Congregation gathers for food, fellowship, reflection

Published 12:01 am Monday, December 31, 2007

NATCHEZ — The doors were locked, the pews were empty and no music could be heard at Providence Baptist Church Saturday. The building was vacant, but the church was across town.

Adults and youngsters alike from Providence Baptist’s congregation gathered at Ryan’s Steakhouse Saturday to celebrate the year the youth group has had and to fellowship with other members of their church.

“At the end of the year we like to bring the youth out to eat and reflect and show a little appreciation for what the Lord has done,” Providence Baptist Church Pastor the Rev. James Washington said.

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The ages in the self-professed small congregation’s youth group range from 9 to 20-year-olds, and though they are young, the church works to make sure the youth group is a vital part of the congregation, Washington said.

On the third Sunday of every month, the youth group gets to run the show.

The church meets for Sunday school at 9 a.m. that week, and at 3 p.m. they return to the church grounds for the youth-led service.

“The youth group is responsible for doing the devotion and the singing,” Washington said.

Nia Chatman, 14, has been a member of the youth choir since it was started five years ago, he said.

“My favorite part of it was singing ‘Rock of Ages,’” he said.

Jakoni Johnson, 11, has joined the youth choir a little more recently, and he admitted he was a little nervous this year when he performed his first solo.

“I got the Devil under my feet,” he said. “At first I was a little scared, but it was alright.

The church will continue to stand behind the youth group in the next year and the years to come, Washington said.

“We just want to encourage them to make resolutions as far as the New Year goes, and to remind them they are children of God and not to join in with others who don’t attend church.”