At Oak Lawn Community Baptist Church, we support people as they seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are an American Baptist Church in partnerships with American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island and American Baptist Churches, USA. We are ecumenically minded and seek opportunities for worship and service with other community churches.
Our church welcomes diverse families. We provide for Christian Education (Sunday School) for school aged children, as well as a nursery for pre-school children during worship services.
A very important part of our worship at Oak Lawn Community Baptist Church is our music program. We have been blessed with a strong music ministry consisting of a Sanctuary Choir, Hand bell Choir, two organists, and many musically talented members who readily share their gifts during the worship services throughout the year.
At the conclusion of worship every Sunday all are invited to the fellowship hall to join in conversation and refreshments.
Oak Lawn Community Baptist Church is located at 229 Wilbur Avenue in Cranston. We warmly invite you to worship with us on a Sunday morning at 9:30 am. Until then, may our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ richly bless you!
One of the roles I have played, as an American Baptist Clergywoman is to serve on the Executive Board of the Rhode Island Ministers Council. I began my service among my colleagues by becoming the Program Co-coordinator- the one who sets up regular gatherings of local clergy fostering collegiality, continued education, and pastoral effectiveness. Next, I was elected to a four-year position as the Rhode Island Ministers Council representative to the National Ministers Council. I also served on the Standing Committee for Ordained Ministry when I held those positions. My last and perhaps final role on the Ministers Council was as Retreat Co-coordinator, who is the person who puts together our annual overnight retreat on Block Island.
This year I was able to obtain Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson, Executive Director of the Ministers Council, ABC, USA to be our retreat facilitator. Rev. Jackson based the retreat on her newly published book, Spiritual Practices for Effective Leadership. The book addresses the fact that ministry leaders often find themselves exhausted and disillusioned by the challenges of leadership and must learn to practice spiritual self-care if they want to be pastors that last.
Dr. Jackson has observed that the stresses of leadership and the challenges it brings may so overwhelm some pastors that they become physically unwell. Dr. Jackson draws upon the work of Ronald Heifetz who suggests that leaders in general need a strategy for deploying and restoring their spiritual resources; a practice he calls creating sanctuary. For Heifetz, sanctuary is the mental or physical haven to which one can intentionally retreat to create space for reflection and renewal. Sanctuary is a safe place removed from the demands of leadership and, so sheltered, offers the opportunity to gain perspective in the face of leadership challenges.
As far as I am concerned, finding sanctuary is something we all need. Who among us has not felt burnt -out, depressed, or stagnant at times? LIFE is difficult and we all need to gain perspective and to be restored spiritually every now and then. But how does one create sanctuary for oneself? Looking to Jesus can help us gain insight.
In the Synoptic Gospels we can observe Jesus keeping Sabbath as one who was faithful to God’s law. But Jesus, not only kept the Sabbath, He demonstrated the idea of a daily Sabbath, where time apart was intentionally sought and regularly observed during the course of the day and night. In Mark 1, on the day following the Sabbath, Jesus retreated very early in the morning while it was still dark to a deserted place where he prayed (Mark 1:35). In Mark 6:46, Jesus left the crowds after feeding them late at night, seeking time apart for prayer in the mountains. Jesus modeled for us the necessity of taking time apart as an important means of self-care in the midst of life’s demands.
The practice of retreating became a means for Jesus to be sustained and refreshed in the midst of caring for others. If Jesus had to practice self-care in His life and ministry, how much more do we?
As we approach the end of a very busy church year, and the beginning of the warmth and relaxation of summer, perhaps we could all benefit by the practice of creating more sanctuary in our lives as Jesus did. After all, wasn’t it Jesus who said, ““Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Happy retreating to you in the summer days to come!