Ever since 1993 the 28 protestant churches of Eunice, Oklahoma have worked together to hold a combined VBS that reaches hundreds of children annually. However, a recent vote by First Baptist Church (FBC) puts this all at risk. This past Sunday between the end of the service and the church potluck, 52% of the members marked “Leave” on their ballots, while the remaining checked “Remain.”

“It just isn’t right,” cited Clarence Holmes, a long time deacon at FBC. “They held the vote on the Sunday of a potluck. We all know that the grumpy people who were against the VBS only show up for holidays and fried chicken. That definitely swayed the vote.” Others, however, saw things differently. Sarah Davis has taught at the VBS since its inception, but led up the #Baptxit efforts. “Even though we are the biggest church in the VBS, I just felt like we were underrepresented in leadership. We have the biggest building, contributed the most money, and yet the meetings were always held at the Methodist Church.” Davis continued, “We just can’t let the rest of the churches in town keep controlling us. We’re beginning to lose our identity.”

Other FBC members saw a different reason for leaving. Hunter ‘Squeaky’ James, the church financial secretary believes that the church’s difficult financial situation is a result of the Community VBS. “Believe it or not, our attendance is up 10% since we started working with the other churches, but it is all because the church hoppers who were in other congregations see what we have and come and join us,” noted James. “Those church hoppers don’t give anything, so our offerings are the same as they were before, but we have more mouths to feed.”

Once #Baptxit was made official, other churches immediately threatened to leave as well. Members of Northside Christian Church (NCC), Eunice Evangelical-Free Church, and The Gathering Place—Eunice plan to attend their respective board meetings to seek an exit of their own. “We just don’t want to be on a sinking ship,” said Gene Litmore, a member of NCC. “We don’t want to put in all of this effort this year and not have anyone show up.” Not everyone was upset over #Baptxit though. Hans Schmidt, the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church sees it as an opportunity. “We feel like the Baptists have been in control of this for far too long. We look forward to stepping into the driver’s seat for a while.” Schmidt continued, “Heck, we’ve been Protestant longer than any of them. If it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t even be here.”

Many question FBC’s ability to transition from the Community VBS in time for next summer’s event. It is even rumored that Dave Cameroon, the Youth Pastor at FBC will resign over #Baptxit. In a text message to The Bald Prophet, Cameroon said, “I just 💔 bout this dont no if i am pastor to leed us 4ward [sic].” A church official, speaking on the condition of anonymity responded, “Don’t let him fool you. He’s been on the way out for a while now.”

By Dustin Fulton


 

Photo Credit: kimberlykappel via Compfight cc

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