COVINGTON, Va. (VR) – On Sunday, May 28, Pat Scruggs opened the Memorial Day sermon by describing it as “threefold.” Threefold indeed.
The congregation honored fallen soldiers in song, beginning with “The Star-Spangled Banner” before moving on to the appropriate “If You’re Reading This” and “More Than a Name on a Wall.” They also joined together for a meal following a memorable note-burning ceremony.
The note-burning ceremony commemorated Solid Rock Ministries’ long-awaited debt of $75,000 being paid off. Back in 2008, a loan was taken out to renovate the church, located at 610 S. Alleghany Avenue in Covington, due to several years’ worth of deterioration on the building. Then, in August 2014 when pastor Pam Irvine became head of the church — a time when the church had a mere two members; three counting Irvine — the debt had only been knocked down by $10,000, leaving them $65,000 in debt. One might say Irvine was crazy to take on such a challenge, but her faith and purpose kept her going.
This past Sunday, Solid Rock Ministries had dozens of members and guests in attendance to observe the ceremony. Rhonda Hamilton held tight to a disposable metal pan as Linda Sartain struck a match, igniting the loan paper at the front of the sanctuary. Hamilton said afterward the money was tirelessly raised from hoagie sales, hot dog sales and rent collected from a small house nearby that is owned by the church.
Cheers immediately erupted as the note quite literally went up in flames. Melvin Snead took the metal pan as his wife, Laura, safely doused the fire with water from a bottle she grabbed beforehand.
Afterward, the congregation and guests made their way downstairs to enjoy several meal items generously provided by other members. This time of food and fellowship was their way of celebrating a well-earned victory; a celebration that does not rest alone in the burning of a loan note. Solid Rock Ministries may very well have been rejoicing over the fact that their three members had evolved into the very real struggle of finding a place to sit in the dining room.