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For the moment, an office building on Main Street in Vergennes, Vt., is empty, dusty and floored in tattered old carpet.
BSC photo by Mike Creswell
Brandon Mendez, left, and Brett Cody are partnering on a new church plant in Vergennes, Vt. Mendez is from the Canton, N.C., area. Cody is a Texas native who served as pastor of Newton Grove Baptist Church in Newton Grove, N.C., before heading to Whiting Community Church, where he serves as pastor.
But the two men showing it off are happy about it: Some time in 2018 – maybe by Easter – this rented space will become home for a new church.
Brett Cody is pastor of Whiting Community Church in Whiting, Vt. Brandon Mendez, newly arrived from the Canton, N.C., area is associate pastor, but his main assignment will be launching the new church. Vergennes is about a 30-minute drive from Whiting.
Cody is a Texas native but he also has a North Carolina past. After getting an undergraduate degree in music in Texas, he moved to North Carolina in 2001 to attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He met his future wife, Sabrina, there. After the two of them graduated in 2006, he started his first pastorate at Newton Grove Baptist Church in Newton Grove, N.C.
A vision-focused missions trip to Quebec got Cody wondering about planting a church, but his prayers were answered with no; stay in the pastorate.
But three-and-a-half years ago – when word came about a pastorate in Vermont where new churches were desperately needed – a new call clicked.
The Whiting church has just 62 members, but Cody told them, “If I’m your pastor, we will be a Great Commission, gospel-centered church. We want to be a church planting church.”
Mendez is serving a residency program with the Whiting church as members adjust to him and Mendez adjusts to life in Vermont. Mendez most recently served as youth pastor of Crestview Baptist Church in Canton, N.C., and he served six years as pastor of Old River Baptist Church in Bethel, N.C.
A missions vision trip to Vermont led by Lyandon Warren led to a call to serve there. Mendez said he was praying some of his Crestview youth would answer a call to missions, but “God said, ‘What about you? Are you willing to go to Vermont?’”
The Whiting church is studying how to best support the new church plant, but plans call for some of their members to become members – at least temporarily – of the new church in Vergennes, a gutsy commitment for a 62-member congregation.
Another building in a nearby town was originally chosen, but that possibility went away, so the Vergennes location was selected.
As the two men look at their new but worn building, they agree that teams of volunteers from North Carolina will again be needed. But they’re already seeing that new church, plus others around the county.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Vermont is a unique mission field, but North Carolina Baptists are helping increase the gospel influence in this New England state. Visit BRnow.org for more stories and look for stories in our Biblical Recorder print edition.)