Cross Carriers Missionary Baptist Church is the name that those members now call their church.
“The church has moved on and made a lot of progress,” member Debbie Young said, “A man from the nursing home wants to be baptized and join the church and one got saved last night at the service.”
Members of the church tried coming up with names that suited their situation and ended up with several to choose from.
“We had four names to choose from,” Pastor Claiborne Gibbons said, “So, we ended up drawing from a hat and pulled out Cross Carriers.”
Member Debbie Young said it is the fact that they are still carrying their crosses and have not laid them down through the devastation that makes the name of the church so important.
“We haven’t given up on God,” she said, “Because God didn’t give up on us.”
Pastor Claiborne Gibbons remembers well the night the church was divided.
“There were punches thrown, words said and there was nothing more I could do,” Pastor Gibbons said.
That night, he turned his key in to the church and resigned as pastor of Edwards Community Missionary Baptist Church.
Pastor Gibbons did not get to formally resign from his position as pastor because the church burned to the ground the following Saturday morning.
“God shows you things,” Gibbons said, “And by one person being saved last night, the Lord is not done with me.”
They are still looking for a location to call their permanent home.
An account has been set up through First Century Bank in Tazewell for the church under the name Cross Carriers Missionary Baptist Church. Any money donated will go toward the building of a new church.
“We’re still having church in members homes,” Pastor Gibbons said, “But hopefully something will come available for us soon.”