CBFSC is excited to announce that Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Rock Hill has decided to partner with CBFSC. This new partnership between Pleasant Ridge and CBFSC happened because of growing partnerships between Pleasant Ridge and another CBFSC church, Oakland Baptist Church, also in Rock Hill.
Reverend Gary Walton, the senior pastor at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, likes to say that his church is known as the “Holy Ghost Headquarters.” They strive to build unity in Rock Hill and want to help pull the city together. Pleasant Ridge is already active in many community outreach events; has started a food pantry at their church that provides food to 60 families a month; and are now planning a community garden so they can help even more families. They also give out toys, clothes, electronics, and bicycles to 25 families during Christmas, and take youth on field trips to things like Winthrop basketball games in order to expose them to new and exciting places. They are currently planning to use the property adjacent to their church to create a community fellowship space with a playground, grills, and picnic tables.
Reverend Walton says the members of Pleasant Ridge like to “reach across the aisle” to build relationships and do ministry with people who may look or believe differently than they do.
When Reverend Leigh Reynolds (Associate Minister for Spiritual Growth and Missions at Oakland Baptist Church) met Reverend Gary Walton in class at Gardner Webb University’s School of Divinity, they connected since they both serve in Rock Hill churches. The two had classes together, which sparked the discussion of getting their churches together to begin conversations about joint community projects. Both their churches have the same commitment to community service and community relationships.
Rev. Reynolds says, “What started as brief exchanges in the lounge at Gardner Webb turned into a lunch in Rock Hill where Gary, Alice Davis (the chair of Oakland’s Mission Committee), and I began to dream of what a partnership could look like for our churches. Gary is someone whose heart beats to bring unity to the Rock Hill community, and his desire to love and serve our community is contagious. Over that lunch I told Gary we found ourselves having a lot of important conversations about race relations at Oakland but recognized that conversations were not enough. No sooner had I said that we knew we had to build authentic relationships with people outside our walls who looked different than us was he already starting to share ideas.”
When Oakland Baptist Church’s vision report showed that there was a strong desire for more partnerships with diverse churches, it became a natural fit for Oakland to partner with Pleasant Ridge. Last year, they worshiped outside, ate at food trucks, and fellowshipped together. Last week, they came together at Pleasant Ridge for worship, dinner, and fellowship. Worship included intergenerational choirs from both churches. Reverend Jeff Hayes (Senior Pastor at Oakland) says that Oakland has an organic connection with Pleasant Ridge, as one of Oakland’s day school employees is a member at Pleasant Ridge.
CBFSC is excited about the growing partnership between Pleasant Ridge and Oakland, and we are thrilled that Pleasant Ridge has decided to join CBFSC. As these partnerships continue to grow, we look forward to further building relationships, worshiping, and serving together.