Welcome!

First Baptist Church of Arlington is a church of faith where people can grow to their God given potential. If you are just now exploring the claims of Jesus Christ for the first time as an adult, or if you have been a personal Christian for years, it would be great to have you join us in our spiritual journey.

We are a group of people who are at different places in our spiritual walk discovering together what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century. Some of us are very traditional church folk. Some of us are postmodern. Some of us are young, some wish we were. We are shades of black, brown, and white.

We are a Baptist church because we believe in the centrality of the gospel, the importance of scripture, the necessity of personal faith, and the freedom that is found in Christ. Our faith has provided a place for us to stand in facing life, and we have found some meaningful answers. We also have many questions.

I'm so glad you're looking at our home on the web. If you'd like to know us better, come by on a Sunday morning for our worship service, or drop in at one of our group meetings or special events. Our worship service starts at 10 am.

I'll be here, and I look forward to meeting you.

Blessings,
Pastor Jon

PIPE ORGAN CONCERT

Greg Lowther will be playing the First Baptist pipe organ in a free concert this Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Mr. Lowther’s reputation as one of New England’s brightest young organists was established during his tenure as First Baptist’s organist. He was mentored at Gordon College by the church’s current organist, Dr. Roy Brunner. He will be joined in two of his numbers by pianist Mrs. Norma Brunner.

This concert is the inaugural one of his forthcoming American tour. Dr. Jon Dale Hevelone, pastor of the church since 2002, remarked: “Greg Lowther is a breath of fresh air among church and classical organists. Listening to him on our pipe organ is an incredible experience.”

This concert is free, open to everyone, and will be hold Sunday, August 30, at 3 p.m. in the First Baptist Church of Arlington sanctuary, 819 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington. Come and enjoy!

The Unintentional Racist

Most of the coffee mugs I drink from are personal. Whether they picture a Studebaker Hawk or New Orleans’ Cafe du Monde or a moose in Maine the cups say something about me. When I lived in the deep south I often drank my coffee from a mug emblazoned with the stars and bars — the old Confederate flag. I liked the mug because it somehow always appealed to that idealistic part of me which was, and is, a rebel. As a native (and naive?) midwesterner I somehow never associated the rebel flag with it’s deep roots in racism. That has changed since the terrorist massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

During the time our family lived in Louisiana, one of my daughters started dating Mark, a sociable, intelligent, and handsome young man. While I readily admit no one is good enough to date a daughter of mine, Mark came pretty close to my criteria. He was also black.

I was terrified. What was my daughter thinking? What were the dangers facing young teenagers dating across racial lines in the violent racial world of Dixie? And more terrifying still, I felt within my heart the passions of prejudice stirring, threatening the image I carried of myself as an accepting, color-blind Christian who accepted all people. My soul struggled. I, of all people, did not discriminate against black people. I, of all people, detested the young black teenager who had stolen my daughter’s heart. I sat at my desk engaging in deep soul searching. I drank lots of coffee, all from a mug covered with the rebel flag. Back then, it never crossed my mind that in many ways, I was an unintentional racist.

I believe many of us today are unintentional racists. Our ideals are good, but we slip up a bit in practice. We are unaware. We become blind to our prejudices and are quick to dismiss those twinges of superiority or fear or condescension or distancing as being normal, or a product of our culture, or as the way we were taught. Well, yes. This, however, does not make our actions right. I was wrong in my attitude toward Mark.

We are wrong today, no matter what color or ethnicity we wear, when we wear it pridefully as just a little bit better than others. When we are insensitive to a black person or dismissive of a white person because their skin doesn’t match ours we are unintentional racists. When we as a multicultural church sing just “white” hymns catering to nineteenth century tastes we are unintentional racists. When we pit a Scotch-Irish heritage against that of Italians or Brazilians we are unintentional racists. When we perpetuate jokes or make trite remarks about people who are different than us, we are unintentional racists — or unintentional sexists or unintentional homophobes.

When we as a nation, or as individuals, believe that removing the Confederate flag from view is enough change to atone for the murders of praying people in Charleston we are unintentional racists. It takes so much more. Christians believe it takes a cross. Following Jesus involves embracing that cross. Part of living Christianly is becoming aware of the unintentional sins that we harbor, and and then allowing God’s grace to remove and redeem. The best way I know to stop being an unintentional racist is to become more and more intentional in our faith and in our relationship with Jesus.

Going Home

The summer is here and many of us will be traveling to see family and friends.  Some of us will be going “home.”  That will be the case for me when I return to Louisiana for our family reunion.  Jon and I recently discussed that for many years when we had vacation we returned “home” to Louisiana or Kansas to visit with family members.  Only in the last few years have we found another vacation spot.  For us it is Winter Harbor, ME, where we rent a house near the ocean.  We like to get up early and watch the lobster boats come and go, pulling their pots and harvesting the vast amounts of lobster found in the cold waters of northern coastal Maine.  We call it our “happy place” but it is not “home.”

It seems to me that going “home” to Louisiana is bittersweet.  I love to go because I have family there.  I have happy memories of growing up there. We had a large extended family.  I always felt loved and cared for.  It was there that I learned of God’s great love for me, and there that I accepted Christ as my Savior.  There is a sadness there, too.  I grew up in a place where black people were discriminated against.  There were and are vast differences in income levels.  When I go to Louisiana I see beautiful plantation style homes on one block and literal shacks on the next.

This year the bittersweetness comes also from missing my beloved brother-in-law who has gone to be with the Lord.  How can I go to Louisiana and not see Joe?  He was married to my sister for over 50 years.  I was a bratty teenager when I met him, but he loved me anyway, and I loved him back.  It’s hard to go “home” and not have him tease me in his lovely southern drawl.

So I try to remember that Joe is the one who is really “home.”  Heaven is the ultimate home of all Christians.  He has joined those who came before us. As CS Lewis said the church of Jesus Christ has marched onward through the ages. I believe that Joe is a part of that grand parade.

Flowers will be blooming everywhere is Louisiana when I get there.  Crepe myrtles taller than houses will be in abundance.  That, too, will remind me of Joe, of how he loved flowers and tended them.  Surely heaven is full of flowers of every shape and color, rather like God’s people.  Perhaps Joe is happy caring for them in some heavenly garden.  I know he is okay but I’ll still be missing him until I join him in our ultimate, heavenly “home”!

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First Baptist Church
819 Mass Ave, Arlington, MA
781-643-3024

Sunday Schedule
Service: 10 am
Nursery provided!

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