SCHAUMBURG, Ill.—Many GARBC churches have held services to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, inviting GARBC chaplains to participate in their times of remembrance. John Greening, national representative of the GARBC, commended the efforts, saying, “A big part of what we do is connecting people to each other.” Following are some of the stories shared with Chaplain Murdoch and the Baptist Bulletin.
Grace Baptist Church, Tonawanda, N.Y., hosted an afternoon service on Sept. 11, led by Chaplain Allen “Doug” Ferry, who was an Army Colonel serving as the Joint Forces (Army and Air Guard) Chaplain for the New York National Guard before his retirement in 2008. As acting chaplain for the U.S. Army 42nd Infantry Division (“Rainbow”), Chaplain Ferry coordinated all chaplains for the Ground Zero task force in the aftermath of 9/11. The division’s famous motto, Never Forget!, served as an apt motivation during the anniversary tributes.
“My memories from Ground Zero include the families viewing Ground Zero from a platform, comforted by Navy chaplains gathered around them, firemen working tirelessly to recover the bodies of their friends, police standing with a look of disbelief in their eyes,” Chaplain Ferry said in a video testimony. “I remember the soldiers, the airmen, the marines, the sailors who stood guard with a hollow look on their faces. I remember the 42nd Division staff, listening intently as I opened God’s Word and prayed for them.”
Chaplain Ferry shared these memories when he was invited to speak at Niagara Falls Air Force Base, giving a five-minute 9/11 tribute before the start of an air show attended by more than 200,000. The air show tribute was organized by Dr. David Hamilton, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, and deacon John Cooper.
Now retired, Chaplain Ferry continues to serve as the Protestant chaplain at Auburn Correctional Facility, Auburn, N.Y. Interviewed by a local reporter, he commended organizations that sponsored 9/11 events, but he also encouraged continued support of military personnel and first responders.
“It’s like Mother’s Day. We give Mother credit one day a year. It should be Mother’s Day every day of the year, thinking of her, calling her, saying, ‘Thank you, Mom, for being a great person.’ Try to do it more often and with consistency and with sincerity,” Chaplain Ferry said in the interview.
Heritage Baptist Church, Beverly Hills, Fla., invited Chaplain John Murdoch to its 9/11 memorial service. The church choir partnered with another area church and members of the community to present The Spirit of America, a patriotic cantata.
Murdoch, the director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries, preached “Search and Rescue Planet Earth” and sang “God Bless America.” The church received an offering for a community-sponsored Fallen Officers Fund, assisting families of officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Fire Department Deputy Chief Jim Goodworth honored area first responders.
First Baptist Church, Brunswick, N.Y., commemorated the 9/11 anniversary with a memorial service led by Pastor Dennis Martin, who showed a testimony video from the last survivor pulled from the World Trade Center site. Pastor Martin, who is also a GARBC chaplain for the Brunswick Fire Department, used the service to recognize police officers, firefighters, and first responders.
Northside Harvest Baptist Church, San Jose, Calif., hosted a 9/11 service—only the second service the new church plant has held. Pastor Sidnes Capillas is a church planter sent by Sunrise Valley Baptist Church, San Jose. He is also a GARBC institutional chaplain who is finishing up his Clinical Pastoral Education certification, which will qualify him to become a chaplain in the health care industry.
Pastor Capillas was born in Quezon, Philippines, and graduated from Doane Baptist Seminary in Iloilo City. Now studying for his MDiv at Liberty Baptist Seminary, Pastor Capillas was connected to the GARBC chaplaincy through Ariel Abadiano, director of the Philippine-based PARTNERS ministry.
“As the pastor and church planter, I conducted a memorial service through preaching and by showing 9/11 videos that included a prayer for the nation, for those who lost their loved ones, and for the swift return of Jesus Christ—the only one able to put an end to all tragedies,” Pastor Capillas said.
Hunts Corners Baptist Church, Marathon, N.Y., began its 9/11 service with a presentation of the colors by an honor guard consisting of an ambulance volunteer who worked at Ground Zero after 9/11, a retired Army officer, and a local firefighter. Pastor Chris Anderson preached from Esther 4, encouraging the congregation to faithfulness in “such a time as this.” The service also included two minutes of silence and a formal retiring of colors while bagpipes played “Amazing Grace.”
Pastor Chris Anderson is also a GARBC chaplain with the U.S. Army Reserves, assigned to a reserve unit in central New York.
“It was an emotional time, but we were compelled to honor those who were taken that day and those who have given their lives in the ten years since,” said Pastor Anderson.