By Katie Fallon
Local public servants will soon get a special ‘thank you’ from what may be an unexpected source.
On Sept. 9, the First Baptist Church of Sandy Springs will honor all public safety personnel and government officials by including a special celebration in its 10:30 a.m. worship service. The church, located at 650 Mt. Vernon Hwy NE, will recognize and pay special tribute to the mayor, city officials and members of the police and fire departments in addition to local state and federal government officials.
Dr. Terry Quick, head pastor at the church, said the second annual ceremony grew out of the congregation’s commemoration in 2002 of the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“We felt an intense need to do something to express our grief and to pray for the families of the victims,” Quick said. “We also felt the need to pray for our nation and leaders leading us in the public arena, especially those men and women who put themselves in harm’s way such as our military, police and fire departments.”
Quick said that after Sandy Springs became a city in December of 2005, it only seemed natural to begin a localized celebration of public servants now that the city had its own representatives. He said having the celebration during the actual worship service, which will be followed by a lunch, gives both the public servants and their families a chance to receive the well wishes from the church community.
“What we are saying in these meetings is that as people of faith, we desire to add value to our community in some tangible, outward way,” Quick said. “For us, we wanted our Sunday service to say thank you to the people who do any type of public service. We found last year that the families of the officers and city employees really benefited from hearing us say ‘thank you’ to their whole family for the sometimes dangerous work their spouses, fathers and mothers do for us.”
The pastor said that although politicians will be attending the meeting, there is no underlying agenda and none will be making speeches, although Mayor Eva Galambos will give a brief welcome. He said the service will include special musical tributes, including one musical performance by fire department personnel. Last year, in fact, the celebration included a song performed by district 3 councilman Rusty Paul.
Quick, who will be leading the service, said he recognizes that people who would not normally attend services at the Baptist church would be doing so that Sunday. Accordingly, he will alter sermon from his normal Sunday service.
“My remarks are words of encouragement and are sensitive to those of other faiths,” Quick said.
The church is expecting 23 officials and their family members to attend the celebration and because of the popularity of the event last year, the church has added the lunch so attendees can stay and talk to the special guests after the service.
Quick said the celebration has really grown out of a general civic-minded attitude the church has taken towards public safety and military personnel.
“We have decided to express our faith in outward ways,” he said. “We feel that to really get the word of hope and encouragement out into the streets, we must do more things like this to show that we care instead of just talking about it.”
For more information or direction to First Baptist Church of Springs, call 404-257-1143 or visit www.fbcsandysprings.org.