At Antioch Baptist Church, music enhances every aspect of a service.
“Music just lifts you up,” said Antioch Pastor Vernell Racy. “Singing, music and praying go together. Everyone likes some type of music. Even if the preacher [isn’t good at preaching], people go [to church] because they like the music.”
Racy grew up in a family that celebrated their love of God through music.
When he was traveling the world performing gospel music with his family, he never imagined a day he’d call Tahlequah home.
The Racy Brothers make their first recording in 1999. Their mother and her sisters had a music group before that, named the “McLettic Stars.”
“My grandmother was director of the church choir at Union Baptist in Dumas, Ark.,” Racy said. “Coming up, they had a singing and quartet groups performing there.”
As for preaching, he takes his cues from God.
“God gave the ability to give a sermon to me,” he said. “The first time, I wrote a bunch of notes and dropped them. I was too embarrassed to pick them up. God gives me what he wants me to say.”
Studying his Bible also helps him prepare for sharing the word of God.
“Like Ezekial, I open my mouth and God speaks through me,” Racy said.
Love one another is the message any time he gets up to speak.
“We don’t judge, we accept you where you are,” he said. “We don’t expect you to come in knowing. We all grow together. ‘Love one another’ is the greatest commandment.”
Racy became pastor at Antioch two years ago this July 8. He’d preached there as a visiting pastor several times, so the congregation was acquainted with him.
His wife, Vickie, had been a part of the church since 2004, and shares her husband’s love of singing. The couple met at the church, and have been married two years.
“I love God, I love music and I love people,” Vernell said.
The members are all very kind and loving to each other, he said.
“My members make me feel like I’m special, I have lovely members,” he said. “Since I’ve been here, they take the attitude that no one who comes through the door is a stranger. When one of us hurts, all of us hurt.”
Vickie appreciates the fellowship at Antioch.
“From the first Sunday I walked in this building, I felt a connection,” she said. “It felt like I was coming home. That never changed.”
Friends, family and fellowship are highly valued, but their priority to put God first is emphasized.
“We all come here looking for the almighty God. It’s not about the pastor or musicians, it’s about God,” Racy said.
And he’ll tell how blessed he is.
“There were only a few of us when we started, at first we only had women here, Evelyn Ross, Lee Sallis, Betty Brown, Vickie and me. Now we have families and kids and college students, 60 to 80 every Sunday,” he said.
Wednesday night Bible studies are interactive and everyone is welcome to participate.
“We all come together to study. Our outline that was going to take six weeks lasted four months because everyone was into discussing,” Vickie said. “You don’t have that freedom every place, but you do here.”
Another area where the church has grown and is blessed, he said, is they have men in the congregation.
“We’ve ordained one deacon, Richard Taylor, and are about to ordain two more on July 7, Tyree Parker and Bill Leigh,” he said. “It means a lot to me, because God is moving forward. And we’ve baptized a lot of new members.”
The church scripture is John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.”
Youth and teens are an especially important outreach to the church. Praise dancers, speakers who are youth and who encourage youth visit on first Sundays.
“God is blessing us,” Racy said. “We have colleges that bring youth and local college students. Some come from Fort Smith and Oklahoma City to perform. God gives our kids things to do. Somehow we have to reach our kids and help young members.”
Along with Sunday morning worship and Wednesday evening Bible study, the church hosts first Sunday as Youth Day which includes a luncheon, third Sunday is the Lord’s Supper – or Communion Sunday, and the fifth Sunday is spent in worship with other churches.
Vacation Bible School will be held July 23-27 with River Valley Church at that church, followed by a combined church picnic July 28.
A Revival will be held June 12-14 at 7 each evening, featuring Rev. Terry Kirts, of Four Mile Branch Baptist Church in Fort Gibson, June 12; Rev. Curtis Leland, of Wagoner First Baptist Church, on June 13; and Rev. Mac Jackson, of Vian First Baptist Church.
“God has blessed me since I’ve been here, and continues to bless our church and congregation,” Racy said. “Once people come to Antioch, they won’t want to go anyplace else because the love and the fellowship is all about God.”
At Antioch Baptist Church, music enhances every aspect of a service.
New opportunity opens door for local pastor
A unique opportunity for ministry training will begin next year in Tahlequah.
The River Ministries will be launching The River Training Center, a complete ministry school. The training center will also perform community outreach and sponsor mission trips, all beginning in January 2015.
The founder of the school, Pastor Brandon Stratton, was raised in Tahlequah and previously pastored Calvary Assembly of God Church.
Presidential terms limited by 22nd Amendment
The past 30 years have been marked by occasional grumbling from one American political party, and celebration from the other - depending on who occupies the White House - about the disqualification of a president after eight years of service.
For much of the nation’s history, a presidency could last indefinitely.
Paperbacks still survive in the digital age
In an era when mobile technology is always at hand, most people can access an electronic book at any time. Such literary luxuries weren’t widely available to previous generations until the dawn of the paperback book.
Wednesday, July 30, is set as a day to celebrate the low-cost, portable book during National Paperback Book Day.
Former resident tapped for national skydiving award
A man known locally for putting Tahlequah on the international map by bringing world-class skydiving events to town is being inducted in the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame in October.
Norman Heaton said he’s very honored to be selected for the prestigious award given to people who have made significant contributions to the sport of skydiving.
Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment
Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.
Fashion show to feature local teachers
A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.
TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie
Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.
Stark enjoys making a difference
Kristin Stark, Sequoyah Elementary Teacher of Year, loves teaching, and has a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
“I love making a difference in the lives of children; it is a wonderful feeling to make a positive impact on a child,” said Stark.
Women got the vote with 19th Amendment
During its first 140 years, the United States Constitution underwent a series of changes intended to extend voting rights to those who were not white or didn’t own property - but as the American experiment entered the 20th Century, half the adult population still had no protection to vote.
Though they certainly had political opinions, women could not cast a ballot in most states. That changed with passage of the 19th Amendment.
Cherokee, Tlingit storytellers to share their craft during special NSU event
Two Native American cultures will be represented during a storytelling workshop featuring Cherokee Gayle Ross and Tlingit and Cherokee dancer and storyteller Gene Tagaban, of Seattle.
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