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Conasauga Baptist Association honors pastors, their wives, Disaster Relief volunteers, Baptist Builders

Large group turned out for a Conasauga Baptist Association meeting where local heroes were honored.
Large group turned out for a Conasauga Baptist Association meeting where local heroes were honored.
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CHATSWORTH, GA – On March 27th the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles was all aglow with lights, cameras, action, festive decorations, and Hollywood’s most celebrated stars. It was the annual televised event when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out their awards (Oscars) for creative and technical excellence in the film industry. It is an attempt to honor the best of the best in movie production and the actors on the silver screen.

Amidst all the pomp and circumstance of this heralded event, the most notable moment was not Will Smith winning the award as “Best Actor” for his role in the film, “King Richard”, but Smith slapping Emcee Chris Rock in the face on national television. What was intended to be at the least a superficial lovefest among Hollywood’s elite turned out to be a monumental embarrassment to a television audience that has begun to find more inspiring programming on other channels.

In stark contrast to the televised fiasco among the thespians on the west coast, there was an unheralded event at Holly Creek Baptist Church in Chatsworth on April 24th that was far more significant in God’s estimation. Darey Kittle, Pastor of Salem Baptist Church and Associational Missionary Strategist for the Conasauga Baptist Association led a celebration to honor the pastors, their wives as well those who serve with the Disaster Relief Units and Baptist Builders in the association.

Kittle carried out one of the primary objectives emphasized by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board by celebrating the mantra “Pastors are our heroes.”

Pastors are not immune to having their own trials and tribulations. Kittle acknowledged that the past two years have taken a toll on pastors who have had to deal with all the ramifications of the COVID pandemic. They have had to deal with the issues of mask mandates, social distancing, cancelled services, declining attendance, disrupted schedules, financial woes, the untimely death of church members, devising new methods of communicating the Gospel and trying to minister to church members from a distance since hospitals have been off limits to guests, including pastors; and home visits seemed to be inappropriate under the circumstances.

The evening involved a splendid dinner catered by a local food service, door prizes, great music by Randy Postell, Associate Pastor at Salem Baptist Church in Dalton, and a message of hope and encouragement.

However, the love between Kittle and those present for the dinner was obvious. Tommy Crider, the interim pastor at Good Hope Baptist Church in Dalton commented, “The motto for our association is ‘Better Together.’ That simple thought pictures both churches and pastors working together to accomplish God’s work in our generation. We are indeed ‘Better Together’ when there is cooperation directed toward a common goal.”

Crider continued, “Brother Darey is doing an excellent job as associational missionary. He is always ready to take the time to encourage the pastors, help the churches, and to love the believers. He is God’s man for such a time as this.”

Danny Cochran, the host pastor at Holly Creek, added, “Having been a pastor in the Conasauga Baptist Association for 36 years, I have learned the value of a trusted support group. Three Associational Missionaries have been faithful friends as well as many pastors during my tenure here. I cannot imagine serving as a pastor without their friendship and support.”

Charles Rogers, pastor of McFarland Hill Baptist Church in Dalton remarked, “The Consasauga Association has a rich and blessed past, led by godly men that have taken us to greater heights as the years have gone by.

“After the retirement of Bob Bagley, who effectively served this association for 32 years, we selected another great man to lead us forward into even greater days. I was privileged to serve on the committee that recommended Darey Kittle as our missionary. We could not have gotten a better person, pastor or friend to lead us into the glorious days ahead.”

Chuck Harmon, pastor of Rocky Face Baptist Church, explained, “Brother Darey is a very humble man and has no problem putting others first. He is always the first one to help us pastors. He is like a breath of fresh air to all our ministries.”

Scott Parrish, pastor of Emmaus Baptist Church, was invited to the platform by Kittle and expressed his gratitude to those present for their prayers and generous gifts during his physical crisis. More than one year ago Parrish had a liver transplant. In March 2016 his doctor told him he had stage four cirrhosis of the liver. His condition deteriorated. On February 22, 2021, he had surgery for a liver transplant at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. In a written letter to those who were present Parrish went into some detail about the terrible symptoms that caused physical pain and emotional distress in the years prior to the transplant.

He explained, “The Lord used each of you who prayed for me and gave so generously with your time and money to heal me in an incredible way. I cannot express my gratitude enough to everyone who was patient with me, kind to me, encouraged me, supported me. God used you to save my life.

Parrish concluded, “I leave you with a quote from Clarence Goodbody in ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’: ‘No man is a failure who has friends.’ Our family is blessed to call you friends.”

The Conasauga Baptist Association is a “koinonia” – a supernal Christian fellowship that more than justifies the worth of an association led they those living under the control of the Holy Spirit.

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