Music, scripture, and welcoming words were part of the opening ceremonies for the Original West Texas Baptist Association. Photo by Loretta Fulton

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Abilene is honored this week to have the Original West Texas Baptist District Association observing its 115th year of existence at the Abilene Convention Center.

Celebrating 104 years alongside the OWT is the Original West Texas Baptist Congress of Christian Education. Opening ceremonies were held Monday night at New Fellowship Baptist Church, pastored by the Rev. J.W. Webbs.

“We are glad that you are here!” Demotis Sherman, emcee, said to the large crowd. “Amen!”

A spirited version of “This Little Light of Mine” got the crowd going, followed by musical selections from the Zone One Mass Choir, scripture readings, and words of welcome.

“Come on and put your hands together,” the song leader urged, and everyone obliged.

Among the welcomers to the Baptist gathering was a Methodist, the Rev. Iziar Lankford, pastor of Southwest Drive Community United Methodist Church. Lankford welcomed the gathering on behalf of the Greater Abilene Ministers Alliance.

“We can come together as one,” Lankford said, “because God only sees one.”

Lankford was the first of three speakers to give his phone number out just in case visitors need assistance while visiting Abilene The other two were Mayor Anthony Williams and Police Chief Stan Standridge.

While Lankford and Williams gave their personal cell phone numbers, Standridge had a surprise.

“On behalf of every peace officer, welcome to Abilene,” Standridge said. “My phone number is 911.”

The convention runs through Friday, with programs, classes, worship, and fellowship offered each day.



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