historicalBy Kay Harms

At their 28th annual meeting, the Arizona Baptist Historical Society (ABHS) celebrated the ministries and impacts of Wings for Christ, New Life Pregnancy Centers and First Baptist Church, Congress. Thirty-one members and guests of ABHS attended the annual meeting Saturday, April 30, at First Baptist Church, Congress.

Wings for Christ International is an aviation ministry that trains pilots seeking to fly planes for missions and transports people and supplies to mission fields. The ministry was begun by Keith Hull (1931-1987) in Arizona but continues to flourish in Texas. According to ABHS secretary Verlyne Meck, many “old timers” at the annual meeting remembered when Hull began envisioning this ministry while attending Grand Canyon College.

New Life Pregnancy Centers was represented at the annual meeting by Rachel Ramey, assistant statewide director. The centers have been a ministry of the Arizona Baptist Children’s Services for 16 years, with 17 locations currently throughout the state.

While each location provides unique ministries and programs to its community, they share a common mission to provide hope and care to those facing pregnancy, planned or unplanned, through Christ-centered care. Attendees at the annual meeting were reminded that volunteers, ranging from church youth groups to senior adults, account for more than 90 percent of the workers at the centers.

ABHS recognized First Baptist Church, Congress, for its 50-year history. Pastor Gerald Lawton provided a devotional for the attendees and presented the church’s history, as compiled by John King. Alice Lawton led the worship time at the annual meeting.

Archivist Marjorie Kuban presented the Meritorious Service Award to Debra Wolfrey, director of education for the Valley Rim Association, and the Willis J. Ray Distinguished Service Award to Kathy Keller, AZSBC business administrator.

ABHS supports the Arizona Southern Baptist Historical Commission and encourages and equips churches to keep their histories as a valuable addition to the Arizona Southern Baptist legacy. For more information about ABHS, email president Les Jennings at lesbevescobita@outdrs.net.