The Rev. Raymond Smith recently celebrated his fourth anniversary leading the congregation at Broadway Baptist Church in Winchester.
For Smith, pastoring a church and having the opportunity to share the word of God with the community is important. He said being engaged in initiatives that allow him to pray, share and counsel people in Winchester is a blessing.
Smith said one of the things he loves most is how the community has embraced him.
“I’m in Winchester seven days a week just at different times and I’ve met several different people who have shown me the love of Winchester,” he said. “One of the beauties with Winchester is it’s large enough to be able to get stuff done but small enough to maintain that small touch and get to know people.”
Winchester Living talked with Smith about why he loves Winchester.
WL: Besides pastoring Broadway Baptist, in what other ways are you involved in the community?
RS: I also serve on the chamber board. One of the first people I met when I came here was Cindy Banks, who is the executive director. After spending an amount of time being involved, our church is a member of the chamber, I then became a board member.
I’m also a board member at Clark Regional Medical Center, and that has given me the opportunity to meet and get to know people on that front as well.
WL: Where is your favorite place to go in Winchester?
RS: I love people and I want to get to know people, so when I first came to Winchester instead of just coming to my office I would go to different spots in
Winchester and just hang out. I started
off going to the Cairn, so I went there daily and spent hours.
By doing that, I got a chance to meet a lot of individuals in the downtown district. I went from the Cairn to Frisch’s and did the same thing, did the same thing at Gaunce’s and did the same thing at McDonalds.
I would go up to the manager and introduce myself as a new pastor in town and let them know they would probably see me hanging out here for a while. I would go in literally every day and spend three or four hours in there. By doing that I got the chance to really meet and know the community.
One of the things we’ve been very blessed with at Broadway is that we’re an integrated congregation. A lot of the members here now came from me meeting them at a lot of these different spots, so it has allowed us the opportunity to share the love of Christ with one another.
WL: What is your favorite season in Winchester?
RS: I think the Good Friday time is probably my favorite season, the resurrection, with what I do is a very special time to me.
On Good Friday the ministerial association literally carries a cross down Main Street. You go to another city and see if that kind of thing happens. They actually carry a cross simulating what Jesus went through going to Calvary.
The first time I saw that I was actually preaching that Good Friday service, and when I saw them actually carrying that cross, and saw the rotation of individuals carrying it because the cross was so heavy, I was ready to preach on Main Street when I saw that. How moving it was for me to see different denominations, different ethnicities coming together to celebrate that day. It was beautiful.
So when it comes to favorite time, Resurrection Sunday is my favorite day.
WL: What is the spirit of the people of Winchester like?
RS: There is a loving spirit here. One of the things I was a part of early on and one of the things that is great here is the ministerial association.
Seeing the different denominations come together is a great reminder that we are one. This past year we did the Thanksgiving service with First Baptist and Dr. Marvin King. It just shows that we may have our differences but we are all one under the Lord.
People have been very caring and loving and sharing here and I am very grateful for that. You know, people don’t have to be kind, and they sure don’t have to be kind to you. I’m just so grateful the community has loved on me, and I love being here. That’s why I’m here every day. §