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Posted: March 11, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Baptists Breaking Debt

First Baptist Church tries to shed debts

First Baptist Church of Covington wants to be debt-free.

Sunday, First Baptist opens its Freedom campaign, an effort to retire its $2.9 million debt.

The church will mark the event with a special service at 10 a.m. Sunday at Alcovy High School, 14567 Ga. Highway 36, with a meal to follow. The Alcovy event will be held in lieu of First Baptist’s regular three services on its campus.

"We call this a Unity in Worship Sunday, said church pastor, the Rev. Jason Dees.

In preparation for the campaign, Dees has been preaching through the book of Galatians.

"Galatians is (the writer) Paul’s plea to leave secure ways behind and pursue freedom in Christ," he said. "Giving is a way we show that we do not trust the securities of this world and entrust our resources to Christ."

Retiring the debt will give the church more to spend on ministries.

"It has got a lot of people thinking about what effect we could have on the world if we could take the money we are paying for interest on our loans and spend it on our community and world missions," said Esther Williams, the campaign’s co-director.

It’s a three-year effort, according to Steve Reagan, who chaired the committee that first launched the effort. Reagan led the charge to recruit early donors.

"We are in tough economic times and we feel blessed by the way our giving has remained consistent at our church." He said.

Impact Stewardship of Brentwood, Tenn., has helped with organizing the campaign, coordinating everything from printing to a video production, said Charles Reynolds, the church administrator.

"They have taken care of so much they have made it easy for us to focus on the project," Reynolds said.

Although the Sunday service is a detour from the usual Sunday fare, all visitors are welcome. The meal following the service will be catered by Stalvey’s Restaurant. For information regarding First Baptist Church or the campaign, call (770) 786-9031.

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