By Karen Vance
FORT MITCHELL - When Fort Mitchell Baptist Church marks its 80th anniversary this weekend, the members are doing more than just celebrating.
More than 50 members of the church, 2323 Dixie Highway, will participate in community service to celebrate the birthday.
"We're focusing on the theme, 'We Are God's Family.' We've been a part of the community family for 80 years, and a lot of what we do goes beyond our congregation," said Nancy Kinman of Fort Wright, a member for more than 30 years.
"We wanted to celebrate by doing a ministry outside of the four walls of our church."
The congregation will join millions of people nationwide in Make a Difference Day, a national day of volunteering. The observance is in its 14th year, with more than 3 million people volunteering last year.
Congregation members will work at Munro House, in Erlanger, a retirement home, doing yard work and interacting with residents.
David Stallard, of Edgewood, said the community-service gesture is just a continuation of the church's commitment to helping others.
"It's a family-oriented church. People are very supportive of each other and do a lot for each other in need," Stallard said. "People rally around and help, and when you're on the receiving end of that fellowship, it makes you want to give back."
Throughout the year, the church hosts a Men's Prayer Breakfast, reaching more than 100 men from 35 churches each week, and a Mother's Day Out, with about 85 toddlers and preschoolers from the church and community.
The church is also a host in the Interfaith Hospitality Network, serving homeless in Northern Kentucky.
The church is home to many multi-generational families despite a period of transition while it searches for a new pastor.
"We always have our eye on the future. We want to stay a vibrant, active part of the community," Kinman said of the 995-member congregation.
The church also will celebrate with a bake-off and gathering at 2 p.m. Saturday at Edgewood Senior Services Center, with guest speaker Bob Long, president of Baptist Life Communities.
Sunday, the church will host a social hour at 8:30 a.m., Bible Study at 9:30 a.m. and a service at 10:45 a.m., including guest speaker the Rev. C. Gilbert Tucker, the church's pastor from the 1970s and 1980s.
"We hope to continue to be a place where folks of many different backgrounds can come and feel at home," Stallard said.
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