Living Democracy

First Baptist Linden offers warm Wednesday welcome

First Baptist in LindenFirst Baptist in Linden, constructed with brick and mortar, blends into the landscape of the community.

First Baptist in Linden is home to the town’s largest African American congregation. The church has services on Sundays. On Wednesday, First Baptist also hosts a Bible study program. I was fortunate to be invited to attend a Wednesday evening program by Dr. Walter Davis, a former teacher and superintendent of the Linden City School System.

I arrived at 5:34 pm to make sure I wasn’t late and was the first person at the church. After Dr. Davis arrived, he showed me around the church. He then handed me a Bible and off we went. This night’s program focused on 1st John, Chapters 1-3.

As I began to review the scripture about 20 people of all ages showed up for the Bible Study. I began to meet some of them, and then the group started to sing hymns.

Marquee outside of the churchIt was awesome. For a second, I simply just listened as the voices filled the room. I joined in, humming parts I did not know. After the second time through, I had the chorus down. I began to feel as if I was a part of the congregation as I sang.

The pastor came in to lead the service. That was the great thing about the experience. It was not a sermon or a lecture. It was a discussion between the congregation and pastor. 

We all began to read popcorn style. One verse was read by each person starting in the upper left corner of the room, working its way to the lower right. Reading the New Testament in front of everyone was slightly scary. However, it ended up being one of my favorite experiences of the summer. After our discussion, I was invited to speak to the small group of people about my project.  

Street sign leading the way to churchAfter this, I told them how blessed I had been to be a part of the Bible study program. It was surprising how quickly I felt like I was at home and how comfortable I felt around the people. I enjoyed it so much that I know I will be headed back that way before my summer here ends.

Last Updated: July 20, 2016