By Richard Rourk
After more than a year of searching, an Erwin landmark found its pastor.
Ninth Street Baptist Church officially named Carl Connelly as its senior pastor in January.
“You have to spend some time in prayer. Here is how things work. The night the committee contacted me about wanting to come hear me preach, we were heading to bed early because Linda (Connelly) was having back surgery the next morning,” Carl said. “It was just God’s providence. We were thinking about her and not thinking about anything else, so we actually had to delay at first and in fact when the committee came to hear me preach, it was her first Sunday back in church.”
According to Linda, it was as if God was saying stand back and watch.
“It’s like God said watch what is about to happen,” Linda said.
For the Connellys, the people of Unicoi County have been very welcoming.
“Everybody just showed us love,” Carl said. “We have been here since the 5th of January, but we feel like we have been here for a long time. We are originally from Nashville. We moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina, and we were there for 14 years prior to moving to Erwin.
Before moving to Erwin, Carl worked for the Lord in a different capacity.
“I worked at a company in Asheville as a CFO, but was called back to become a pastor,” Carl said. “I had a ministry for more than 25 years helping pastors with taxes.”
According to Carl, the family has settled into Unicoi County nicely.
“We loved this area; we both enjoy the mountains,” he said. “This is right where we need to be.”
For Linda, the opportunity to serve the Lord and the community has been a blessing.
“I love working with Carl and his ministry and feel God’s calling to be a part of that,” she said.
The Connellys have hit the ground running.
“We are sponsoring the Kid’s Beach Club at Love Chapel Elementary,” Carl said. “It is an afterschool event and a great public outreach; we are seeing great things from that.”
At Ninth Street Baptist Church, reaching out to the youth is important.
“We have a shuttle for youth that wish to attend our services,” Carl said. “This goes for the youth and anyone needing a ride to church – all they have to do is call our offices here and we go out and pick them up.”
Ninth Street Baptist Church currently offers Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sundays. There are also Wednesday night services that begin at 6:30 p.m.
If you are interested in joining Ninth Street Baptist, come to any service. If you are interested in keeping up with what is going on at Ninth Street, follow them on Facebook or at ninthstreetbaptist.org.