locke, 84, an ordained minister for 63 years, said. “They were unifying and strengthening. The warm fellowship we had each service was wonderful. There was a genuine spirit of fellowship. When you get six churches together you realize you are not alone. It’s a wonderful witness to communities when churches can work together.”
Messages touched on Jesus making a triumphant entry into Jerusalem and events leading up to his crucifixion. The theme for the week was the 23rd Psalm from the Old Testament and Jesus as our shepherd.
Pastor Johnston, a native of the African Nova Scotia community of Cherry Brook, Halifax Regional Municipality, has been in the ministry 25 years with the past 12 spent at Zion United Baptist Church in Truro.
“It was indeed a great pleasure for me to start off the Holy Week services,” Johnston, 59, said. “It was a privilege to speak at Brookfield Baptist Church. It was great to see the crowds grow with each service and the spirit increase with each service. Powerful messages were brought during the week on God as our provider.”
Pastor Martin, originally from Galt, Ont., has served in the ministry for six years at Debert Baptist Church and more recently at Points of Hope at the Cineplex movie theatre in Millbrook.
“The services closely followed the first century church which gathered not only on Sundays but daily,” Martin, 66, said. “I was particularly pleased to see much larger turnouts than in recent years. Easter may be the popular name for this special time of year but Holy Week is the true occasion to celebrate.”
Pastor Porter, a Yarmouth native, has been in the ministry 12 years and serves the Truro Heights Baptist Church and Nuttby Baptist Church.
“I spoke on Jesus as our protector,” Porter, 53, said. “We are assured that if we call upon His name for our salvation we can be certain that our souls will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven. Romans 8 promises us that nothing can separate a believer from our eternal salvation.”
Pastor MacKinnon, originally from Glace Bay, has been in the ministry 18 years and is completing his fifth year at Brookfield Baptist.
“We were pleased to have this opportunity to join with our fellow believers and other congregations,” MacKinnon said. “It was wonderful to celebrate this holy time of year together.”
MacKinnon, who felt the large congregations during Holy Week seemed in awe of the praise being given to their Lord, will travel this coming Sunday to the Kingston-Greenwood area to speak at People’s 25:40 Church and to people who were part of the first congregation he pastored.
“I’m excited at the opportunity to be with these people again,” MacKinnon said. “Rev. Frank Locke, our minister emeritus, has kindly agreed to fill in for me at Brookfield Baptist during my absence. Frank will bring the people of Brookfield a wonderful message. Frank’s messages are always well received.”
Locke, who shows no signs of bowing to age, still speaks vibrantly. He has a brilliant way of presenting stories, illustrations and scripture when delivering a message.
Locke will follow up the theme of Holy Week with a message titled No Crown Without A Cross.
Lyle Carter’s column appears every Tuesday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a column idea, contact him at 673-2857.