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Good preaching and good food at annual revival

The annual Friends & Family Weekend and Revival at First Baptist Church-West takes place Saturday through Aug. 6.

Programs include a ministry fair, dinner and concert on Saturday, followed by a Sunday worship service and weekday revivals and a lecture.

The week's events center on three noted ministers. Dr. Ronald Carter, the new president of Johnson C. Smith University, is scheduled to deliver Sunday's sermon.

The weekend kicks off Saturday with the ministry fair. The church's deacons, music department and other ministries will distribute information and answer questions at the Family Life Center. Dinner will be served from 2 to 5 p.m., and donations will be accepted.

A sunset concert in the sanctuary follows the fair. It features the Charlotte Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America and the First Baptist Church-West Mass Choir.

But the event's primary focus is ministry, with special attention on Carter's sermon at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

“Our Friends & Family event invited Dr. Carter because of the historical connection between Johnson C. Smith University and First Baptist Church-West,” said Dr. Ricky Woods, senior minister. “It's also a way of welcoming him to the community.”

First Baptist Church-West and JCSU, formerly Biddle Memorial Institute, both were founded in 1867, just two years after the Civil War ended. The school prepared ministers and teachers, among others, to serve African Americans during the Reconstruction era.

The church, Woods said, was a hub of secondary education and served as a feeder to JCSU.

Before coming to Charlotte, Carter was provost of Coker College and pastor of Lawson Grove Baptist Church, both in Hartsville, S.C.

Carter has a bachelor's degree in sociology and theology from Atlanta's Morehouse College. He earned a master's degree in theology and a Ph.D in religion philosophy from Boston University.

Dr. William Curtis is the nightly revival preacher Aug. 4-6.

Curtis is national president of the Hampton University Minister's Conference, one of the largest interdenominational associations of ministers and musicians. He also is pastor of the 7,500-member Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Dr. Brad Braxton will close out programs with a lecture at 11 a.m. Aug. 6. He will examine the traditional church and the emerging church in the 21st century, Woods said. The lecture is open to the public. An invitational luncheon is planned for area ministers at 12:30.

Braxton is associate professor of homiletics and New Testament at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville.

He previously taught at Wake Forest University Divinity School in Winston-Salem. He is the author of three books: “Preaching Paul,” “No Longer Slaves: Galatians and African American Experience” and “The Tyranny of Resolution: I Corinthians 7:17-24.”

Woods said the week's events are designed to encourage spiritual growth.

“Preaching at its best is meant to challenge as well as uplift or, if needed, tear down,” Woods said in a statement about the program.

“These are preachers guaranteed to challenge us, no matter where we are in our spiritual walk.”