‘A welcoming sense of community’

CHARLES TOWN – A multi-generational community of believers, Charles Town Baptist Church seeks to bring people from all walks of life into a stronger and more meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ.
“We try to simplify faith. There is an awful lot of religious rules in the world,” Pastor Brian Hotaling said. “I think there is a lot of dogma and there is a lot of guilt, fear and shame with traditional religion.”

Leaders at Charles Town Baptist Church believe that all are called to reach, teach, love and serve for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Hotaling said he doesn’t believe this represents the true message of the Gospels. “I think the Bible is about grace, love and freedom — freedom to be who you are. That’s what Jesus did. He talked to the most hard cases and outcasts of societies, the lepers and the prostitutes, the down-and-outers and the tax collectors and he always showed love and acceptance for who they were. If I’m not mistaken, Jesus was called a friend to sinners. When we get into modern, contemporary, traditional religion, there is a lot of guilt and finger-pointing and a lot of ‘us versus them’ and a lot of ‘those other kind of people.’ I don’t think it’s right or Biblical.”
A retired first sergeant Army Ranger, Hotaling has served the Charles Town congregation for three years. He holds a master’s degree in divinity from Luther Rice University in Atlanta and a master’s degree in arts and religion from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. He is a doctoral candidate at Luther Rice University.
Hotaling sees the church as a source of support for the community.
“People from all walks of life come here and feel at home. There is a sense of invitation, a sense that people are wanted, that we care about you. You can choose to fit in here if you want to and find people to connect with,” Hotaling said. “We try to do quality in the things that we do. We’re not going to be the right church for everybody, but the things that we do, we try to do with excellence, quality and with a lot of passion.”
Hotaling has a message for the community.
“Regardless of what part of life you are in, what station in life your in, what ups and downs you go through, there’s hope, there’s peace, there’s grace. I think the world we live in wants to beat people down. We don’t have to be ruled by the bad things in life. I found, through the gospel, that those things do not determine a person’s worth or value. I have found peace and hope and others can find that, too,” Hotaling said. “Our doors are always open to anybody who would choose to be a part of us.”
Sunday services are held at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Sunday school begins at 9:45 a.m.
For questions about Charles Town Baptist Church, call the church office at 304-728-6434.

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