Transitioning and Emerging…
Rev. James Houchins of Stuart, VA came to First Christian after Rev. McRae. He served from March 1994 to 1999 when he resigned to pursue Christian endeavors at another location closer to his home in Virginia. Rev. Houchins was our youngest Pastor to date.
In October 1999, the Church voted to receive Rev. Dr. Laverne Carter (pictured left) of Greensboro, NC as Pastor. Her installation services were held January 16, 2000. Pastor Carter was the first female Pastor to serve our congregation. Some activities she initiated and/or encouraged were: a monthly newsletter, Angel Food Ministry, the Fruit of the Spirit Visitation Team Ministry, CMF Family and Friends Day, Acolytes Bringing in the Light, CWF Prayer Breakfast and Rainbow Tea, Scholarship Fund, Women of Praise Choir, Dance Team Ministry, Spring D.E.W. (Disciples Enriching Women), FCC Incorporated, Koger Alley Purchased, the Parsonage razed, fiscal and other records stored to computer and the sound system updated, Women of Destiny Conference, and encouraged attendance of the National General Assembly held in Charlotte, NC. During the 2001 National Convention of the Christian Church in Kansas City, MO, Pastor Carter was elected to serve a four year term on its General Board. She also served on the Time and Place committee at the National level and was a participant in the Ministerial Alliance. She resigned her position as Pastor of First Christian Church.
Rev. Robert M. Pugh, also of Greensboro, NC became our 15th Pastor. He was voted in as our Pastor in 2004. During Rev. Pugh’s time with us, he initiated a tape ministry which included weekly Bible Study Sessions and Sunday morning services. The sanctuary was revitalized and the new look included new carpet with coordinating pew seats, new stained glass windows, chandeliers, and the walls and ceiling painted in harmonizing colors. Work was completed in 2007 and he worked towards re-establishing the children and youth Sunday School by meeting with them twice a month. Rev. Pugh resigned from his position as Pastor of First Christian Church in July, 2008.
The former Deacon Mazie Simpson preached her Initial Sermon on September 26, 2004 at First Christian Church Reidsville, NC. She received her license from the PDC in July 2007 and was presented with a certificate of Ordination during the 127th session of the PDC in July, 2009 held at Camp Christian View Assembly Building. Her Ordination to the Christian ministry is preceded by study, work, prayer and guidance by the Holy Spirit. Minister Simpson quietly but diligently uses her talents ad gifts by serving on the Kitchen Committee, teaching Sunday School, singing in two Church choirs and serves as the Presiding Minister during Sunday morning worship.
Other Ministers associated with, who came from, or who served as Interim Pastor for First Christian Church are: Brother Calrence J. Barksdale, Sr., Sister Brenda Cardwell, Brother John Covingtonl Brother Shaun Johnson, Brother Joey Jones, Brother Rudy Jones, Sister Sherrie Galloway, Brother Clarence L. Oliver, Rev. Eugene Reynolds, Brother Linnie L. Graves, Brother John Smith, Sister Portia Jones-Harper, Brother Charles H. Wilson, Brother Clarence Jackson, Brother Lee Woodson, Evangelist Hattie Graves.
Rev. Reynolds (pictured left) retired from preaching more than 30 years at Jerusalem Christian Church in Spencer, VA. He graciously consented to serve as our Interim Pastor from January 2009 to April 2009. During and since the four month time period, he assisted our Church in various ways. He shared valuable information about procedures to follow in the selection of a new Pastor. He also serves as Eulogist and presiding Minister at funerals of FCC members, took communion to all nursing home and home-bound members, attended Board and other Church related meetings and offered directions and support for all members as we continued our search for our new Pastor.
Our search for a new Pastor ended with Rev. Valerie J. Melvin (BS, MDiv, ThM), Associate Regional Minister of North Carolina. She is the founder of “Victory Is Inevitable Ministries” and is affiliated with the NC NAACP, the National Association of Certified Church Administrators and the Disciples Home Mission Board. A native of Goldsboro, NC, Rev. Melvin preached her first sermon at FCC on March 7, 2010. Her Installation services were held on May 1, 2010 at First Baptist Church of Reidsville, NC. Rev. Larry Ponds, PDC Moderator at the time, presided and Rev. John Richardson, Regional Minister of NC was the keynote speaker.
Since Pastor Melvin’s arrival, no dust has grown under the FCC members’ feet. We have been growing spiritually and numerically, with 23 persons being added to our membership (new, returning and conversions). Right off the bat, our young people took on new energy, primarily by meeting the scholarship challenge, producing academic honors on the elementary through graduate levels of education.
Our young people have reinvested themselves in the work of ministry here at FCC with our youth choir and dance team being very active, supported by strong advisors. Recently, the FCC youth ushers reorganized and began serving in morning worship. As any church moves forward, new officers are needed and so we currently have candidates in training for deacons, mothers and trustees. With great joy, on March 27, 2011 our church family welcomed into the gospel ministry, Michelle Woodson Tucker, increasing the rank of associate ministers to four. The Finance, Worship, Scholarship, Homecoming, Calendar, Kitchen and Transportation committees have added new members to their team ministry and provide FCC stable leadership. Our Christian Education department held a successful VBS in June, conducted a new member orientation with more to follow, and works closely with all training phases of ministry.
With month-long prayer vigils, and book studies centered on Salvation and God’s covenant, FCC has instituted Covenant Fellowships; building relationships not only with local churches but the Central District, District Men’s Fellowship, and the PDC Men’s Luncheon. Our understanding of covenant has deepened by increasing our average attendance to the PDC events from seven to 30 with members serving in district leadership roles; providing support for the Capital Campaign of the Region; and, taking a bus trip July 9-13, 2011 to Nashville, TN for the General Assembly in serving as delegates, attending workshops and learning tracks, and our nine young people engaged in hands-on mission.
FCC is social-justice-minded in that we have supported the local NAACP with 17 memberships and have been chosen by the Reidsville Branch of the NAACP as the 2011 Church of the Year. Brother Denzel Myers serves as Vice President of the Youth Branch of the NAACP. On October 3, 2011, FCC partnered with two other churches and held a historical Community Forum highlighting the upcoming municipal elections. We are endeavoring to be a church that is “Serving our community with Love and Compassion!”