Welcome to our first totally digital Tall Spire! In this edition, you will hear about a lot of the things going on here at First Baptist, despite the pandemic. First, we have some big news to share here. We also have an update on our new in-person worship experience here. Our Fall Meeting will be on Sunday, October 25th, so check out the details here. Please take a closer look at the work that our Vice-Chair of the Church Board, Peter Morgan, is doing in Haiti here. Updates on our Beekeeping and Margret’s Garden can be found here and here. The pandemic sadly closed a local company who reached out to us and asked if we wanted any of their supplies; read the story here. Kate Wiswell, our lead singer, has also written an encouraging article. Finally, we were honored to host the Eagle Scout ceremony for a young man with a long connection to our location. Check it out here!
Several weeks ago, we formally announced that we are prayerfully considering joining forces with our sister congregation, Iglesia: Misión Bautista de Westchester. We have been united in mission and location for nearly 40 years and they grew out of a Spanish Bible study started by the First Baptist. Last March, both Pastor Abner and I spoke with our respective Boards and formed a common Vision Team, comprised of three members from each church and the Pastor’s to start looking at a renewed mission/vision, governance, and finances.
Things are going well and we hope to be able to make formal presentations on the details to the congregations by early next year. Please join me in prayer over this important decision. It is a leap of faith and trust in God that both congregations can be a better reflection of our multicultural community and thereby a fuller expression of the body of Christ! Better able to respond with the love of Christ in our community and the world. The question for each generation of the faithful has always been: Will we be a movement into the future or a monument to the past? That question remains open for us as well.
We are planning to have a Fall Meeting on Sunday, October 25th after our worship service. If you cannot attend the service/meeting in person, we will have a Zoom link sent out. At the meeting, we will discuss the preliminary budget for 2021, elect a new Board member and talk in more detail about the possibility of joining forces with Misión Bautista. We hope you can be a part of this important meeting!
Missions to Haiti
Dear Members and Friends of the First Baptist Church of White Plains and Mission Baptista:
This is Peter Morgan, DC writing to you about the amazing mission work that Jesus Christ has put in our hearts. I just returned from my latest mission trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. God truly blessed my 99th mission trip. We went because it was necessary to serve our brothers and sisters who live in the most impoverished area of the western hemisphere. We brought jobs, chiropractors and many donations to the orphanage.
We also bring hope to the children and the workers at the Mission life International village. We call it our village of hope. In our village we have 4 buildings. We have one building which serves as housing for the children. Another building that houses our employees. Our third building is our kitchen building which has a large attached gazebo. We can sit well over 100 people in this gazebo. Our fourth building has just been completed. It's purpose is to serve as a free health and birthing center.
Mission Life International believes no woman or baby should die during childbirth. Haiti has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate in the western hemisphere. Nearly all maternal and infant deaths in Haiti are preventable with access to a skilled birth Attendant.
We want to make childbirth safer in Haiti.
Our mission is to increase access to skilled maternal care followed by skilled chiropractic care. Our programs will be designed to educate and empower women.
We are asking for support and prayers for our non-profit birthing center that will be attached to our non profit Chiropráctic health center. This is located in Northern Haiti 5 minutes from the border of Dajabon, Dominican Republic. We are planning to provide a safe place for Haitian women to receive compassionate and respectful care at the hands of skilled midwives and chiropractors. No one will be turned away. We anticipate that every morning 50 women will start their day waiting to be seen by the midwives. Women will be entering (in labor) to our sanctuary and safety of the MLI-League of Chiropráctic Women birthing center to have their babies.
Our plan is to have a fully operational birthing center in Northern Haiti. We will provide FREE prenatal, postpartum and newborn midwifery care including labs, a nutrition program for severely malnourished pregnant and nursing women. This model has been proven to reduce the maternal and neonatal mortality rates. We will also provide chiropractic care.
Why free? Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. 60% of Haitians live on less than $2.49 a day. Where there is severe poverty such as this, mothers sometimes have chosen between food for their family or having a skilled attendant at their birth. One out 250 women who have a live birth die in childbirth or the immediate postpartum period. One out of 14 Haitian children die before the age of 5. 98% of these deaths are preventable.
We have also met several times with Dr. Manigat, Medical Director of Univers Hospital, Ouanaminthe, Haiti. Dr. Manigat was instrumental in our donation of Dr. Terry Yochum’s X-ray machine to Univers Hospital. One of the few x-ray machines in this part of Haiti. Dr. Manigat also has his own private hospital. We have arranged to refer all complications to Dr. Manigat.
We will teach mothers about prenatal health, nutrition, hygiene, childbirth education, breastfeeding education with the goal of exclusive breastfeeding for a minimum of one year and family planning. We will teach mothers about the benefits of Chiropráctic.
Mission Life International's track record and accomplishments:
During the period of January 2010 to January 2013 our chiropractic orphanage placed over 1,000 Haitian children who became orphaned in the January 2010 earthquake with Haitian families who lost their own children.
Our organization has led 99 mission trips. Mission Life International presently clothes, feeds and houses 29 children in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. Our education arm educated our 29 children at our Mission Life Orphanage and 39 children at Pastor Prospers school. Mission Life International has built wells, installed water filtration systems and built desks and blackboards since the devastating earthquake of 2010. In January 2013, we moved our children into better housing with a security guard and employed a nun to help provide structure in their daily routine and assist in their daily activities. We have finished construction of new housing for our children. We have brought approximately 3,500 Doctors to Haiti since 2002. We have purchased land for Pastor Prosper who was about to lose his church and school. We have built a church and christian school for Pastor Prospers congregation. We have begun the construction of the village of hope. The village will house many children. We have begun the construction of our mission house for housing of all chiromissionaries. We have completed the construction of the health and birthing center. Our outdoor restaurant is almost complete. All our orphaned children will have jobs. Currently our mission employs 20 people from Haiti.
Peter Morgan, DC
The Blessed Bees
2020 was a year of Beekeeping challenges. Our Blue hive struggled and in the Spring was less than thriving, but both hives had bees that made it through the Winter! That alone is a blessing!
Carl and I decided to try something new. We took frames of brood from the better thriving Yellow hive and added them to the Blue hive to see if we could get it up and running. Soon in, we discovered we were missing the Blue hive queen bee so Lucia purchased a new one. The hive did not like her and soon she also disappeared. Lucia then purchased a 2nd queen, this time being told it was a great brood producer, which happened to be true! We were off and running!
But the Summer was slipping away and by bee hive standards our bees were not producing as much honey as we had hoped. It is important for the hive to have honey to feed off of during the Winter months.
We decided to hold off this year and only take out one frame to harvest. Carl worked so hard that I gave the 2½ jars it produced to Carl to keep. We did receive Honeycomb from Patricia Adams to sell on Sunday’s and Carl was able to use her honey from her hives to make the Elderberry Syrup.
Let’s pray our bees do well over the Winter and 2021 is a better year for bees and for all humans too!
The Blessed Beekeepers, Carl Hamby and Lucia Gold
Rail Europe Donation
First Baptist Church has recently been blessed with a generous donation from Rail Europe for office supplies. Barbara Murphy, who knew about our church and the schools on our property, called the church to see if we were interested in accepting a donation. Naturally I jumped at the opportunity and said yes, knowing that in these times many are setting up offices at home and the UCP and FSW are teaching virtually and could put all of the items to good use!
It ended up being about a $2000 donation including bulletin boards, white boards and markers, hanging file folders, regular file folders, paper, envelopes, sheet protectors, electric staplers, regular staplers and staples, staple removers, pencil sharpeners, pens, black clips, paperclips, tape dispensers with tape and framed posters that had been on their walls.
Jay and Lucia Gold went to Rail Europe one day and packed up the donations. Ken Shorlidge, Rev Dalton and Jay and Lucia came to load up the items in their cars and we put them in the Sunroom of the Wilson House. Lucia spent a day organizing everything to look like a store so people could shop.
Lucia invited Misión Bautista, UCP and FSW to come and collect anything they needed and we also took items we could use in our office! I wish you could have seen the smiles and disbelief on the faces of the teachers and their assistants as they came to collect the free merchandise. It was heartwarming and rewarding to witness!
A special thank you also goes out to Peter Morgan, Founder and President of Mission Life International, who has offered to take everything that is leftover and will put it in a warehouse where they keep donations for his organization, Mission Life International, in Haiti.
A special thanks to Rail Europe and all of those who assisted in making sure this donation of office supplies went to the people who needed it the most.
Lucia Gold | Office Manager | First Baptist Church of White Plains
Abide with Me
What a time we’ve had. I hardly know where to begin, staring at this blank document.
This year certainly hasn’t delivered the bright hopes of Spring that I was anticipating
in my last article for the Tall Spire.
However, we remain united in faith, hopeful, and vigilant in working towards a
brighter future through the quagmire of difficulties set before us. I know that this
body of believers at First Baptist seeks to support their fellow congregants and the
community at large through the varying degrees of pain and uncertainty that we are
experiencing. Thank you for being lights in the darkness. I urge you to continue
helping each other, as Romans 15:5-6 says, “May the God who gives endurance and
encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus
had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ.”
In the spirit of sharing an encouraging word, I’d like to reference a hymn that has
been on my mind a lot lately. We have sung it together in the past, when gathering in
the sanctuary was something we could all take for granted. “Abide with Me” has some
of the most poignant and comforting verses in my hymnbook. I hope that they remind
you how loved and sustained you are in the presence of your Heavenly Father.
For a particularly nice rendition of this hymn, I suggest listening to Sara Groves’ version on Youtube or
wherever you download your music. Or give me a call! I’ll sing it for you :-)
Kate Wiswell, Lead Singer
One of the last large events that our church hosted, before the pandemic shut everything down, was an Eagle Scout Ceremony on March 1st for Henry Valencia. It is the culmination of a great story. Years ago, Henry was a pre-k student at Davidson Hall at Family Services of Westchester’s child care center. He wanted to give back to a place that held such good memories for him, so for his Eagle Scout project, he designed and managed the construction of new sandboxes and other items on their playground. He did an amazing job and it was an honor to host his Eagle Scout ceremony, where both the County Executive, George Latimer, and White Plains Mayor, Tom Roach, were in attendance.
I'm a follower of Christ, husband, father, friend, pastor, story teller, asker of questions, inspired by biblical narratives, social justice advocate, sports enthusiast, drinker of over priced coffee and general seeker of God's redemptive possibilities. Yeah, that about covers it. (If you discover something else, let me know!)