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Baptist church on the Atlantic coast has window to the world

BRANT ROCK, Mass. (BP)–A mottled gray sea wall and vibrant expanse of grassy lawn are all that protect Victory Baptist Church from the Atlantic Ocean.

The stone building in which the congregation meets was built in 1896, but that’s not the reason for the name. When Victory was started by Southern Baptists in 1981, early converts for the most part consisted of transients recovering from alcohol and drug abuse, and a former prostitute or two.

Then a resort town with $1,000 per week summer rentals, Brant Rock and the entire Marshfield region have become bedroom communities for people who work in Boston, 25 miles north.

Like Plymouth, Mass. about 15 miles south, where Pilgrims landed in the New World in 1620, Victory Baptist has become a rock on which its community can stand.

Members consider the 20,000 people who live in the Marshfield region as well as the entire world to be their community, said Pastor Bob Remick, who also works as an insurance agent.

According to Remick, Victory Baptist has grown one person at a time, one family at a time, because someone from the church has reached out.

“That’s the way it always works,” he said. “People around the world are drawn to God’s love by people who already have that love, and the more of that love you share, the more you have to share — and to keep.

“The Cooperative Program (CP Missions) works the same way,” he continued. “Without the broad vision of CP missions, you have tunnel vision that limits you. With it you can see that the more you’re able to give, the more you will be blessed.”

Victory dedicates 16 percent of its offerings to Cooperative Program (CP) Missions for Southern Baptist mission work around the world, 8 percent to the Greater Boston Baptist Association, and 5 percent to Trans World Radio.

“It’s the church voting on this, not my pushing for it,” Remick said. The church has increased its CP Missions giving by 8 percent since Remick was called as pastor in 1987. It has increased associational giving by six percent in that same time period.

“We just felt this was what God wanted us to do, as we saw God providing for our needs,” the pastor added.

Ray Allen, now director of stewardship and evangelism for the New England Baptist Convention, started Victory Baptist in 1981. Bob and Brenda Remick and their three children, then members at Duxbury (Mass.) Baptist Church, offered to help since Bob had background in music education and Sunday School, and Brenda could play the piano.

“We told Ray we’d give him six months,” Remick said. “Before we knew it, two years had gone by. Ray had wanted to start a church in Hanover [Mass.] but instead he accepted a position with the convention. So I prayed about it and was ordained Sept. 13, 1983 and then started Fellowship Baptist Church in Hanover.”

In 1987, when that church grew to the point it could support a full-time pastor, Remick resigned. Victory Baptist, which had gone 18 months without a pastor, had lost all but a handful of its members. They called Remick to help them rebuild.

Now the congregation numbers about 70. In addition to Sunday morning worship and Sunday School, there’s Weight Watchers Monday nights, Wednesday night prayer meeting, Thursday morning women’s Bible study, Thursday evening youth program, and monthly men’s breakfasts.

In-depth Bible study is an important component of Victory Baptist’s ministry in the region that is 95 percent Roman Catholic, Remick said.

“There is such a need to get people firmly grounded in God’s word,” the pastor said. “Many people here do not know the Bible and they do not understand commitment to Christ. What we do here is to help Christians mature in their faith so they can reach out and influence others.”

Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” and “Created to be God’s Friend” studies paved the way for a recent four-week study on the Prayer of Jabez. The growing number of participants in those studies — both from within and outside the Victory Baptist congregation — are asking for regular Sunday evening Bible teaching time, Remick said. That is expected to start in January.

“People sense acceptance the moment they walk in here, and that is so different to them,” the pastor said. “They sense people care about them. There’s a lot of hugging here.”

The acceptance flows outward as well as inward. Remick is part of the local clergy council, which includes priests from the three largest Catholic churches in the area. He has given a gospel message in two of those churches, and two priests have spoken at Victory Baptist.

“Though we have some differences, we are focusing on the positive aspects,” Remick said. “We have a lot more influence as a united group of 10-12 churches than for each church alone to deal with issues that come up, like access to schools and prayer at graduation.”

The congregation also supports the local Christian food pantry and clothing center. About 30 families a week receive food, and an average of 10 families receive other assistance, such as rent or utilities support.

The Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Convention of New England and Greater Boston Baptist Association have equipped the Victory Baptist congregation to thrive and to reach out in its community as well as around the world, Remick said.

“What with training and support, groups coming from the South to help with VBS, and groups coming in the summer to do concerts on the lawn — that’s been a tremendous outreach — there is so much we have that we would not have if it were not for the blessings God has given us through Southern Baptists.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: THE CHURCH.