Rev. Larry Kirk preaches during a Sept. 23, 2012, dedication service at the newly constructed Parkway Baptist Church in Smyrna, Tenn. (TMP Photo/D. Whittle)
Country music stars Connie Smith and Marty Stuart are scheduled to present a “Country Gospel Concert” as part of a dedication of a new sanctuary for Smyrna Parkway Baptist Church the night of Sunday, Oct. 14.
The husband-wife duo will appear at 6 p.m. for a free performance along with Marty’s fabulous superlative band made up of Nashville award-winning musicians Paul Martin on bass, Harry Stenson on percussions, and Kenny Vaughn on the guitar.
“It’s a huge honor, yes,” said Michael W. Smith, who serves as music minister at Parkway Baptist. “It’s incredible to have these musician artists perform in honor of God and to help dedicate our new sanctuary. They’re two of the most recognized artists on the globe.”
Marty’s parents, Smyrna residents John and Hilda Stuart, and sister, Jennifer, regularly attend Parkway Baptist.
Hundreds of Parkway Baptist members gathered Sept. 23 to dedicate the new building at 1715 Lee Victory Parkway, across from Publix Shopping Center near Interstate 24.
“This is a great day for this group of people, led by the Lord, who saw a need to start a new church,” Pastor Dan Parker said.
Eighty-nine-year-old Ethel Henderson, one of the oldest Parkway Baptist members, left her sick bed to attend the first dedication in a wheelchair. And Mae Rump, who has had multiple health issues in recent years, continues to inspire others with her dedication to attend lengthy practice sessions and performances by the Voices of Praise choir.
The congregation’s fledgling steps started with a phone call in August 2003, said Rev. Larry Kirk, who appeared as a guest speaker for the event. Kirk, who lives in Jackson, Tenn., is the founding preacher of Parkway Baptist, which began its ministries eight years ago.
The congregation also recently held a special service to thank retired Rutherford County Superintendent of Schools Harry Gill and other school officials for use of Rock Springs School as a temporary location.
“I was serving as a church planner in that era,” said Kirk, a retired chaplain with the Tennessee National Guard who has ministered to soldiers around the world. “We had the first prayer meeting (in the Smyrna Senior Citizens’ building) about beginning a new fellowship. The church bloomed from there.”
Kirk and Parker praised the tireless service of the Parkway Baptist Building Committee, headed by Edd Comer, with committee members Ann Barnett, Ron Coleman, Ed Garner, Mark Morton, Sid Salmons and Pat Whittle.
“This building committee served faithfully for eight years, leading up and through construction of our new sanctuary,” Parker said.
Kirk said the long-awaited building would serve as a refuge for hurting people.
“As faithful followers of Jesus Christ, you are the church,” Kirk said to attendees. “Your use of this building, the one we’re dedicating here on Temple Dedication Day, is a tool to welcome new members and serve God’s hurting people … and establish a rich heritage of serving others in Christ’s cause.”