Doby has long history with First Baptist in China Grove

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 27, 2012

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
“God chose this church for me,” says Barbara Doby. “I just knew it was home.”
Doby considers her 57 years at First Baptist Church in China Grove to be the ultimate gift God could give her.
Doby keeps a hectic pace, always thinking and doing.
“I’m aggressive,” she says. “I’ve got to work, and there is always something to do.”
At 76 years old, she is the head of the church trustees and serves as a deacon. Doby has been to Haiti on mission trips three times and is part of a lay renewal team. She keeps up a daily exercise regimen, taking care of her body.
“I can still run a mile, and walk much more,” she said. Currently she makes sure that 26-30 families get meals on Wednesday nights.
There is a lot going on at First Baptist Church now, and Doby is extremely glad to see it.
“Our church is the oldest in China Grove’s town limits, founded in 1888, one year before China Grove was chartered. God has worked in this community. Right now, God is alive and it is a crucial time for our country.”
She’s extremely proud of the church’s mission statement: “Expanding God’s territory in our world, in my community, in my church, in my home, in my heart.”
A mission statement painting was dedicated on Sunday, April 23 during the early service. Doby’s Upholstery provided the canvas, Bradley Eagle built the frame and Nancy Bell painted the nearly 6-foot tall lighthouse that is now the model for church T-shirts and sweatshirts.
Bell has been busy with her own projects at the church. As an art teacher for years in the area school systems, she saw painted ceiling tiles and thought about how much information these tiles could offer.
Following a state budget cut which included her layoff, Bell wanted to use her passion for painting. She looked at the tiles at First Baptist and asked for permission to start painting scenes from Biblical stories. She wanted to paint several 24-inch tiles in her adult Sunday School class with likenesses of the Apostles.
“Painting the Biblical tiles sometimes became frustrating and draining,” she said. “The strokes and blending of colors defining the images would not materialize, so I left the painting. When I returned, my hand was guided by a spirituality that I had not known. I do believe the great Guide was there helping my hand and fingers to complete the task.”
Tiles have now been completed for the children’s department, depicting more characters from Bible stories. In the nursery, painted tiles show Jesus with the little children. All the painting by Bell helps to bring the Bible to life, providing opportunities for visual learning.
Bell and Doby both believe that young people will be captivated by the painted tiles, sparking interest and anticipation as more are completed.
As a 9-year-old, Doby visited First Baptist. She remembers that night well, as much for the wonderful chocolate cake she ate as anything.
“God has given me a mouth, though sometimes I let it run too much,” she says. “My third grade teacher put tape on my mouth. Maybe that is why I became a politician. Still, I never make a decision without praying over it first.”
Doby and husband Charlie continued visits to other churches but settled in China Grove and joined First Baptist for good, shortly before Charlie returned to the US Army in Korea. She served on the China Grove Town Board, was the first chairman of Farmer’s Day and heads the Carson High School Bible Association. Doby feels comfortable around governors and other elected officials but loves her work in China Grove. She headed the fund- raising campaign to purchase and establish the town museum in the Roller Mill.
Both Doby and Bell are excited about all the activities at First Baptist. There is an upcoming revival, headed by the Rev. Tom Wallace, pastor of Freedom Worship Center in Snow Camp. Wallace is the nephew of Lucy Wilson, wife of church Pastor Steve Wilson. The revival starts with both services this Sunday, April 29 at 8:30 and 11 a.m., and will continue at 7 p.m., with additional services at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.
The church will hold its first Block Party on Sunday afternoon after the first revival services, and preceding the evening service.
The Block Party is scheduled from 4-6 p.m. Inflatables, balloon animals, bean bag contests, face painting and the church playground are some of the highlighted activities.
The China Grove Fire Department will have a truck on hand, and as well as the town’s new disaster trailer will be displayed by the Police Department. Drinks, cotton candy and funnel cakes will be available at no charge.
A hot dog supper from 6 to 6:45 p.m. will conclude the afternoon of fun just prior to the evening service.
“If you will let God, He will use you,” said Doby. No doubt that she and Bell have plenty to keep them busy.
David Freeze is a freelance writer.