Posts Tagged ‘ Will of God Ministries ’

Will of God Ministries – Visited on 11/13

This week Churchspotting returns to the center of Clover, SC, within sight of the American Thread warehouse discussed in our October 30th article, First Freewill Baptist Church of Clover (http://wp.me/p1JM4Z-4g).  Will of God Ministries stands just behind the American Thread lot, a long brick shoebox of a church crowned with a white steeple.  The building itself is old, raised in the 1930s and rebuilt in the 1980s, but Will of God Ministries is a seven year old church settled upon those elder bones.

Services at Will of God Ministries begin at 10 AM sharp each Sunday.  The congregation gathers in the church’s sanctuary, a long, low, whitewashed hall set with double columns of wide wooden pews.  The ceiling gleams with brass electric chandeliers, and the walls to either side are striped with tall, narrow banks of green-tinted glass windows.

The congregation arrives in their Sunday best, but Will of God is no staid, traditional service.  Behind the broad wooden pulpit stand a keyboard and full drum set, and modern music forms an integral part of the worship service.  Come ten o’clock about twenty adults and ten children arrived to worship, with a few more trickling in over the course of what turned out to be a two-hour religious service.

To open the service the congregation’s children hustled to the front as the music swelled.  They gathered double-handfuls of colorful flags which they handed out to the rest of the congregation, who sung and swayed along with the music while their banners.  That morning’s service boasted several musical performances, most performed by the musicians and a singer or two from the congregation, one by four of the church’s children.

Between the music sets volunteers from the congregation, called ‘evangelists’, read scripture; Kaja Raymond, young son of the church’s pastors, conducted a small sermon for the church’s children; and, of course, the patriarch Clyde Raymond took the pulpit and delivered his sermon.

Clyde and Yvonne Raymond worked as a team in that morning’s service.  While Clyde delivered his sermon, preaching that the congregation must “go forth” and use their relationship with God in the world, Yvonne led the congregation’s responses—clapping and calling ‘amen’ in counterpoint to her husband’s speech.

After the sermon the church took communion, passing out thimbles of wine and wafers; offered its tithes for the week; and a volunteer gave final announcements on current events at Will of God Ministries.  As the sanctuary’s double doors swung open and the congregation started filing out into the overcast, November noon, I took a seat in the front row to ask some questions of Rev. Raymond.

Clyde and Yvonne Raymond are an older couple and longtime ministers.  Mr. Raymond was ordained as a minister some twenty-five years ago, and came to Clover seven years ago after ministering for eleven and a half years in nearby Rock Hill.  The church he and his wife operate is non-denominational.  “The only thing,” Mr. Raymond said, “we’re teaching here is the word of God.”  The only requirements for membership in Will of God Ministries is that the worshipper be ‘born again’, which Mr. Raymond defined as believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Will of God Ministries operates several charitable causes in its neighborhood—they pay power and water bills for needy members of their congregation, provide an open closet of donated clothing, and offer food, all free of charge.  They also provide after-school care administered by certified teachers from Clover School District, similarly free of charge.

On the matter of Church and State, Rev. Raymond said that he believed “every elected member up there ought to be saved.”  Though he preferred to avoid politics, he did say that he believed “other cultures came in and took over our culture, and it’s causing calamity.”