A pastor at one of Durham’s large Baptist churches marked a unique anniversary in a unique way on a recent Saturday.
The Rev. Brian Barndt, 47, executive pastor at Grey Stone Baptist Church, 2601 Hillsborough Road, swam in the Mission Man Triathlon at Lake Cammack Par & Marina in Burlington to mark the 10-year anniversary of his life-saving heart transplant on July 25, 2005, at Duke Medical Center.
He swam on behalf of the church’s Second Mile Ministry, which has been providing financial and food assistance to people of Durham for 20 years. This ministry along with a coalition of three other Durham churches has begun a new initiative to help feed displaced high school students at Riverside High called “Community Backpack.” The other churches are Greater Orange Grove Baptist Church and Aldersgate United Methodist Church and Bethany United Methodist Church.
The pastor has been swimming as an “elite transplant athlete” since he woke up 10 years ago and heard the words, “Your new heart is in and pumping.”
He has won more than 20 medals in the U.S. and in World Transplant Games, as well as accomplished several “extreme swims.” He twice completed the 1.5 mile swim in the San Francisco Bay at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon as well as the 2.4 mile swim in the Beach2Battleship Triathlon in Wilmington.
After the Saturday race, he said things went well, and he came in fifth out of 15 church relays.
“We just missed out winning funds for our ministry,” he said. “Yet we were not disappointed at all. I felt good through the swim and only had some difficulty seeing clearly as I was swimming into the sun. Lake Cammack was terrific and the Lord provided ideal weather conditions.
“While I’ve completed numerous similar swims in the last 10 years, this race was particularly meaningful,” he said. “It was great having the best of both worlds in one day, my heart transplant success and my ministry.”
He said the best moment for him came when he got out of the water and started running to the transition area.
“My older daughter, Laura, 18, cheered me on and ran with me. That was awesome and a memory I will always embrace. There is such satisfaction to have marked my 10-year anniversary on a high note, especially with a faster swim than I did in 2011.”
Brian and his wife, Caroline, have been married for 22 years and also have a younger daughter, Rachel, 14. He has been at Grey Stone for four years.
Now that the mix of elation, pride and excitement tinged with sadness that erupted in June when Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina was elected presiding bishop of the national church, diocesan leaders are getting on with business.
Suffragen Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple has been appointed to serve as bishop pro tem. She will assume those duties after the resignation of Bishop Curry and serve until the consecration of a new diocesan bishop.
Hodges-Copple had been rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Hillandale Road for seven years when she was elected bishop suffragen in 2013.
Bishop Curry, the first African-American to be elected presiding bishop, will assume his new role on Nov. 1, when his consecration is set to take place in the Washington National Cathedral.
Bishop Hodges-Copple will become the ecclesiastical authority or “chief executive and pastoral officer” on that date and will continue in this position through the search for a new diocesan bishop, a process that typically takes 18 to 24 months.
“This is an extension of my call as bishop suffragan as outlined in the canons,” said Bishop Hodges-Copple. “I’m honored and excited to take on these responsibilities during this time of transition.”
A clothing give-away sponsored by the Daughters of Calvary at First Calvary Baptist Church is set from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at 1004 Cornell St.
Clean and gently used clothes will be available for adults as well as children and everything is free.
Kyles Temple AME Zion Church, 409 Dunston St., will celebrate its 86th year during Homecoming 2015 on Sunday. The theme is “Building Our Church with Family and Friends.”
The Rev. James A. Woods, one of the church’s native sons, will speak at the 10 a.m. service, and a picnic lunch will be served immediately after the service.
The church, led by the Rev. Anthony E. Ford, has invited families and friends to dress in casual, picnic attire to attend this day of worship, fellowship and food.
A souvenir booklet to honor individuals who are past and present members and friends of the church is being published.
Durham County Library is starting its own English language classes this fall and is now recruiting volunteers to lead these classes.
As a volunteer, individuals will get to help newcomers develop language skills to navigate their new community. Volunteers will get to meet people from around the world, coming from Central and South America, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Teaching experience and knowledge of a foreign language are not required. Tutor training will take place Aug. 24, 26 and 29. All three training sessions are required.
Inquire at your local Durham library for more information.
New clergy lunch
Durham Congregation in Action is hosting a New Clergy Welcome Lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 25, in the Soul Cafe at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church, 504 W. Chapel Hill St.
All clergy members new to the area in the past two years are invited to lunch. This is an opportunity to get to know new clergy and to get better acquainted with the old.
RSVP by calling 919-688-2036 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Flo Johnston at email@example.com or call 910-361-4135.