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Glad Trio to perform at Rocky River
on February 28 for Gospel Sing!

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016 — Glad Trio, an all-female vocal group based in Whiteville, will perform a free concert on February 28 at Rocky River Baptist Church in Siler City.
    Over the past nine years, Glad Trio has become known for a style of music that breaks Christian music barriers.
    Donna Cartrette, who performs with Glenda Cable and Bobbie Jean Nance, says the trio's repertoire includes original music as well as new harmonies that put a fresh twist on well-known Christian songs. The group’s live performances blend songs with comedy and heartbreaking testimony to inspire audiences.
    “In 2011, we were blessed to record with Chapel Valley Studios and be produced by Shane Roark,” says Cartrette. “Our newest album, 'It’s About Time,' is on the Church House label and features original selections in the style of Christian country music.”
    Other albums include “Roots and Wings,” “Faith, Hope and Love,” and “Glad Trio Sings Hymns Classics to Modern.” Laura Davis, an original member who left the group two years ago, performs on the albums, which are available at gladtrio.com.
    The trio’s performance in Siler City is one of their first of the new year. Last fall, Glad Trio toured southeastern North Carolina with performances at a number of churches and special events, including the Cumberland County Fair in Fayetteville.
    Glad Trio performs as part of Gospel Sing!, an occasional Sunday night concert series sponsored by Rocky River Baptist Church. The free concert begins at 6 p.m. in the fellowship building, located behind the main building at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. A love offering will be taken to help cover the band's travel expenses.


The Churchmen bluegrass band
to lead worship on November 15

    Friday, October 23, 2015 — The Churchmen, a nationally-renowned bluegrass gospel group based in Virginia, will lead the Rocky River Baptist Church morning worship service on November 15. Please note that the service will begin at 10:30 a.m. instead of the usual 11 a.m.


The Churchmen bluegrass band
to lead worship on November 16

    Thursday, October 1, 2014 — The Churchmen, a nationally-renowned bluegrass gospel group based in Virginia, will lead the Rocky River Baptist Church morning worship service on November 16.


The Churchmen bluegrass band
to lead worship on November 17

    Thursday, November 7, 2013 — The Churchmen, a nationally-renowned bluegrass gospel group based in Virginia, will lead the Rocky River Baptist Church morning worship service on November 17.
    Twice nominated for a Dove Award, the most prestigious prize in gospel music, The Churchmen have received countless accolades since being formed more than two decades ago.
    The four-member ensemble has received multiple nominations for Bluegrass Gospel Group of the Year by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America and was recognized by Powergrassradio.com as its 2008 Bluegrass Group of the Year.
    Their most recent recording, "Mercy Road," is their first in more than five years. It was released earlier this year on Mountain Fever Records and has received extensive airplay on SiriusXM satellite radio.
    Keith Clark, a vocalist and acoustic bass player who helped form The Churchmen, says the group will bring a high-energy bluegrass gospel sound to lift everyone's spirit and worship the Lord.
   "We try to project that serving the Lord is the best thing that can happen to a person," Clark says. "We want our music to be a hard-driving, good bluegrass music that contains a relevant message about Christ. We believe that you can serve the Lord and have fun while doing it."
    Clark is joined by Gerald Harbour on vocals and mandolin, David Guthrie on vocals and guitar, and Carroll Arnn on banjo, guitar and fiddle. Jerry Haga works behind the scenes on sound.
    The Churchmen have been playing concerts close to home since returning from an August appearance in Northern Ireland, where they performed at the Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival. Other dates this fall are taking the group to North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and a number of venues around their home state.
    Some dates are traditional concerts in larger venues, rather than worship services. But worship provides a more-intimate atmosphere the band enjoys.
   "We love doing concerts and festivals, but you can never replace the feeling of a church service and the closeness that they provide," Clark explains. "We believe that church worship is the best way to enjoy music."
    Worship with The Churchmen begins at 11 a.m. and will be held in the new fellowship hall behind the main building at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. A love offering will be taken to help cover the band's travel expenses.
    Directions and information about the church are available at rockyriverbaptist.org. Regular announcements and breaking news are provided at Facebook.com/RockyRiverBaptist. The Churchmen maintain a website at thechurchmen.com.

 

Comedy takes center stage when
Barry McGee performs September 29

    Monday, September 23, 2013 — Comedy takes center stage this week when Barry McGee, an award-winning dramatic artist and musician, appears Sunday night at Rocky River Baptist Church.
    The September 29 performance begins at 6 p.m. Admission is free and a love offering will be accepted to help cover his expenses.
    McGee has shared the spotlight with some notable performers, including Lee Greenwood, Ricky Skaggs, Charlie Daniels and Aaron Neville, as he transforms himself into hilarious characters to share the gospel message with a song and a chuckle.
    During his distinguished career, McGee has been named Comedian of the Year three times by the Inspirational Country Music/Christian Country Music Association and was selected two years ago as the 2011 Comedian of the Year by the International Country Gospel Music Association.
    His ministry has taken him into NASCAR pits as a chaplain with Motor Racing Outreach, into prisons with Chuck Colson and the Prison Fellowship outreach and onto the small screen with a role in the 1998 TV movie, "Target Earth."
    McGee says he has been honored to bring joy and meaning to people within the walls of churches and well beyond -- often as part of his job, other times as a volunteer.
   "I have lived my dream," he says.

 

Sixth-annual Chicken Tender
Dinner and Auction set for May 18

   Wednesday, April 17, 2013 — Food and fun are the key ingredients for the sixth-annual Chicken Tender Dinner and Auction, a church fundraiser set for May 18 at Rocky River Baptist.
   Chicken tender dinners will be available for pickup or eat-in from 4 to 7 p.m. at the fellowship building, located behind the sanctuary at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road. Plates are $7 each and include dessert and beverage.
   Dinners also can be picked up at two locations in Siler City: Walmart on US 64 and Maxway on W. Raleigh Street.
   Money raised during the event helps retire the mortgage on the fellowship building, which is used for church and community events.
   For an event flyer, click here.

 

Deacon nominations being
accepted through April 30
   
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 — Members of Rocky River Baptist have the opportunity to recommend individuals to the Nominating Committee for consideration as deacon for the church year beginning in September.
   Please make this a matter of serious prayer and thought. Starting the first Sunday in April, recommendation forms will be available at the church and accepted through the month.
   According to the church by-laws, deacons must have been a member of the church for at least two years and be at least 21 years of age; men or women may serve.
    In addition to these requirements, please consider other characteristics and responsibilities when recommending someone to serve as a deacon:

Some Characteristics of Deacons
Suggested by the New Testament
(see Acts 6:1-8 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13)
   A person of integrity and “full of the Holy Spirit.”
   A person of wisdom and maturity.
   A person of strong and committed faith.
   A person who commands respect of others.
   Honest — always sincere and truthful.
   A person of right conduct — abstains from abusing substances, pornography and other immoral activity.
   Not greedy for money — above reproach in business and financial matters.
   A person who knows the basics of Christian teaching — one who can give a personal testimony of salvation in Christ.
   A person who demonstrates Christian fidelity in marriage and relationships. Single persons may serve and divorced persons are not excluded, though the circumstances of a divorce may indicate that someone is not spiritually mature enough to serve. A deacon is not neglectful or abusive of his or her family.

Responsibilities of the Deacon
   Deacons actively support the ministries of Christ through this church — with regular participation, prayer and giving — and are responsible for ministering to church families, especially those on his or her family ministry list.
    They also prepare and serve communion, and assist the pastor in providing direction and support to the church. According to the church by-laws, deacons function as the church's legal board of directors.



Fifth-annual Chicken Tender
Dinner and Auction set for May 19

   Saturday, April 14, 2012 — Food and fun are the key ingredients for the fifth-annual Chicken Tender Dinner and Auction, a church fundraiser set for May 19 at Rocky River Baptist.
   Chicken dinners will be available for $8 each, from 4 to 7 p.m., for take out or dining in the fellowship building, located behind the sanctuary at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road.
    Other pickup locations in Siler City are parking lots at Maxway and the old Chatham Motors.
   Dinners also will be available earlier in the day, from 11 to 2 p.m., at Milo Holt's Western Film Festival in downtown Siler City.

 

Renowned James King Band
headlines two free concerts in April

   Thursday, April 5, 2012 — The James King Band, an internationally renowned bluegrass group, headlines a pair of free concerts this month as part of the "third sundays @ rocky river" performance series.
   To accommodate their busy schedule, The James King Band will appear on April 22, the fourth Sunday of this month.
   One week earlier, on the traditional "third Sunday" date, The Craft Family, a men's quartet based in Lewisville, will perform a concert of traditional Southern gospel music.
   Both begin at 6 p.m. and are held at the Rocky River Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, located behind the main building on Siler City-Snow Camp Road.
   The James King Band rose to prominence in 1997, when the group was named Emerging Artist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
   Two years later, they received even more acclaim when their song, "Bed By the Window," was nominated as the IBMA Song of the Year. The gripping, bittersweet song about a man in a nursing home with a vivid imagination appeared as its album's title track.
   King, who also plays guitar and performs vocals with the Longview Bluegrass Band, is a featured performer on a number of solo and group albums dating back to the mid 1980s. His most recent, Gardens In the Sky, is his first exclusively gospel-oriented bluegrass collection and was released in 2008 by Rounder Records.
   The band also features Clay Lillard on banjo, Donald Dowdy on mandolin and vocals and Eddie Biggerstaff on upright bass and vocals.
   When they take the stage at Rocky River Baptist Church, the James King Band will mix gospel tunes with some of their light bluegrass classics, including "Bed By the Window."
   King and the band appear at Rocky River after a three-week, western tour that included performances in eight states. Among other locales, the band played venues in Fort Worth, Texas; Denver, Colo.; and San Francisco, Calif.
   This month's concert will be the second time The James King Band has performed at Rocky River. The group is returning after an enthusiastic response last summer. "This was a very memorable church because of its friendly reception by the congregation and also from the spirit itself within the building," says King. "Pastor Burriss has done a fine job introducing us and has a fine church, indeed."
   The Craft Family, which appears the week before James King, has been performing traditional Southern gospel for nearly 57 years — and the group truly is a family. Brothers Ed, Raymond, John and James Craft have comprised the group from its genesis and they're thrilled to be performing together still.
   "Were all more than senior citizens, that's for sure," says John. "We just enjoy what we do and it's been an amazing journey."
   There is no admission fee for either concert, though love offerings will be collected to help cover the bands' expenses. The James King Band will have CDs on sale.
   Directions and information about the church are available at rockyriverbaptist.org and more about The James King Band is available at thejameskingband.com. Regular announcements and breaking news about the "third sundays" series are provided at Facebook.com/RockyRiverBaptist.



The Cook Family sings free
gospel concert on February 19

   Wednesday, January 25, 2012 — The Cook Family, a Southern gospel group based in Denton, will perform a free public concert on February 19 as part of the "third sundays @ rocky river" series.
   Sponsored by Rocky River Baptist Church, the series brings musicians and other family-oriented entertainment to western Chatham, usually on the third Sunday of every month. The Cook Family concert begins at 6 p.m. in the church fellowship building.
   The Cook Family was created four decades ago by Lawrence Cook. Children and spouses jumped into the group over the years, as the family expanded, and a few others joined as well.
   Doug and Stacey Stuart were adopted into the ensemble last summer after attending a concert and feeling called to expand from their bluegrass repertoire into Southern gospel. Both now perform with The Cook Family and their bluegrass group, Coyote Ridge.
   "That night, we talked after the service and shared each other's leadings," Doug recalls. "We all realized the possibilities and left it as a matter of prayer. Later that week, we met and prayed, asking for God's will and everyone felt peace. Our prayer was answered and so was theirs!"
   The group now includes James Cook on guitar; Lonnie Cook on drums; Ronnie Cook on bass and vocals; Tony Cook on lead guitar; Doug Stuart on piano, guitar and vocals; and Otha Cook, Gina Cook and Stacey Stuart on vocals.
   Others get their turns in the spotlight. Tonya Cook joins the band for one song on vocals — along with son, Daniel, on drums. Candice Cook performs vocals on another number.
   With nearly a dozen members taking the stage at some point during the evening, The Cook Family brings plenty of talent to audiences throughout Virginia and the Carolinas. Doug says the group travels throughout the region most weekends with as many as five families packed onto the bus.
   "In all my years of traveling and playing music," he says, "this is the most enjoyable group I have ever had the privilege to travel with."
   The Cook Family concert will be held in the Rocky River Baptist Church fellowship building, located behind the main facility at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. A love offering will be taken to help cover the band's travel expenses and CDs will be on sale.
   More-intimate concerts like these are what motivate the band to keep music flowing. "Unlike some other groups out there, we're not about making a name for ourselves," he says. "Our prayer is that we are used to minister through our music and testimony — and that souls will be saved."



Former Rocky River Pastor
Charles Rutt passes away

   Sunday, January 15, 2012 —The Rev. Charles Edward (Chuck) Rutt Sr., a longtime resident of Durham, died Friday afternoon at Hock Family Pavilion following several months of declining health.
   Chuck was born in Columbia, Pa., the son of the late Grace Hensel Rutt and the late John Mark Rutt Sr. He was a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy. Chuck served as pastor of several churches in North and South Carolina, including Rocky River Baptist Church in Siler City and Rose of Sharon Baptist Church and North Durham Baptist Church, both in Durham.
   Surviving are his wife, Linda Brantley Rutt; three sons, Charles Edward "Les" Rutt Jr. of Leland, Timothy Wade Rutt (Lorraine) and John Richard Rutt, both of Durham; two grandchildren, Erick Edward Wade Rutt and Abigail Elizabeth Rutt; three sisters, Grace Rutt Steinbrecher (Rolin) of Holliston, Mass., Anna M. "Amy" Rutt Yeatts (John) of Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Kathleen Rutt Neuman (Ed) of York, Pa.; and two brothers, John Mark Rutt Jr. of Harrisburg, Pa., and William Albert Rutt of Bonita Springs, Fla.
   A funeral service will be conducted on Monday at 2 p.m. at Clements Funeral Home Chapel by the Rev. Dr. John Yeatts. Following the service, Chuck will be cremated and his ashes will be interred with military honors at the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery in Spring Lake at a later date.
   The family will receive friends at Clements Funeral Home on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. Friends may also pay their respects at Clements Funeral Home any time Sunday afternoon or online at clementsfuneralservice.com
   In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to Hock Family Pavilion (Hospice), 4023 N. Roxboro Road, Durham, NC, 27704 or to North Durham Baptist Church, 6036 Guess Road, Durham, NC, 27712.



Baptist Children's Home
set for 3sun in January

   Tuesday, January 10, 2012 — Performers from the Baptist Children's Home in Thomasville provide an evening of music and testimony when "third sundays @ rocky river" kicks off the new year.
   The presentation is set for January 15 at 6 p.m. and continues Rocky River Baptist Church's recent focus on the home and its ministry.
   The "3sun" series brings free entertainment with a message to western Chatham. Guests often include musical groups; recent performances have included Blender, The Churchmen, New Direction, The Carolinians and The James King Band, an internationally renowned bluegrass group.
   Next month, 3sun welcomes The Cook Family, a Southern Gospel group based in Denton. The ensemble performing locally on February 19 was started more than four decades ago and now features Otha and James Cook; Lonnie, Gina and Candice Cook; Ronnie, Tonya and Daniel Cook; Tony and Amanda Cook; and Doug and Stacey Stuart.
    Rocky River Baptist Church meets at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. Directions and information about the church are available at rockyriverbaptist.org.



CHRISTMAS 2011:
Event and ministry roundup

   November 30, 2011 — Several special activities and ministry opportunities are planned for Christmas. Dates and deadlines are listed in the church calendar, but here's a quick summary:
   Poinsettia Tree. Our traditional poinsettia tree will return for worship services on Dec. 18 and 25. Plants are $8.50 each and orders are due Sunday, Dec. 11. Order forms are available here.
   Salvation Army Coat, Shoe and Toy Drive. The church will be participating this year in the Salvation Army Coat, Shoe and Toy Drive. Donations of new and unwrapped toys, shoes or coats (for adults or children) may be dropped off in the old fellowship hall through Sunday, Dec. 11. Monetary contributions may be left in the offering plate (please use an envelope marked "Toy Drive").
   Caroling for Shut-Ins. Everyone is invited to join a group from Rocky River to spread Christmas blessings to shut-ins throughout our community. The evening begins on Sunday, Dec. 11, with refreshments at 5 p.m. in the new fellowship building and continues with groups leaving at 5:45 p.m. for caroling.
   An Evening of Christmas Music. A special concert of Christmas music featuring the Handbells and other special performances will be held in the sanctuary on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m.
   Christmas Cantata. The Adult Choir will lead worship with a Christmas cantata on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 11 a.m.
   Children's Christmas Program. Rocky River's children will present their annual Christmas program in the new fellowship building on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. The play will be followed by gift giving and a visit from someone special.
   Christmas Day Worship with the Handbells. The Handbells will lead our Christmas Day worship service on Sunday, Dec. 25, at 11 a.m. There will be no Sunday School.


The Churchmen bluegrass band
to lead worship on November 20

   Thursday, November 3, 2011 — The Churchmen, a nationally-renowned bluegrass gospel group based in Virginia, will lead the Rocky River Baptist Church morning worship service on November 20.
   Twice nominated for a Dove Award, the most prestigious prize in gospel music, The Churchmen have received countless accolades since being formed more than two decades ago.
   The five-member ensemble has received multiple nominations for Bluegrass Gospel Group of the Year by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America, a nomination they received again just this year. The Churchmen also were recognized by Powergrassradio.com as its 2008 Bluegrass Group of the Year.
   Keith Clark, a vocalist and acoustic bass player who helped form The Churchmen, says the group will bring a high-energy bluegrass gospel sound to lift everyone's spirit and worship the Lord.
   "We try to project that serving the Lord is the best thing that can happen to a person," Clark says. "We want our music to be a hard-driving, good bluegrass music that contains a relevant message about Christ. We believe that you can serve the Lord and have fun while we're doing it."
   Clark is joined by vocalist and banjo player Freddy Rakes, another original band member, as well as Gerald Harbour on vocals and mandolin, Glenn Waller on vocals and guitar, and Rick Keen on dobro.
   The Churchmen have been on a whirlwind tour this fall, playing a number of venues in Florida, Ohio, Virginia and New York since the beginning of October. Many dates are traditional concerts in larger venues, rather than worship services, but worship provides a more-intimate atmosphere the band enjoys.
   "We love doing concerts and festivals, but you can never replace the feeling of a church service and the closeness that they provide," Clark explains. "We believe that church worship is the best way to enjoy music."
   Worship with The Churchmen begins at 11 a.m. and will be held in the new fellowship hall behind the main building at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. A love offering will be taken to help cover the band's travel expenses.


Blender with guest Angelynn Fox
to play free concert on October 16

   Monday, October 3, 2011 — Blender, the popular local band featuring Chad Gaines, will play a free gospel concert on October 16 as part of the "third sundays @ rocky river" performance series.
   All concerts in the series begin at 6 p.m. at the Rocky River Baptist Church Fellowship Building, located behind the main facility on Siler City-Snow Camp Road. Casual attire is welcome.
   The band performs a wide range of contemporary styles and is particularly noted for its "old time rock and roll." This month's gospel concert features special guest vocalist Angelynn Fox and includes a mixture of contemporary and traditional songs.
   Gaines, who performs vocals and plays the bass guitar, says the group will share testimonies and stories about the numbers and how they have shaped their faith.
   "We share a passion for music and a love for the Lord," Gaines says. "Music has given us many avenues in which to share our faith, but it is such a treat to return to our local churches to worship with family and friends.
   "It's always a pleasure to give back to our community that has supported us so faithfully in all our musical endeavors..
   Those endeavors recently included a performance at Liberty Showcase and one show taped by UNC-TV, the state's public television network.
   Blender also features Joey Walden on keyboards, the Rev. Brad Gaines on percussion and Frante Matthews on drums. All members also contribute lead and harmony vocals.
   More information about Blender is available at Facebook.com/OTRNR.
   Rocky River Baptist Church meets at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. Directions and information about the church are available at rockyriverbaptist.org.


Eddie Hill bluegrass band
appearing August 21 at 3Sun

   Monday, August 15, 2011 — Eddie Hill and The Gospel Travelers, a bluegrass band based in Staley, will play a free public concert on August 21 as part of the "third sundays @ rocky river" performance series.
   All concerts in the series begin at 6 p.m. and are held at the Rocky River Baptist Church Fellowship Building, located behind the main facility on Siler City-Snow Camp Road. Casual attire is welcome.
   The "third sundays" series brings free live entertainment — often musical groups — to the area. Recent performances have included New Direction, The Carolinians and The James King Band, an internationally renowned bluegrass group.
    Rocky River Baptist Church meets at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. Directions and information about the church are available at rockyriverbaptist.org.


Internationally acclaimed bluegrass
band to play 3Sun on June 12

   Wednesday, June 1, 2011 — The James King Band, an internationally renowned bluegrass group, will play a free public concert on June 12 in Siler City as part of the "third sundays @ rocky river" performance series.
   All concerts in the series begin at 6 p.m. and are held at the Rocky River Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, located behind the main building on Siler City-Snow Camp Road.
   The James King Band rose to prominence in 1997, when the group was named Emerging Artist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
   Two years later, they received even more acclaim when their song, "Bed By the Window," was nominated as the IBMA Song of the Year. The gripping, bittersweet song about a man in a nursing home with a vivid imagination appeared as its album's title track.
   King, who also plays guitar and performs vocals with the Longview Bluegrass Band, is a featured performer on a number of solo and group albums dating back to the mid 1980s. His most recent, The Bluegrass Storyteller, was a solo effort produced by the Rounder label in 2005, and he currently is headed back to the studio to record another release for Rounder.
   The band also features Jesse Smathers on mandolin and vocals, Clay Lillard on banjo and Wade Cox on bass and vocals.
   When they take the stage at Rocky River Baptist Church, the James King Band will mix gospel tunes with some of their light bluegrass classics, including "Bed By the Window."
   Despite playing large music festivals and major venues this year from Miami, Fla., to Arizona and Upstate New York, along teh Canadian border, King says he enjoys the smaller, more intimate venues because they take him back to when he first began singing — in church as a teenager.
   Pastor Greg Burriss says he was thrilled that The James King Band would come down from its base in Danville, Va., to entertain and encourage the local audience.
   "You don't get many chances locally to hear a group as well respected as The James King Band," Burriss says. "We definitely appreciate him coming and know everyone will enjoy the performance and will be uplifted by the message."
   There is no admission fee, though a love offering will be collected to help cover the band's expenses. CDs will be on sale.
   Rocky River Baptist Church meets at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. Directions and information about the church are available at rockyriverbaptist.org.


New Direction bluegrass
to play 3sun on May 15
   Saturday, May 7, 2011 — New Direction, a bluegrass band featuring musicians from Siler City, Liberty and Durham, will play a free public concert on May 15 as part of the "third sundays @ rocky river" performance series.
   All concerts in the series begin at 6 p.m. and are held at the Rocky River Baptist Church Fellowship Building, located behind the main facility on Siler City-Snow Camp Road. Casual attire is welcome.
   Charity Gales, who lives in Liberty and plays bass, says the band was formed as a creative outlet for the musicians and as a ministry to serve others.
   "It's our goal to play and sing music that reflects what God has done in our lives through his grace and mercy," she says. "We hope those who hear our songs will be uplifted and encouraged in their faith."
   Others in the quartet include Bobby Gales, Charity's husband, on banjo; Billy Mickle of Durham on guitar; and Greg Burriss of Siler City on mandolin.
   All members of the group contribute vocals.
   Because of their emphasis on ministry, New Direction can usually be found playing church events — whether it's a worship service, homecoming or some special program. But their bookings include community venues, as well.
   Greg Burriss, the newest member of the group and whose "day job" happens to be pastor of Rocky River Baptist Church, looks forward to playing for the local audience.
   "We've always had a great reception here and I'm sure it's not only because people feel like the great reception is some sort of requirement," says Burriss, joking because Charity and Bobby Gales also are involved in the church. "Really, it's because bluegrass is such a joyful form of music. People enjoy the instrumentals and appreciate the message, too."
   Rocky River's "third sundays" concert series continues next month — albeit on the second Sunday, not the third — when legendary bluegrass vocalist James King performs a free concert on June 12.
   Rocky River Baptist Church meets at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. Directions and information about the church are available at rockyriverbaptist.org.


The Carolinians quartet
to play 3sun on April 17

  Wednesday, April 6, 2011 — The Carolinians, a Southern gospel quartet with roots in the area, will play a free public concert on Apr. 17 as part of the "third sundays @ rocky river" performance series.
   All concerts in the series begin at 6 p.m. and are held at the Rocky River Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, located behind the main building on Siler City-Snow Camp Road.
   With its genesis in the late 1940s, The Carolinians is one of the oldest names in gospel music. Danny Spivey, who sings first tenor, says the group has a special appeal to audiences who relate important milestones in life to the old hymns.
   At the same time, the group has appealed to new audiences. Spivey says The Carolinians change some lyrics and make other adaptations to appeal to younger listeners.
   Veteran baritone Vernon Trogdon, who sang with The Carolinians in the 1960s, says many young people are amazed to hear a gospel group perform with live musicians only — with no soundtrack.
   In addition to Spivey and Trogdon, The Carolinians include second tenor Sam Kiser, bass Leonard Hatcher and pianist Wayne McDowell.
   Late last year, the group released its latest CD, "Back to the Basics," and has several concerts scheduled throughout central North Carolina this year. Dates this spring include performances in Fayetteville, Asheboro, Denton and Siler City.
   Pastor Greg Burriss says "third sundays" had been on a hiatus, but has returned as a way to bring people throughout the community together.
   "People in our congregation enjoy live performances with an uplifting message and they wanted to welcome groups like The Carolinians," Burriss says. "At the same time, this isn't just about our church, but the church throughout the entire community.
   "This is a good time for people to get together in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy some good music and fellowship."
   Rocky River Baptist Church meets at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. Directions and information about the church are available at rockyriverbaptist.org.


Drive-through Easter pageant
returns to Rocky River Baptist

   Tuesday, April 5, 2011 — "The Death and Resurrection of Christ," an annual drive-through Easter pageant, returns to Rocky River Baptist Church this year for one performance only.
   Scheduled for Saturday, April 23, the pageant depicts scenes from the last days of Jesus' life, including the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and his crucifixion and resurrection one week later.
   The performance runs from 8:30 to 10 p.m. and is suitable for all ages. Cars entering the church driveway will be directed through the presentation.
   While the church usually offers two weekend performances of the pageant, Pastor Greg Burriss says some scheduling complications made it necessary to offer just one performance this year.
   With The Carolinians playing a Southern gospel concert at Rocky River Baptist the Sunday night before, an Easter Egg Hunt set for the morning of the pageant and two special services on Easter morning, one night seemed like the best option.
   "Every year, we hear how much people appreciate the chance to ride through the pageant and remember Jesus' sacrifice," says Burriss, "And our church really enjoys doing this for the community — especially given the large turnout we have every single year.
   "We just hope everyone will take some time that Saturday night to drive through. It doesn't take long, and it can have a memorable impact during this important time of year."
    Rocky River Baptist Church meets at 4436 Siler City-Snow Camp Road, about three miles north of Siler City. Directions and information about the church are available at rockyriverbaptist.org.

  
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  by rocky river baptist church
4436 siler city-snow camp road • siler city• nc • 27344
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