Churches to reflect, remember on 9/11 anniversary
‘Heroes & hope’ focus of celebration
Aug 25, 2011
Florida Baptist Witness

CLEARWATER (FBW)—As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, many Florida Baptist churches are planning observances. Whether in community-wide or church events, Baptists will remember those who lost their lives 10 years ago, and will honor U.S. military, police, fire and emergency medical personnel serving their communities.

Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater has announced “A Day to Remember” at Bright House Field, a 7,000-seat sports stadium about a mile from the church Sunday, Sept. 11. The “memorial and patriotic expression” is a community-wide service to remember those who died, with pauses at the exact times of the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Pastor Willy Rice will lead the 9 a.m. service at which Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard and other community leaders will participate in a two-hour service. Recording artist Guy Penrod, a 14-year veteran of the Gaither Vocal Band, will sing, and patriotic music will be the order of the day.

MEMORIAL PARADE Leon Hurley (right), represents Southern Baptist Disaster Relief at a May 2001 memorial service at Ground Zero. Ever a volunteer with a servant’s heart, he handed out water to law enforcement officials and others in the parade. FBC photo
“This event will be a remembrance, recognition and a celebration of heroes and hope,” Rice said in a church newsletter.

Further south on the Gulf Coast, Southside Baptist Church in Sarasota will observe Patriot Day in its 10:30 a.m. service. A color guard will present the flags as the congregation recites pledges and sings patriotic music.

Pastor Wayne Briant told Florida Baptist Witness, the church will honor police, firefighters and emergency service personnel as it remembers the events of 9/11.

“The biggest danger for our nation is a short memory. As Christians, we need to remember and express gratitude for the freedoms that we have,” Briant said. “Patriotism, for me, is always in vogue.”

Six churches on the west side of Jacksonville are joining forces to perform a patriotic musical in an outdoor setting near Macedonia Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Sept. 11. The one-hour service will feature “I Salute You,” a musical written by Deborah Craig-Claar and arranged by David Clydesdale.

Jay Stuckey, pastor of Macedonia Baptist and a former minister of music, will lead the 75-voice choir. Vocalists from Macedonia Baptist, West Normandy Baptist, Hyde Park Baptist, St. Johns Park Baptist, Murray Hill Baptist and Normandy Park Baptist will sing the musical written specifically for the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

With each church choir numbering less than 20, Stuckey said the participating churches readily agreed to merge for the event.

“When I said ‘Let’s get together and do this,’ they were all for it,” Stuckey said.

The choirs are rehearsing the music separately until joint rehearsals Aug. 27 and Sept. 4. They will perform Sept. 11 with recorded accompaniment.

“It is fairly brief and fairly sing-able, otherwise we would need more time together,” Stuckey said.

The community event is planned for Sunday evening, several hours after the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans play a few miles away, and when the summer’s hot temperatures typically cool. Audience members are asked to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets, if desired, to the performance on a vacant lot across from Macedonia Baptist.

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