All hearts invited home to Northside Oct. 8

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 1, 2000

Features Editor

More than 50 years ago, some "fancy folks" from First Baptist Church in Troy got in their cars and drove out of town and helped some ordinary people discover an extraordinary life in Christ.

On Oct. 8, two of those "ordinary folks" will share their message of Christ with the members and friends of Northside Baptist Church at Homecoming 2000.

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The Rev. Burney Enzor will be guest speaker at the Homecoming worship service at 11 a.m. and he will be joined by the Rev. Clifford Matthews, pastor of Northside Baptist Church.

The two ministers share a history in salvation which began when they were youngsters and were among those who were "loved to Christ" by the members of First Baptist Church.

"Back in 1948, most people came into town to church," Matthews said. "It was rare for people to come out of town to church. But there was a group of loving, caring people at First Baptist Church who came out to us in their nice cars and won us to Christ."

The late Pearl Reeves was a leader of the group who helped found the mission church.

"She had such a profound influence on all of us scallawags," Matthews said, laughing. "I delivered newspapers for The Messenger and whenever I saw her she would say, ‘I pray for you every day,’ and that made a deep impression on me."

Enzor said most of the young people who were in the youth group came either from unchurched families or from other denominations.

The youths of that mission church quickly became a close-knit group. They would tramp through the woods one night hunting coons and the next night they would gather at the little mission church and preach to each other.

"I was a practiced preacher before I was called to preach," Matthews said.

Matthews and Enzor grew up during an exciting time of the church. They saw many people come to Christ, including Matthews’ dad at age 50.

"He had a tough life, but he came to know Christ in a church that’s vision was concern for ordinary people," Matthews said. "We still have not lost that vision and we want to share it with others."

Matthews came to Northside in 1997 as its interim pastor and the church is steadily growing and people are coming out of town to the church that offers the same love and caring to others that was shown to them 52 years ago.

"We invite everyone to be a part of this wonderful homecoming day," Matthews said. "We are humbled that 15 members of our church have responded to the call to Christian ministry while at Northside," Matthews said. "These include, the late I.N. Matthews, Warner Floyd, the late Swinson Kimbrough, William Sunday, Randall Peacock, the late Kenneth Fain, Robert Barr, the late T.E. Ferguson, Jane Jeffres, the late Johnny Strickland, Dean Vonfeld, Diane Furlow, Marvin and Carolyn Vickers, the late Billy Sunday and Bob Pemberton, a former pastor who volunteered for foreign missions."

Enzor, who was one among those, has served as a military chaplain with the Alabama National Guard and has taken the word of God to nations around the world. As a brigadier general, he served as special assistant to the chief chaplain for the National Guard at the Pentagon.

Enzor will bring a message of a caring fellowship of believers who reach out to ordinary people and help them know and follow Christ in order to magnify Him and share His message.

After all, that is the message that brought him to Christ and that is the message that still rings true at Northside Baptist Church today.