Last year, more than 800 attended the church’s Saturday presentation, while another 1,000-plus saw the Sunday show of “Down from His Glory: The Story of Christmas.”
The church’s performance of the musical was recorded on CD and featured with the musical package sold by Lillenas Publishing Company of Kansas City, Mo. It won a Dove Award as the Christian Musical of the Year and sold more than 40,000 copies, considered a tremendous feat in Christian music sales.
“This year, we’re doing another show by the same creator, Mike Speck,” said Bryant Turner, minister of music and administration.
“Christmas is Jesus” will be presented at 7 p.m. on Dec. 8-9 at the church’s Christian Life Center. It will be performed by the church’s 125-member adult choir, with about 70 members of the children’s choir participating in one song.
“Sometimes I think our world would like to hide the true meaning of this blessed Holy Day, to somehow remove Jesus from Christmas and redirect the focus toward a non-religious, all-inclusive, non-offensive event,” Turner said. “But in these troubled times, people need to know the truth of Christmas and the reason for celebration.”
He said the word Christmas means so many different things to many different people.
“For some of us, it’s remembering a trip to the woods to cut down a cedar tree, then to watch Dad try unsuccessfully to get it into the house,” Turner said. “For others, it’s stringing popcorn and hanging tinsel, or putting up lights, to find that only half of them work.”
He said there’s also the fun of singing Christmas carols together and baking cookies, to be eaten and eaten some more.
“To children, it’s about Santa Claus coming in the night, while they are pretending to be asleep,” he said. “Or, it’s about going to grandma’s or some other family member’s home for a massive meal. It’s about spending time with Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins and giving and receiving presents.”
Turner said while all those things are good for wonderful moments of memory of the Christmas season, it’s good to be reminded that all those blessings are only “by-products” of what Christmas is really about.
“The meaning of Christmas is simple,” he said. “My friends, Christmas is Jesus. Christmas is his birthday. It’s the day we celebrate the birth of the savior of the world. We must never forget to teach our children and our children’s children why there is a Christmas. It’s not about you or me. It’s about Him.”
Speck, creator of the musical, is an ordained minister and former pastor. He served as minister of music for the late Dr. Jerry Falwell and began writing and arranging music for church choirs. He and his wife, Faye, have arranged and compiled 23 choral books.
Speck is a friend of Turner and the two worked together on the musical CD recorded at the church, with orchestration by Larry Goss.
See Christmas/ page B2
The church will also have a children’s musical, “Miracle on Main Street,” on Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. and Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.
“Miracle” was created by Celeste Clydesdale and arranger David T. Clydesdale. It blends new songs with traditional carols to chronicle the dilemma of a group of children who want to celebrate Christmas in public, but face opposition from the politically correct local townsfolk. Despite the challenges, the children stand up for their beliefs and proclaim their faith.
Turner is a native of Heflin, Ala., but moved to Bowdon when he was in the eighth grade. He earned his bachelor of music degree at University of West Georgia. He began his ministry at the age of 15 at Liberty Hill Church, from 1989-1991, and part-time at New Vision Baptist Church from 1991-1995. He came to Roopville Road Baptist Church in 1995.
Roopville Road Baptist Church was established in 1978, with its first building being a two-story, 40-by-90-foot structure. A new fellowship hall was soon built on the south side of the church and an 8,000-square-foot educational wing was added in the early 1990s.
The church is on Highway 27, just north of Roopville. The church has more than 1,100 members, having grown from 55 charter members.
The Christian Life Center, where the musicals are performed, was built in the late 1990s. It has approximately 32,000 square feet of space. A new fellowship hall was added in 2000 and recently, a gymnasium with a full-size basketball and volleyball court, exercise facilities and an indoor walking track.
The church’s phone number is 770-854-8824 and its website is www.roopvilleroad.org.