Congregations unite to form one church

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

NATCHEZ — The culmination of four years of planning is finally coming together this Sunday for the Rev. LeRoy White and his new church New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church.

White has pastored five churches in the Miss-Lou at the same time, four in Mississippi and one in Louisiana, and has been working since 2006 to unite these churches under one roof.

“It is impossible to pastor that many churches at once,” he said. “A vision was given to me from God to unify them.”

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White said three of the four churches he pastors in Natchez, Mount Plain Baptist Church, China Grove Baptist Church and St. Peter Rock Baptist Church, will have their first unified service at the new $1.5 million building on 35 Triumph Lane in Natchez this Sunday.

The other two churches, Zion Hill Baptist Church in Ferriday and Clarmount Baptist Church in Natchez, decided against the union due to location and other unspecified reasons, White said.

“We are starting at 10:15, with a parade from our old facilities on St. Catherine Street to the new building,” he said.

White said a ribbon cutting ceremony, the handing over of the keys and a service will follow the parade.

“We are going to have people from California and New York here for the service,” he said. “There is even a church from Jacksonville, Ill., who is bringing their entire congregation.”

White said this is the first time this many churches have been brought together in the State of Mississippi.

“It is a very historical moment,” he said. “Others have tried, and we are going to do it. God is going to get me through it.”

White said having everyone under one building, in one unified church is a nice break from when he first started.

“It was wearing me out. I would have one service and 8 a.m. and one at 11 a.m. and I would just be driving to get there,” he said. “I know this is not what God had intended for me to do.”

White said since breaking ground on the 8.9-acre site in April of 2007, it has been a difficult but rewarding battle to get everything finished.

“Bringing three congregations together is not easy,” he said. “But God can do anything.”

White said the funding for the new church came solely from people giving out of their own pocket.

“Not a single item was sold to help pay for this building,” he said. “It was purely out of the love and generosity of those willing to give.”

While White said he wanted to focus on getting the first service out of the way for the new church at this moment, there are plans for more additions in the future.

“We want to build a family life center, and a track around the campus for people to come and exercise,” he said. “We also want to build a school here for kindergarten through third-grade students.”

White said he named the church New Beginnings because he wanted a fresh start for the congregation.

“Nobody can claim this church is theirs,” he said. “It is a new beginning for everyone involved, and we are excited about getting started.”