Sunday marks Rowland’s final service at Bovina
Published 9:42 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Time spent in Vicksburg has been a blessing for the Rev. Chas Rowland.
For nearly six years, he has been the pastor at the Bovina Baptist Church and on Sunday, he will preach his final sermon.
Rowland is moving back home to Florida.
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“I have accepted a call down there and we are moving back home,” Rowland said.
Although the move will allow Rowland to be closer to his family, the move will be bittersweet.
“Vicksburg is a special place. It became home very quickly for us. We have enjoyed the people, the history and the community. It has been sweet,” he said.
“It is going to be sad to leave it because everyone seems connected and it is a really comfortable home for us and that is going to be something we are going to miss,” Rowland said, “and the church is ridiculously awesome. The church is wonderful and we are going to miss everyone terribly.”
Rowland became the pastor at Bovina Baptist Church, in 2011, and although he says both his parents and his wife’s parents live in Florida and that it will be nice to be closer since they are aging that is not the reason he is moving.
“I would not go to Florida if it had not been absolutely clear that this is what God wanted me to do because, there is no part of me that wants to leave Bovina Baptist Church and there is no part of me that wants to leave Vicksburg. It is purely a call from God and that He has made it clear that this is what I need to do. That’s the only reason I am going,” Rowland said.
During Rowland’s tenure at the church, one of the ministries he is most proud of, and that has also touched his heart, is an outreach program started at nearby Bovina Elementary School.
“We started a Good News program that meets there one afternoon a week during the school year,” he said.
The program, which is free and offered during after school care is much like a Vacation Bible School. Children have the opportunity to sing, make crafts and have Bible lessons, Rowland said.
About 15 volunteers from the church help lead the program, and it has exploded with around 80 students attending, he said.
“The program has been great and has been one of the more fruitful things I have ever been a part of in ministry. It is just wonderful.”
Rowland experienced the fruits of the program the other day in Walmart he said.
“The other day I was walking through Walmart getting packing supplies for the move and a kid from the Good News Club, who does not even belong to the church, came running across the aisle. He saw me, and came running up and gave me a hug and said, ‘I heard you were leaving,’ and then said some really sweet things. It was just cool, because if it had been one of the kids at my church it would have been one thing, but this kid was not even in our church,” Rowland said.
The Bovina Baptist Church has not only made a difference in this child’s life, it has also left an indelible mark on Rowland’s.
“I love this church. I think it is one of the most special churches anywhere in the state of Mississippi, and it has been an absolute honor to have been the pastor for these years.”