Submitted photo/Howard Buchanan Dowagiac Mayor Don Lyons presented Second Baptist Church Pastor Gene Staples and his wife, Kelly, with a key to the city Sunday during the pinnacle of his installation service.

Archived Story

Pastor receives key to city

Published 5:02pm Tuesday, June 12, 2012

During the pinnacle of the installation service Sunday, Mayor Don Lyons awarded Dowagiac’s Second Baptist Church Pastor Gene Staples the key to the city.

The installation celebration began Thursday evening, welcoming several local religious leaders from the community. In numbers reaching more than 150 people each night for Thursday and Friday’s services, Sunday’s events gathered more than 250 residents, local pastors and city officials, all there to welcome Staples to Dowagiac with open arms.

“It was an emotional time,” Staples said in an interview Tuesday. “That the city sees enough potential in our relationship to award that makes me and my family feel truly apart of the community.”

According to Staples, Sunday’s service saw diversity of a different magnitude, uniting the community of Dowagiac in a way he hopes to continue.

“It wasn’t just different denominations, it was males and females, black and white, a real representation of the community,” Staples said.

Along with the presentation of the key to the city, Staples also received a proclamation and, in an act of spontaneity, the mayor’s city lapel pin.

“He (the mayor) said during the presentation, ‘this isn’t just the key to the city; it’s the key to our hearts,’” Staples said. “It shows how over the last 91 days how closely we’ve grown; how closely knitted we’ve become to the community.”

Though the installation weekend ended, Staples is committed to extending his community involvement. With future projects geared toward Dowagiac’s youth and adults, Staples will focus on making sure the church deals with “the total man.”

“Though spiritual is the first focus, I’m talking about emotional, physical, social needs,” Staples said.

With the beginning of Youth Camp Talent Explosion 2012 (YCTE) quickly approaching June 23, Staples and his congregation are taking the church into the community instead of hoping new members will come to them.

“We’ll have a booth and games at the Family Outreach event Saturday (June 16),” Staples said. “We want to help develop people in this community.”

By working with Dowagiac’s organizations, city government and schools, Staples and Second Baptist plan to approach community issues together.

“We can do far more collectively than we can a part,” Staples said.

For more information on YCTE 2012 or how to volunteer or sponsor, contact Second Baptist Church at (269) 782-6197.

By using this website’s user-contribution features, including comments, photo galleries, or any other feature, you agree to abide by the terms of use. Please read this agreement in its entirety because it contains useful information that will help you better understand the rules and general "good manners" that are expected when contributing content to this website.

Editor's Picks