Fellowship of churches celebrate year with praise

Published 2:59 pm Friday, January 3, 2014

Pastor Elbert Louis of Mission of Deliverance Church delivers sermon.

Pastor Elbert Louis of Mission of Deliverance Church delivers sermon. Photo by Merle Monahan


By Merle Monahan

There were no fireworks, nor alcohol and a huge multi-colored ball did not descend from the ceiling, but this did not dampen the spirits of those celebrating the New Year at Mission of Deliverance Church in Ivor on Wednesday night.

More than 150 people from the United Fellowship of Churches of Southampton County filled the small church on Sadler’s Road just outside of Ivor for the 10 p.m. service. Following a joyous rendition by the choir and a rousing sermon by Pastor Elbert Louis, the congregation was deep in prayer when the clock struck 12.

“I believe 2014 will be a very good year,” said Pastor Frank Aikens of New Branch Baptist Church, who spoke after the sermon. “God has told me. Let us praise Him.”

“The Fellowship of Churches was organized about 18 years ago by Rev. Dr. Curtis Harris, then pastor of Gilfield Baptist in Ivor,” said Deacon Tracey Bradshaw of First Baptist Church in Courtland. Bradshaw is director of the fellowship, while the Rev. Aikins is president.

“It has been a good thing,” Bradshaw added. “This way we all come together for special occasions and it makes it easier on the individual churches.”

He also said there are eight churches in the fellowship, which are Beulah Land AMEZ of Ivor; Ebenezer of Ivor; Gilfield Baptist of Ivor; Holy Ground Temple of Ivor; Mission of Deliverance of Ivor; New Branch Baptist of Ivor; First Baptist of Courtland; and St. Luke’s of Sedley.

“This is the first time a New Year’s service has been held here,” said Pastor Elbert Louis of Mission of Deliverance. “We call it our ‘Watch Night Service,’ where we pray in the New Year.”

“We think it’s a great thing,” said Melvin and June Chamerliss of Gilfield Baptist. “We really enjoy the services. In fact, we haven’t missed a one since they were started.”

Prestonia Purdie of Gilfield agreed.

“It’s a good way to get the entire community together,” she said.

Bradshaw, who directs the day-to-day activities of the fellowship, said the organization offers services on the fifth Sunday of each month, where all the churches come together to worship. Services are held at a different member church each time and sermons are related to several different subjects.

“One Sunday the sermon will be on Black history and another it could be Youth Day or Thanksgiving. We also have an Easter sunrise service and a Vacation Bible School service,” Bradshaw added.

“We are looking forward to a wonderful new year,” he said. “With God’s help, we’ll add more churches to our fellowship.“