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Fellowship with First Baptist of Thomaston

“One more time. One more time. One more time. Oh, one more time. Lord, I’m glad to be in the service, one more time. Oh, one more time. Lord, one more time.”

These are the words to the hymn that was being led by the deacons of First Baptist Church of Thomaston as their Sunday morning worship service started.

First Baptist in Thomaston is one of the few churches in Thomaston with a primarily African American congregation. They have worship services at 11:30 a.m. every first and third Sunday of the month. I decided to attend First Baptist on Sunday, May 21, my first weekend spent in Thomaston. 

As I got ready for church, I felt nervous about visiting a new church. I knew that all churches are different. I found myself wondering if I was wearing the right thing, if I had the right version of the Bible, and if I would know the songs that they would sing. 

As I pulled up into the gravel parking lot of First Baptist and approached the brick building of the church, I was welcomed by a couple of members in the church who led me inside. The church had emerald green carpet and matching cushions lining the many wooden pews. Several more members greeted me as I entered the building.

My worries went away as I was welcomed in the church. The members of First Baptist invited me to sit wherever I liked. I selected a seat on the right side of the church.

It caught me off guard when the service did start. Several men up front, the deacons of the church, started the congregation in song. When they started singing, everyone else chimed in with their voices and clapping hands. I looked around for a hymn book, but there was not one in sight.

There were no instruments being played. The only sound was the congregation singing and the clapping of hands. Eventually, a member picked up a tambourine and started playing it along with the rhythm of the songs. The voices and the sound of the tambourine created an uplifting atmosphere of worship.

It amazed me how everyone knew the words and joined in with the singing. I started humming along and clapping with the rhythm of the songs. I did not know the words, but eventually I did catch on to some of the choruses. As the singing went on, more people entered the church.

For the beginning of the service, we sang, prayed, and read the scripture for the day. After that, there was an offering and then Reverend Alexander came up to the podium. He called us all to quote Psalm 23 in unison.

The reverend then called everyone up to the altar for prayer. I was uncertain of what to do, but I was helped by a very kind member who explained to me what we were going to be doing and walked up there with me. The preacher walked around and blessed everyone individually. Then the prayer list was read aloud as we all held hands.

In the moment at the altar, I really felt like I was a part of the congregation. I enjoyed that we all came together and held hands and prayed for one another and the community. 

Reverend Alexander began his sermon titled “Fellowship of the Spirit”. He quoted Philippians 2:1 and stated, “The Holy Spirit causes us to be in fellowship with God, and it calls us to be in fellowship with one another.” I could feel the warmth of fellowship here in First Baptist.

Near the end of the service, Reverend Alexander stated, “We are a small church in a small community, but here we believe that everyone is someone and that God is above all.” I feel like this statement speaks for First Baptist in Thomaston. They are very welcoming to all who come and visit, and they care for their members and community.

First Baptist welcomed me with open arms. I felt like I was really a part of their congregation. They allowed me to participate in worship and even included me in their prayers. They even sent me home with a plate of food after church. All in all, I felt very welcomed at First Baptist, and I hope to go back and worship with them again.