Mount Dora First Baptist honors area public school educators
Nov 8, 2012
Florida Baptist Witness

COMMUNITY First Baptist Church in Mount Dora hosts an annual luncheon for teachers. Courtesy photo
MOUNT DORA (FBW)—First Baptist Church in Mount Dora recently hosted its fourth annual Teacher Appreciation Day. It is an opportunity to share the Gospel, encourage teachers, and help needy students, according to Pastor Thomas Jamieson.

Area school principals, teachers and members of Lake and Orange counties’ school boards attended the worship service and luncheon Sept. 9. Jamieson, who started the tradition in 2008, presented principals of six schools checks for $400 to be used to help the schools’ neediest children. In years past, Jamieson said some schools used the funds to buy underwear and clothes for students.

“First Baptist Church takes the welfare of the children in our community very seriously. In light of our current economy, we know there are many needs within our public schools, and we’re blessed to be able to help meet some of those needs,” Jamieson said.

The congregation, including more than 100 educators, heard Jamieson preach from John 10:10 about “Abundant Life.” He sprinkled anecdotes from his previous career as a public school kindergarten teacher into a sermon that urged teachers to include values in their teaching since “there is no success if the soul and spirit of a person is neglected,” he said. Abundant life is a forgiven life, a forever life and a life free from baggage, he added.

During the luncheon 17 teachers received gift cards from local stores, restaurants and car care centers. Among the prizes were tickets to First Baptist’s Dinner Theater Dec. 14-15.

“Teachers have told me that this is the only time in the year they get 

together for fun. It’s something the teachers and principals—even the lost principals—look forward to,” Jamieson said.

Among the schools participating in the Appreciation Day were Seminole Springs Elementary, Sorrento Elementary, Zellwood Elementary, Wolf Lake Elementary in Apopka, Triangle 

Elementary School in Mount Dora, Mount Dora Middle School and Mount Dora High School. 

“These schools know we are committed to them. You don’t earn their trust in the first or even second year. We have to remember that Christ commanded us to feed the poor, whether or not we see fruit from it,” Jamieson said.

Appreciation day is not First Baptist’s only contact with local schools. During football season, the junior varsity and high school teams from Mount Dora meet at the church at 3:30 p.m. before every home game for a meal together. Also, administrators from the area schools will furnish First Baptist with a list of their neediest students, and the church will provide Christmas dinners for the families. The families will come to the church to receive the “fixings” for the meal. In every contact, the Gospel is presented, Jamieson said.

“I don’t know how many seeds have been sown through all of this, but I know some are germinating, and some are being harvested,” he said.

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