GO A' CAROLING AT FREMONT BAPTIST
by Kirby Lindsay
While holiday celebrations in Fremont can be, well, a little non-traditional and unconventional, the folks at Fremont Baptist Church want to offer an evening of simple, old-fashioned, neighborly holiday spirit. Join them Sunday, December 6 starting at 6 p.m. for a Christmas carol sing-along, with warm cider, desserts and a few featured voices and performers.
Pastor Judy Gay promises a wide selection of carols – secular and non. In the past, to herald in the holidays, “we’ve always had concerts,” she said, “this is the first time,” for caroling. While formally trained musicians created beautiful music in their sanctuary, generally with classical tones, and this year they chose to create a more community event. “Everybody likes Frosty and Rudolf,” Pastor Gay admitted, “and they’ll be a part.”
That’s not to say there won’t be talent involved. Fremont Baptist, established in 1892, struggles to exist in a deeply un-churched neighborhood. Among what they provide, Pastor Gay has frequently bragged about their “ministry of space.” In addition to holding church services, their building – constructed in 1924 – currently provides meeting space for 27 self-help, 12-step groups, plus holding yoga classes, Toastmasters meetings and a string band practice. Members of the string band – popular, local duo the Canote Brothers – have promised to perform at the caroling event.
After songs, fellowship, eats and entertainment, those who wish to try to cheer up the perennially pouty Fremont Troll will go a’caroling down the block. Pastor Gay sees a single purpose to the whole event – “it’s just a way to bring people together,” she said, “this is for the community.”
Service Beyond Singing
Pastor Gay has served at Fremont Baptist, a part of the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches, for five years – at the discretion of her congregation. She remains as long as they want her and she hopes that will be for a long time as she feels the job suits her. “I love it here,” she said enthusiastically, and she loves the people she meets, even, “I love talking to Kevin Swalwell…”
Fremont Baptist Church, as one of the few easily identifiable social service agencies in the neighborhood, frequently attracts homeless and transient people. Pastor Gay helps them as she can with a willing hand, or ear. “They want to be listened to,” she explained about the majority of her ‘work.’ She has obtained medical attention for them, presided over funeral services and, recently, supported one man to find stable housing, work and he has joined the congregation. When police arrested a local homeless man, Swalwell, for arsons in the Greenwood neighborhood, Pastor Gay recognized him as a visitor she had once assisted.
The small congregation gives generously to the community, often in big ways. “We give the school supplies,” to B.F. Day Elementary School, “after school starts, for the students who arrive during the year.” Among twenty Fremont Baptist families, they recently collected 245 food items in one week – for the Solid Ground food bank.
Pastor Gay, and the rest of the Fremont Baptist community, hope everyone – regardless of your church affiliation, or lack thereof – will come join the voices on December 6. For questions, contact the church through their web site or call the office at 206/632-7994. Also, consider attending a service – on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. or for Christmas service on December 24 at 7:30 p.m.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.