Recently, Grambling’s New Rocky Valley Baptist Church celebrated 132 years of service. What mean “What Mean These Stones?” (from Joshua 4:17) was the theme for the anniversary service and time capsule dedication.
Rev. Oliver W. Billups Jr., pastor of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Monroe, was the guest speaker for the afternoon program.
Billups began by saying, “What meanest these stones?”
He explained that stones have been used as memorable markers.
“The greatest fear of anybody is being forgotten. Even the worst convict wants to be remembered.”
Twelve stones were used as a form of marking a spectaclar religious event in the times of biblical Israel. The stones were a memorial to the families and their children.
“The Jordan River was a strange place. The stones from the river are part of the history of God, and when travelers passed Jordan, they all knew the rocks were a testimony of God,” said Billups.
Then he talked about the history of what he called “this great church of God.”
“New Rocky Valley was born out of the providential will of God. There comes a time when events occur that marks a milestone in the lives of entities,” he said.
“We are here today to be reminded of the goodness and grace of God,” he said.
Billups said that sometimes we need to be reminded. “We have not survived, we have also thrived. It is fitting that we memorialize and reflect becasue we may never pass this way again,” he said.
“We must always have old memories and young hope.” Billups was saying we always need to remember where we came from and have great hope for our young ones because the children are our future.
He then talked about New Rocky Valley and its time capsule. The time capsule was a capsule held there for some time carrying all the history of the church inside it.
“The people of God have survived through the struggles and we are here today to be reminded of the Grace of God,” Billups said.
“It is fitting that we memorialize and reflect because we may never pass this way again. We need archives, time capsules and history markers.
Rocky Valley was organized by Rev. Amos Newly in 1876.
Rev. Julius Sumler, who was installed on August 28, 2002, is the pastor/teacher of New Rocky Valley.
He said, “Reverend Billups was a very powerful messenger, and I thought that it was great when he started talking about the theme of the celebration.”
He said, “The time capsule is designed to pass on the history to our children with pride.”
Gwen V. Duplantier, a choir member and church secretary at Grambling’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church, said she enjoyed the program.
“Rev. Billups is just awesome, a great speaker. I’m glad I came to be a part of this momentous occasion. I enjoyed the morning worship so much, that I decided to attend the afternoon service,” she said.
The Foundation Stone Honorees for 2008 were Williams Joseph Arrington, Laura Cowan, Betty Hawthorne, Mildred Moss, William Rutledge and Emma Wilson.