Albion church welcomes 20 people from Mississippi to assist with projects

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 July 2023 at 1:00 pm

‘They have been absolutely incredible.’ – Ben Curfman, pastor of North Point Chapel

Photo by Tom Rivers: Ted Newsome, a member of the Liberty Baptist Church at left on ladder, and Rick Bachorski, right of the North Point Chapel, work on a project in the kitchen at the North Point Chapel.

ALBION – A group of 20 people from a church in Mississippi raised $30,000 and traveled 1,200 miles to help a congregation in Albion this week.

The Liberty Baptist Church from Waynesboro, Mississippi has a team of people cleaning the North Point Chapel, finetuning the sound system and working on overhauling the kitchen so the church can prepare and serve meals in its fellowship hall.

Ted Newsome is a truck driver and farmer from the church in Mississippi. He and many of the other Liberty Baptist members took off work and used their vacation to make the trek to Albion. They rode in a bus, and also brought a truck and U-Haul with tools and supplies.

“We need serving as much as people need to be served,” Newsome said.

Liberty Baptist also has another group of 16 people from its church in New York City this week doing a service project at Hell’s Kitchen.

Phillip Gandy, the church’s pastor, said Liberty Baptist has been doing projects in many states for about 20 years now. Gandy was in Albion in February to check out the church and assess if Liberty Baptist could be helpful to North Point Chapel. Both churches are members of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Gandy believed Liberty Baptist could raise money and get the kitchen functioning again.

Liberty Baptist embraces the projects wanting to be of service to other churches and also welcoming the chance for Liberty Baptist members to work close together.

“This is the best team-building I know of for a church,” Gandy said about the mission trips.

Provided photo: This group from Liberty Baptist Church in Mississippi arrived in Albion on Tuesday evening and will be leaving Monday morning. They are shown outside the North Point Chapel at the former United Methodist Church at the corner of East State and Platt streets.

The Liberty group ranges in age from 13 to 78.

Newsome, one of the volunteers, said the Albion community has already shown the group kindness. Their first day on the job a neighbor brought over lasagna dinner. “It was delicious,” he said.

Ben Curfman has served as North Point Chapel pastor just over a year. He and his wife Rebekah and their six children relocated to Albion from the mountains of western North Carolina.

Curfman made other Southern Baptist churches aware the Albion site would welcome assistance with projects in a historic building, and also outreach to the community.

Besides working on the building, the group from Mississippi will team with North Point in offering a bounce house and serving cotton candy and popcorn on Saturday. Curfman expects more traffic that day due to the community yard sales in Albion.

Liberty Baptist also will be part of the praise band during the service on Sunday morning at 10:30.

Liberty Baptist brought materials to upgrade the kitchen, and even brought new appliances. Curfman said the church from Mississippi has been a blessing.

“They have been absolutely incredible,” he said.

North Point rented out a house in Waterport through Airbnb for some of the Liberty Baptist members, while others are staying with a North Point family.

Curfman said another church from North Carolina helped North Point in the spring by moving pews, reorganizing the sanctuary, and building a baptistry for people to be baptized.

North Point members also went on their own mission trip, traveling to Silver Creek in Chautauqua County for a day to help a church there get ready for a Vacation Bible School.

Curfman said he let the network of Southern Baptists churches know that North Point welcomes assistance with projects at the building and with community outreach. He said the response from out-of-state churches has left a strong impression on the North Point congregation.

‘It should be inspiring to people who can see there are people from all over the country who care about Albion,” Curfman said. “I just put the word out and explained our situation, that we want to be here a long time and be of service to the community. We’re blessed with this location in the heart of Albion.”