About Our Pulpit – The Work of Art
The Taos First Baptist Church has been located in the heart of Taos for over 80 years, and in 2016, local woodworker Jeffrey Hills completed a commissioned work for a new pulpit for the church.
Our preacher, Dr. Randy White, wanted a lectern that portrayed the beauty of Taos and was made by a local craftsman, so he contacted Jeffrey Hills, who has been designated with the title Living Master by the Taos Arts Council. Hills’ work is featured in his Santa Fe Gallery, and he has done commissioned work for clients all over the country.
Since Mr. Hills was a high school classmate, college study-mate and lifelong friend of Taos physician and humanitarian Dr. Larry Schreiber, the artist dedicated the work to Schreiber, who was deceased January 18, 2016, during the creation of the pulpit.
The design of the pulpit was inspired by Pastor White’s desire to exhibit local beauty in the furniture, which he hoped would be a legacy piece for the historic congregation. In consultation with the artist, they found the inspiration for the pulpit from Psalm 121:1, which says, “I will lift up my eyes to the Mountains, from where my help comes from.” In addition to this verse, the beautiful views north of Taos that look so stunning in the Fall, are depicted in the piece of furniture.
Hills used quarter sawn Sycamore to represent the beautiful fields; the Mountains are fabricated utilizing rusted tin from an abandoned Alaskan cannery, and lastly the sky as background in Five-A quality Quilted Big Leaf Maple. The sides, top and shelves are in Figured Walnut with the Speaker’s Pod in Figured Cherry and Walnut.
Hills overcame an engineering challenge so that the sides will move seasonally in a horizontal direction while the front will move vertically to account for the horizontal glue up. To accommodate this movement, the glue up sits on three polyurethane buttons and rides in a channel with the seasons.
The pulpit is finished in hand rubbed polyurethane, satin finish. This is a hard, durable finish requiring little maintenance.
The new pulpit was unveiled at a special ceremony during the morning service at Taos First Baptist Church on Sunday, March 6, at 10:45 AM.
About our Pulpit – the Work of Scripture
Pulpits came about in the history of the church as a means of hiding the preacher so that he did not distract from the preaching of the Word. In Baptist churches, they took “center stage” to give a visual reminder of the centrality of preaching in the church.
In 2 Timothy 4:2, the young pastor is commanded to, “preach the word, in season and out of season.” We take this command seriously at Taos First Baptist. We’re a church that comes together several times a week to hear the Word of God preached.
At Taos First Baptist, we believe that God gave the Bible in words and that God inspired each of those words. Because of this, our preaching focuses on the actual words of the Bible, being precise in the literal interpretation of those words. If the Bible says it, that settles it!
We could probably get a bigger crowd by teaching life-helps sermons filled with application, humor, and practical tools for living. While there is nothing wrong with such tools, we are convinced that these things are available in so many other venues, but the verse-by-verse (even word-by-word) proclamation of the Bible is only available in and through the church. We’ve chosen to make the pulpit the center of our church life, and to make it a work of art.
A Room of Beauty
Our church has a unique blessing of being located in one of the most attractive tourist areas of the country, and our building is just a few blocks from the historic Taos plaza. Each year, thousands of pedestrians from all around the world walk in front of our building, often stopping to take a picture.
The building was built almost 70 years ago, made of mud-plastered adobe, with beautiful spruce logs for vigas, giving a traditional Taos architecture for this historic place of worship. But, through the years, the church was often short on money, and there were times when it even considered closing its doors. The beautiful pecan wood floors have been covered in carpet. Pews were replaced with stackable chairs. The room has inadequate florescent tube lighting. In short, it’s time to not only renew the old beauty but make the building more beautiful than ever before.
What a witness we can have for the tourists who walk by and often enter to see what a Baptist place of worship in Taos, New Mexico looks like. With some effort, our place of worship can be a testimony to the power of the Gospel.
“I dream of the day that volunteers stand ready inside the open doors of our beautiful place of worship. These volunteers will give a warm welcome, a cup of hot coffee, and a simple gospel witness. The historic building already attracts so many lost people into our doors. A renovation and renewal of the building can turn the building into a Gospel-sharing tool.” –Dr. Randy White, Pastor
The vision for renewal calls for restoration of the pecan floors, the addition of new and comfortable pews that give a look of worship and beauty, and a complete remodel of the platform area, keeping the Pueblo look of the baptistery, making a rounded platform area, and adding stone to compliment the side walls of the front of the place of worship. Also included in the plans will be new lighting to improve our church’s broadcast ministry that reaches around the world.
The video of the dedication sermon is below.