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Ministerial association is ‘born again’ under a new name

The Demopolis Christian Ministerial Association has reorganized itself into the Blackbelt Christian Ministerial Association, hoping to open its membership to churches outside of Demopolis.

The group made its changes official at its March meeting on Thursday and defined its purposes in newly-approved by-laws at the meeting.

“The Blackbelt Christian Ministerial Association brings together church and pastors in the area to glorify Jesus Christ, promote Christian fellowship among the various congregations and reach out to the community with God’s love and mercy,” is the association’s statement of purpose.

The Blackbelt Christian Ministerial Association is made up of pastors from several Christian churches in the area. The current directory includes Christian Chapel Baptist Church, Church Aflame World Outreach Ministries, Evening Star Baptist Church, Fairhaven Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church, Hopewell Baptist Church, Jerusalem Baptist Church, New Aimwell Baptist Church, St. Leo’s Catholic Church, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Saints Tabernacle Church of God in Christ and Trinity Episcopal Church.

Association members would like to see that membership expand.

“We agreed to drop the name ‘Demopolis Christian Ministerial Association’ and go with the Blackbelt Christian Ministerial Association,” said Mickey Green, the pastor at Church Aflame. “There are people out in the county with nowhere to go, nobody to connect with. We want to be very inclusive.”

A number of years ago, there were two ministerial associations: one made up of “white” churches and one made up of “black” churches. Two years ago, members of both organizations combined into one civic ministerial association.

“Our heart is to combine the two,” Green said. “I understand that there is still an active black association, but some of the members are a part of this one, also. We’re not trying to destroy what they are doing, but we hope that God can bring us together and work together.”

The 2010 BCMA officers are president Lacornia Harris of New Aimwell Baptist Church in Uniontown, vice president Dr. Allen Atkins of Fairhaven Baptist Church of Demopolis, secretary Mickey Green of Church Aflame World Outreach Ministries of Demopolis and treasurer Frank Stiff of Saints Tabernacle Church of God in Christ of Demopolis.

The BCMA will sponsor the community-wide interdenominational celebrations on the fifth Sunday of the month. The first one this year will be held on Sunday, May 23, at Church Aflame, with Dr. Allen Atkins of Fairhaven Baptist Church bringing the sermon. Other celebrations in 2010 will be on Sunday, Aug. 29, at Fairhaven Baptist Church and on Sunday, Nov. 21, at First United Methodist Church. The celebrations begin at 6 p.m. on those nights.

“The last quarter, it was at First Baptist,” Green said. “Ed Rush, the music director at First Baptist, is going to be leading the combined choir.”

The association meets on the last Thursday of the month at 10:30 a.m. The group meets at different churches in the area on a rotational basis. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, April 29, at the First United Methodist Church of Demopolis.