Student ministries director returns to “Inspire youth for the next generation”

By Michele Dotson
Daniel Baird returns to Blair Road United Methodist Church as the Director of Student Ministries. Baird was raised in Mint Hill and grew up in the church he now serves.

Daniel Baird returns to Blair Road United Methodist Church as the Director of Student Ministries. Baird was raised in Mint Hill and grew up in the church he now serves.

Daniel Baird was hired in March as the new Director of Student Ministries at Blair Road United Methodist Church, but he’s no stranger to Mint Hill or the church located on Blair Road.

Baird was born in Long Island and raised in Mint Hill. He graduated from Butler High School and then went on to Appalachian State where he studied Business Management and minored in Recreation Management.

He was also an active member of Blair Road United Methodist Church, even completing his Eagle project at the church.

Baird was previously employed by the Boy Scouts as a District Executive in Boone for six years before transferring to Greensboro for the past year.

“I felt God calling me to youth ministry,” says Baird. “I was confident it would work out for me.” Continue reading

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Producer has Mint Hill roots

Free movie screening at Blair Road United Methodist

movieSeason of Miracles, the latest movie from Elevating Entertainment, has an official release date of October 1, but Blair Road United Methodist Church will host an early release screening of the new family friendly movie on September 13 at 7:00 pm. This is the third feature film produced by Mint Hill native Dave Moody and his son Josh.

Season of Miracles tells the story of the Robins, an underdog Little League team in the deep south who turn their season around when newcomer and autistic baseball savant, Rafer (Grayson Russell, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Talladega Nights) joins their team.  Continue reading

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Summer campers learn about newspapers

BRUMCThe Mint Hill Times visited Blair Road United Methodist Church’s summer camp Tuesday to talk about how a newspaper is made. The visit is part of the summer curriculum theme related to the businesses in the community. Each week BRUMC is featuring a different local Mint Hill company and inviting a representative from the company to come out and talk to the children about the their business.

 

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Blair Road United Methodist welcomes new associate pastor

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 7.21.24 PMBy Michele Dotson-Staff Writer

Pastor Innocent Justice is settling into his new role at Blair Road United Methodist Church. Justice comes to Mint Hill from Durham where he has just completed his Master’s in Divinity from Duke University.

Originally from Rwanda, Justice thinks his mother had high hopes of his future in the ministry by picking such a fitting name.

“My mother, who was a good Catholic, looked in the books of the Saints and she chose Innocent. Maybe she thought I was going to serve the Lord,” he says.

If there was any doubt that his first name might allude to his future calling, there is no question about his last name.

“In African culture, there are no such things as a family last name,” he explains. “So when I was born, I was given the last name Ndagijimana, which means ‘God is my Shepherd.’”

Justice fled the genocide in Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1994, only to be chased back into the country when the atrocities began in the refugee camps there. In 2001 he fled to South Africa with his wife and daughter and remained there until 2005.

“I came to the US with my wife and daughter to Kentucky,” says Justice. “We were sponsored there by Wesley United Methodist Church and I knew then that God had called me to the ministry.”

Justice completed his BA in Pastoral Ministry at John Wesley College, which is now Laurel University. In 2010 he applied and was admitted to Duke Divinity School. He served as Associate Student Pastor at Duke’s Chapel in Durham from July, 2010 to June 9, 2013.

2010 also marked another milestone for Justice and his family. They became US citizens.

“In Africa, wives don’t take the last name of their husbands. So when we came here, I would go to the school to pick up the children, they would ask if they were adopted since my wife, children, and I had different last names; it caused such confusion,” explained Justice.

So when they became citizens in 2010, they decided to choose a last name that was appropriate for them.

“Because of my passion for justice and reconciliation, I chose the last name “Justice.”

“We are happy in this country, but it was important to remember where we came from, so I did not lose my last name, Ndagijimana became my middle name.”

Upon completion of his degree at Duke, Justice began to look into positions at specific churches and started interviewing. Churches in need then submit their top two candidates to the Conference for approval. Even though he was from Durham, Justice is a member of the Western Conference.

“The Bishop and the Cabinet will sit together to pray and discern and decide which church needs who, with the gifts and Grace, as we call them, and they decide the appointments,” explains Justice.

“God wanted me to be here, and here I am,” he adds.

As associate pastor, Justice will assist Senior Pastor Lynn Upchurch in many ways.

“My responsibilities will involve teaching, preaching and pastoral care, and all the life of the church,” he says. He’s very excited about the possibilities at the church and is working now to get to know the congregation as well as prepare for his first sermon which will be July 21.

The family has grown since leaving Africa and now includes two more daughters.

“My wife Vicky, and daughters Divine, Deborah, and Dianna are really loving Mint Hill,” he says. “It is a wonderful place. I love Mint Hill because it’s a small town. It’s very calm. You can access everything and it’s not far from Charlotte. I can drive 20 minutes and I am in the big city, and then come back here to this safe sanctuary, so I love Mint Hill.”

 

 

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News Notes and Happenings

Homeowner Assistance
Bank of America is hosting a homeowner assistance event at the Charlotte Convention Center, 501 South College Street, from Tuesday January 29 to Thursday January 31, 8 am to 8 pm. Help with loan modification and short sales will be offered. Attendees must preregister at homeloanhelp.bankofamerica.com.

Police officers needed
The Town of Mint Hill is seeking qualified applicants for two police officer positions. Applicants must have an N.C. driver’s license, high school diploma or GED, and N.C. Basic Law Enforcement Training certification. Applicants must complete a pre-employment physical, drug screening, and psychological test. Applications may be obtained from Town Hall, 4430 Mint Hill Village Lane.╩

Valentine’s Date Night fundraiser
The Blair Road United Methodist Church Preschool and After-School are raising funds to provide a more secure enviornment for students and staff by hosting a Valentine’s Date Night. All childcare providers for date night have passed a criminal background check and are certified in CPR and First Aid. The date night will be February 9 from 5-8 pm. Children from birth to 5th grade may attend. One child is $20, two children are $30, and three children are $35 for all three hours. Children must be preregistered and must prepay by February 4th. All funds will support SOS (securing our school).

Polar Plunge and 5K
Queen’s Grant High School will be holding the 4th annual Polar Plunge and 5K February 23 to benefit the Special Olympics. “Freezin’ for a Reason” will begin with the 5K, with registration at 8:30 am, starting at 7319 Canterway Drive. A minimum donation of $25 is required to participate in the run. The Polar Plunge will take place at 11 am at Pine Lake Country Club on Lebanon Road.

Community Forum
The Town of Mint Hill is holding a community forum on the future of the Mint Hill Library. The forum will be at the library, 6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, February 7, from 3-5 pm. RSVP to 704-416-5200. For citizens who can’t make that time, other forum times and locations are: January 31, 6-8 pm, Beatties Ford Road Library, 2412 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte; February 5, 6-8 pm, North County Reg. Library, 16500 Holy Crest Lane, Huntersville; February 6, 5-7 pm, Steele Creek Library, 13620 Steele Creek Road, Charlotte.╩

Baseball fundraiser
The Independence baseball team is selling brick pavers that will fill the walkway surrounding the baseball facility, engraved with your or a loved one’s name. To customize and order a paver, visit http://independencebaseball.thatsmybrick.com

Caregiver seminar
A seven-session seminar series is being held at Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care, 13001 Idlewild Road, Matthews. The seminar, “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” will be Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30, through February 28, 2013. It is jointly conducted with Mario Romeo of Connect 2 Care Inc. and the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services. To register and for more information, call Mario Romeo at 704-258-1299.

Footloose the Musical
Independence High School’s Theater Department is presenting “Footloose the Musical” February 7-10. Performances are at 7 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and the Sunday matinee is at 2:30. Tickets are $7 and available at the door.

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