Celebration Sunday has arrived for two Carson City Southern Baptist churches who have merged into one.
Capital Baptist Church and First Baptist Church have merged and will meet as Mountain Vista Baptist Church in its opening service on Sunday. Sunday school will be held at 9:30 a.m. and the service will begin at 10:45.
The merged church will continue to meet at the First Baptist Church site at 1750 Mountain. Capital Baptist Church Pastor Chase Ward will continue to serve as pastor at Mountain Vista Baptist Church.
“We’re going to be celebrating what God has done,” said Ward about Sunday’s service. “There will be aspects of the service that will look like every Sunday will.”
Ward described the merger as “kind of a marriage.” With that in mind, the church’s new congregation will recite vows covering what the church stands for.
Leadership for the merged church will also be introduced and a prayer ceremony will be held for the leadership as well.
The church’s sanctuary will also feature 250 chairs that will replace the pews that were 50 years old, some of which were becoming in disrepair.
Capital Baptist Church had an average Sunday attendance of about 110 while First Baptist had an average attendance of about 60, so the attendance at Mountain Vista should be about 170.
That was the average attendance when the churches had two combined services in June to prepare for the merger.
The formal process of the merger began when the two churches were approached with the idea in February. Ward and the Deacons from Capital Baptist met with First Baptist’s Pastoral Search Committee and the Elders for several months to map out the merger. First Baptist was also looking for a pastor at the time.
Three town hall meetings at each church were eventually held and the two churches voted on the merger June 20. In two separate meetings, 96 percent of those who voted at both churches voted in favor of the merger.
Along with the current sign at the corner of Bath and Mountain, there are plans for another sign to be placed on the south side of the property. Ward estimated the cost of the merger will be about $20,000.
Both churches were in solid financial shape and debt free. While no final decision has been made, Ward said the Capital Baptist property on Edmonds would be sold or rented.
“Neither church was struggling and neither church needed the other to survive,” Ward said.
Ward, 35, had been at Capital Baptist for almost three years. He has a bachelor’s in pastoral teaching from West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, California, and is working toward a master’s of divinity.
He and his wife, Gina, have five children — Chastity, Harmony, Evan, Zoey and Phoebe.
“Does this bring glory to God and how it furthers his Kingdom,” said Ward when describing the motivation for the merger. “That was the focus of the process. If we’re not doing that then what are we doing?”