Flood waters, pastor's vision lead to new church

COVINGTON, Va. (BP) -- There is a new church in Alleghany County, Va. -- and it happened because of a flood, a legacy and a pastor's vision.

Fincastle Baptist Church reaches out to the community by helping and praying with their neighbors.
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In June 2016, Fincastle Baptist Church, located in Fincastle, Va., just outside of Roanoke, reached out to the town of Covington after a flood that affected the area. Fincastle responded with volunteers, known as the Go Team, and developed a plan to provide furniture and appliances to flood victims. In partnership with SBC of Virginia Disaster Relief and with the help of SBCV's Vision Virginia funds, Fincastle was able to help nearly 500 families.

Prior to the flood, there were already 75–100 people from the Covington area who would drive to Fincastle for church. Many in that area already knew about Fincastle Baptist, but the church's flood response allowed the community to see the love of Jesus in action. Numerous Gospel conversations took place, and a pastor's vision was about to take flight.

Pastors come together for a community revival. Joining Pastor Kevin (far right) are (left to right) Montie Brown Sr. of First Baptist Church of Fincastle, Vittorio Devlin of Lily of the Valley Baptist Church and Sean Burch of First Baptist Church of Amsterdam.
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"For almost 10 years," Kevin Cummings, pastor of Fincastle Baptist Church, shared, "God has been building on my heart to do something in Covington, Alleghany County, Bath County, and in Greenbriar County, W.Va. I had traveled this region through my connection with high school sports."

Then the phone call came -- an unexpected gift. In December 2016, Cummings heard from a church trustee in Covington. The man said, "We've decided to give you our church." Unbeknownst to Cummings, a struggling church in Covington had voted to close its doors after declining to an attendance of eight. With Fincastle's ministry in the community having become widely known, the church determined to give its assets to Fincastle.

Transferring the church's property to Fincastle was the congregation's way of preserving a legacy of worship and missions since 1929 when the church began. After much prayer and discussion of the proposal, Fincastle decided to start a new campus at the donated church building in Covington. Fincastle Baptist is now one church meeting in two locations.

A new believer at Fincastle Baptist Church is baptized in a nearby river.
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Once the property was obtained, a steering committee of members in the Covington area developed a strategy for planting the Highlands Campus of Fincastle Baptist Church. Fincastle volunteers worked tirelessly to make the upgrades and renovations needed to the building.

The Highlands Campus began with evening worship services in the fall of 2017 with plans to add a campus pastor and move worship services to Sunday morning when the time is right. Through outreach activities and events and by adopting five local schools (to help with school supplies), Fincastle Baptist Church is continuing to minister to the Covington community.

Cummings told Covington's Virginia Review, "Only God could take something bad like a flood and make something good come out of it."

Don Cockes is SBC of Virginia Church Strengthening Coordinator (West); Regional Missionary, Valley.
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