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ECMS students form Christian Club to address problems

By By Lori Dann
Like many people, Matthew Baisden has been concerned about the escalating violence in schools across the country.
As an eighth-grader at Escambia County Middle School, Baisden has a vested interest in the safety issue. But it wasn't just his own safety that concerned him. It was the overall direction schools were headed.
So Baisden decided to do something about it. He talked to ECMS counselor Wallace Nesmith and principal Herbert Payne. He called state officials and county officials and got the advice of a local minister. Finally, when all parties had approved it, Baisden started the first ECMS Christian Club with the help of classmate Hannah Metts.
The club was part of a calling for Baisden, who said he was awakened from sleep back in August 1998 and called upon to try to make a difference. Since then, Baisden has preached two services at Cross Point Baptist Church, where the Rev. J.T. Guyton has helped him get his start in the ministry.
Baisden said he hopes to open more eyes to God through the Christian Club. And he's off to a good start. After just two days, the club had signed up more than 50 people. The membership is now about 70 strong.
The recently elected officers and board members are excited about the new club.
Board member Ryan Malone said that's a new experience for some club members, who aren't able to go to church on a regular basis.
Because of the religious nature of the club, meetings must be held before or after school hours, and no school system employees can serve as sponsors. Elder Willie Williams of Jones St. Holiness Church is serving as the group's advisor and recently met with the officers to discuss the club's objectives.
Baisden said the group will hold fund-raisers and meet monthly. The first meeting is scheduled for Monday.
The meetings will include scripture lessons as well as special guests including area singers and ministers who will share their testimonies. Anyone wishing to speak to the club or make a donation is asked to contact the school.