Church rocks its message of faith and welcome

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First Christian Church says it wants the Wilson community to know it has a welcoming and inclusive congregation that celebrates its ministry of love and acceptance.

A new ministry within the church called “FCC Rocks” has been inspired by “rocks for random acts of kindness,” similarly seen in Black Mountain. Black Mountain is the hometown community for Christmount, a retreat and conference facility for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

First Christian Church has taken the idea of “random acts of kindness” one step further to provide uplifting messages of acceptance, love, encouragement and belonging.

The downtown church on the corner of Tarboro and Vance streets is known for its exterior stonework, and the congregation has long been acquainted with the theme of rocks. The church’s legacy fund, “The Living Stones Society,” has been created for FCC members to include their church in their estate planning. And in the recent past, stones have been passed out to congregation members on Palm Sunday as a reminder of Scripture from Luke’s gospel.

It says that when Jesus entered the Holy City amidst the waving of palms and shouts of “Hosanna,” the authorities ordered him to stop his disciples. But Jesus responded to them saying, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

The recurring theme of stones and rocks now emerges once again with messages that resonate with members of First Christian Church — “you are loved, you belong, you are accepted.”

Casey Childers, minister of music, has spearheaded the project, and said she is thrilled that so many members have made time to participate.

“I love that FCC embraces and celebrates everyone,” she said. “God’s love sees no limits of gender, sexual orientation or race. We are all precious in his sight.”

Nearly 100 inscribed rocks were blessed during the worship service on Father’s Day. From there, members will place the rocks throughout the community. The rocks may be placed along a sidewalk, beside a walking trail or track, on the steps of the courthouse, outside a restaurant or shopping center, or even in a park.

When folks find one of FCC’s message rocks, they are encouraged to either keep it to provide inspiration for their week ahead, pass it along to someone they know who may need an encouraging message or receive the blessing of the message and then leave the rock where was found or take it to another location for the next person to find.

The congregation plans to continue to create these inspirational finds to share with others in the year ahead.

“In the world climate today, everyone needs to know they are loved,” said FCC member Jeanette Etheridge. “This is a creative way to share that message.”

Finders may report the discovery of their rock at www.facebook.com/firstchristianrocks or #fccrocks. Anyone from the community of Wilson who wishes to participate in this ministry may call the church office at 252-237-4125.