When I was a preschooler, my dad was pastor of the Santa Rosa Baptist Church in Picayune, Mississippi. We moved to Mobile, Alabama just before I started school. A few years later we received word that NASA was building a test facility and buying up property in the Picayune area for a buffer zone around the facility. Santa Rosa was in the buffer zone and because church members were going to be scattered, the congregation decided to disband.
My folks heard about the church disbanding and decided to visit people in the congregation before everyone moved. As my parents visited, they heard the same question: “What are we going to do with the money (from the sale of the church property)?” Dad realized that he needed to tell them about the Mississippi Baptist Foundation. He suggested that they give the money to the Foundation with the earnings designated for the Cooperative Program.
The Santa Rosa folks liked the idea and followed through. All buildings and contents of the church were donated to the Waveland Baptist Church. When all expenses were paid, the balance of the money left was $36,171.53. After much prayer, this was given to the Mississippi Baptist Foundation.
It has now been 50 years since Santa Rosa Baptist Church closed the doors of the building, but that was not the end of Santa Rosa Baptist Church and its support of missions through the Cooperative Program. The principal has grown to $62,001.08 and from September 30, 1963 through June 30, 2013, Santa Rosa Baptist Church has given $166,435.21 to the Cooperative Program.
In an invitation to the 50th anniversary reunion, Irma Frierson said, “To God be the glory! The lives touched cannot be measured.”
My dad, now age 90, and I are going to Picayune this weekend for the reunion. We are grateful to First Baptist Church of Nicholson for hosting the reunion. My dad is preaching! There will be a pot luck dinner (we are Baptists!).
It is probably the last reunion but Santa Rosa Baptist Church will keep giving cooperatively until Jesus comes!