Trinity Baptist Church celebrates 40th Anniversary on March 15th

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Special To The ONE
Staff Writer

Newton —Trinity Baptist Church in Newton will be celebrating its 40th anniversary Sunday, March 15. Leading the service will be interim Pastor Dr. Jeff Rogers. Pastor Emeritus Brant R. Hoots, who retired June 30, 2018, after serving as Trinity’s pastor for more than 36 years, will deliver the message.

The 11 a.m. service will be held at the church campus at 725 West 13th Street (NW Blvd., U.S. 321 Business). After the service, the congregation will share a covered-dish luncheon in the fellowship hall.

Trinity Baptist had its beginning at a steakhouse (Western Steer) in Newton on January 16, 1980, when a group of 41 concerned members of First Baptist Church, Newton, NC, met to discuss a direction in which this group could work to better serve the Lord. According to retired Newton-Conover City Schools superintendent Everette Y. Simmons, “It was decided there was a need for another Baptist church in Catawba County.” Retired Minister Reverend Alvin A. Walker quoted Philippians 3:13-14 and emphasized that the group should “forget the past and reach forward to what lies ahead.” Reverend Walker also made a motion that the group organize and get started and have Sunday School on January 20, 1980. The motion passed unanimously.

On Sunday, January 20, 1980, Sunday School was held at the YMCA of Catawba County, in Conover. The group was temporarily named “New Baptist Fellowship.” Arrangements were made for use of the YMCA on Sunday mornings only, for a period of three months. The late Reverend Alvin A. Walker of Newton, who had been a World War II Army chaplain, and then director of missions for the South Fork Baptist Association, was asked to serve as interim pastor to provide leadership and pastoral services. Other leadership positions were also approved.

On Thursday evening, January 24, 46 members of the New Baptist Fellowship met to discuss the process of organizing a new church. It was decided that the group take the month of February to move slowly forward as they planned to officially organize the first Sunday in March, 1980. During the worship service on Sunday, February 3, a Steering Committee was elected. The following Sunday afternoon, February 10, the Steering Committee recommended that a Charter Committee be formed, along with a Naming Committee. Both committees were approved, along with a motion to set a charter date for the afternoon of Sunday, March 9, 1980.

The Naming Committee presented a list of church names for consideration to be voted on the following Sunday, March 2. Services were not held on Sunday, March 2, due to a heavy snowfall. The Naming Committee, chaired by Michael Shook, contacted by telephone 36 families with a total of 91 votes and the name Trinity Baptist Church was selected.

A celebration of organization of Trinity Baptist Church was held on Sunday, March 9, 1980, at the YMCA campus with Reverend Roy Smith, associate general secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention in Raleigh, as guest speaker. The charter signing ceremony was held with 74 persons signing their names, and the celebration was followed by the first baptismal service in the YMCA indoor swimming pool.

The charter was left open for 30 days and ended with 88 charter members. Since that modest beginning, membership has grown to 200 active members.

After meeting at the YMCA for a few months, the congregation moved to the former Newton Elementary School on North Ashe Avenue, Newton, on June 22, 1980. The church used the basement and first floor for Sunday School classes and the spacious auditorium for the morning service. The late Reverend Walker indicated “the auditorium seats 1,500, so you can imagine what it was like to preach to a congregation of 75.”

Since the auditorium was so large, the men of the church renovated the former school cafeteria into a sanctuary with pulpit, choir area, and pews. On Sunday, November 16, 1980, the congregation held its first worship service in the new space.

“To show our deep gratitude to Reverend Walker for his leadership and tireless service during the first 20 months of Trinity Baptist Church,” Simmons indicated that “November 1, 1981, was set as Reverend Alvin A. Walker Appreciation Day. He was also given the title of Pastor Emeritus of the church.”

One week later, November 8, 1981, the church’s full-time pastor, Winston-Salem native, Reverend Brant R. Hoots conducted the morning worship service, beginning his ministry which lasted for 36 ½ years. Pastor Hoots retired June 30, 2018, at which time he was given the title of “Pastor Emeritus” of Trinity Baptist Church.

Under Pastor Hoots’ leadership, the membership voted on May 1, 1983, to purchase a 4 ½ acre tract of land on the corner of Highway 321 Business and West 13th Street as the site for its future building. This property was purchased from former Mayor Lloyd Mullinax’s family. In 2006, Trinity voted to purchase the remainder of the Mullinax property adjacent to the current church site.

Trinity participated in a United Venture in Faith Campaign in 1985 to raise funds for the church building program. A Building Committee was selected with Simmons serving as chairman, and plans were approved on October 10, 1985, for the new church building. Member Doris Cope stated “I don’t want us to build just to have a beautiful facility to go to on Sunday morning, but I want us to build a building that will represent a church that will worship together and will reach out to the community that they might know and share our love of Jesus Christ.”

Approximately 200 people attended the ground breaking ceremony on Sunday, April 3, 1986. Ground was turned by Reverend Hoots, Reverend Walker, the Building Committee and church officers. Reverend Hoots said “having a building of its own will give the church a sense of establishment and permanency.” After a benediction by the pastor, the children of the church planted a dogwood tree.

Construction on the new building was completed in May, 1987. The last service in the Newton Elementary School was held on Wednesday night, May 13, 1987. It was a time of prayer and re-dedication. The following Sunday, May 17, the Trinity family met for the first time in the new church facility. The new building was dedicated to the Glory and Honor of God on May 31, 1987, in a special morning worship service. Other additions and improvements to the property include a playground for children with a slide, swings, and climbing bars; a basketball/volleyball court; a Prayer Garden; a picnic shelter; as well as a newly-renovated kitchen and fellowship hall.

Currently, Trinity is being served by interim pastor, Dr. Jeff Rogers, of Greer, South Carolina. Trinity has appointed a Pastor Search Committee, chaired by Mike Adams. Mr. Adams indicates that “the committee is diligently searching for the person that God has prepared to lead us.”

Services at Trinity include Sunday School from 10:00 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. and Sunday worship at 11:00 a.m. There is a Wednesday evening service that begins at 5:30 p.m. with a fellowship meal, followed by a praise/worship service from 6:20 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Adult choir practice begins at 7:00 p.m.

The church calendar includes Ladies Bible Study on Monday evenings, a monthly Woman’s Missionary Union meeting, and Vacation Bible School for children through grade 5. Children through grade 5 meet on Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the Youth (grades 6-12) meet on Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Trinity is a member of the Eastern Catawba County Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM). The church is very active with The Corner Table Soup Kitchen, which is a lunch-time venue in Newton located at 122 North Main Street. Trinity also actively participates in the weekly community Sunday night meal “Feed the Flock” which is held at First Presbyterian Church in Newton.

Trinity is also a strong supporter of Baptist Children’s Homes of Thomasville, NC. During the holiday season, the church participates in Operation Christmas Child, filling shoeboxes. They also fill stockings during the holiday season for The Salvation Army.

The current church support staff includes Joel Harris, Minister of Music and Outreach; Dawn Powell, Administrative Assistant; Brenda Powell, Pianist and Handbell Choir director. Chairman of the Board of Deacons is Mike Clapp. Chairman of the Board of Stewards is Everette Simmons.

Please join us on Sundays for fellowship. For more information, contact us at (828) 464-2160, Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., or at trinitynewton@gmail.com.

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