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Faith Baptist Church Pays Off, Burns Mortgage

Photos and Historical Nuggets from 'Burn the Mortgage Sunday' 

Posted by Durand Now at 6:18pm 7/14/19

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L to r: Randy and Sue (Strickland) Akers, Rose and Norm Johnson, Linda and Neal Wood and Pastor John P. Nyhof, Jr./Durand Now photo

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Faith Baptist Church has paid off the mortgage for the building it built on Kent Street in the city twenty years ago, and on Sunday July 7th, the congregation celebrated 'Burn the Mortgage Sunday.'

Following a special service where attendees reminisced of the church's early beginnings and growth through the years, a picnic lunch was held.

Beth Stevens, the wife of the congregation's first Pastor, Ken Stevens, recently shared some tidbits about the beginnings of the church, dating back to the late 1970s, when the congregation met at the corner of Mercer and Clinton Streets, in the former Episcopal church building. That space is now occupied by the parking lot that rests behind the former Ben Franklin store.

"The church was a small mission church with 8 members," Stevens said. "I can't remember how long we met in the Mercer Street church, but eventually bought a building on Durand Road."

Some digging into the church's history tells that members met in homes beginning in 1974, and in 1978 moved 5214 S. Durand Road, home now to Great Beginnings Child Development, until moving into the current location at 520 Kent Street. 

"Ken decided he would benefit from seminary training so we moved to Memphis, Tennesee in 1981," she said. "Lots of good memories and wonderful people. We were so young and made lots of mistakes but the people were so gracious and loving."

Pastor Nyhof came to Faith Baptist Church in 2014, nine months after the Rev. William C. Bramlet announced his retirement, after more than 25 years behind the church's pulpit. Bramlet first pastored at the church from 1983 to 1986. He returned in 1988.

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Durand Now Publisher, Josh Strickland, who grew up attending Faith Baptist Church, returned for the special service and learned that his father, the late James Strickland, signed the mortgage for the church building in 1978.

A long-running ministry at Faith Baptist Church is the clothing ministry, often called the "clothes closet."  The clothing ministry is now formally known as 'The Lane,' named for former congregants, attendees learned at the Sunday service.  The Lanes were big advocates of the clothing ministry and made significant financial contributions, including posthumous gifts.  Since 1985, when the clothes closet called a chicken coop home, The Lane has invited any person in need to take home donated clothing at no cost. "Freely received - freely given," is the ministry's motto.  The Lane is open Thursdays from 10am to 4pm.

A new Shiawassee Radio podcast series that focuses on Shiawassee history will feature Faith Baptist Church history on its first episode.  It will be published soon at ShiawasseeRadio.com.

Get more in our CHURCH DIRECTORY.

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