A new vocal recording by the Sam Baer family of the Victory Mountain Grace Brethren Chapel in Dryhill, Kentucky, presents purchasers with a great opportunity to help that church.
”Constantly Abiding: Hymns and Songs of Simple Faith” is the title of the album, which includes 14 songs. Vocals are by Sam, Betty, Sophia, and Sonya Baer. Piano accompaniment is by Betty Baer.
Repertoire ranges from old public-domain favorites such as “It Could Happen at Any Moment” to southern gospel songs by Mosie Lister and Ray Boltz to ”There is a Redeemer” by Keith Green. Included is a “bonus track” original composition by Sonya Baer entitled “Living for God’s Smile Alone.”
Victory Mountain Grace Brethren Chapel is nestled in the rural hills of southeastern Kentucky. Victory currently serves a congregation of 35 and provides a number of programs to meet their needs as well as those of the surrounding community.
In August of 1950, Evelyn Fuqua came to Dryhill, Kentucky. The Brethren Home Missions Council (now Grace Brethren North American Missions) helped Evelyn buy property for $500. A dedication ceremony was held on Oct. 4, 1953, for the newly-built church building.
Evelyn Fuqua started many ministries, including a Friday night boys club. She served until 1965, when Pastor Marvin and Dixie Lowery came to serve. The story of Evelyn Fuqua is available in Heroes Who Live On, Vol. 2, by Robert Cover, Sr. and Viki Rife, published by BMH Books.
The Lowerys served faithfully for 11 years. John and Jenny Sholley came in 1976 and served four years. John, a good doctrinal Bible teacher, created the “Brethren Bunch,” a traveling youth singing group. Pastor Sam and Betty Baer arrived March 15, 1979. The Baers have six children who helped extensively with the church work.
Bambie, their eldest, is married to Mark Getz. They have five children and currently live in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Sam, the second-born, is married to Jessica, and they live in Wheaton, Illinois. Mike, child number three, is married to Lisa. They have three children and live in Ohio where Mike works for Mike Cheeseman Builders. They attend Powell Grace Brethren Church.
Sophia and Sonya, fourth-born, are identical twins. Sophia lives in Dryhill with Sam and Betty, but leaves frequently for ministries in Michigan where she works with Hispanic migrant workers. Sonya is a graduate of Southland Bible Institute, currently training with New Tribes Mission. Caleb, the youngest of the children, is married to Jill and they live in Wheaton, Illinois, where Caleb owns a construction business.
Pastor Steve Makofka from the Centerville, Ohio, Grace Brethren Church, was executive producer for the album. He says, ”Few decisions are harder to make than the decision to discontinue funding for a church. GBNAM had already discontinued their financial support for Victory Mountain GBC and we were facing the same decision at the district level.
“The principles of good stewardship wouldn't allow us to continue using church-planting funds for a 50-year-old church, and we didn't have a mechanism for providing ongoing support to a mission church with special needs.
”Mark Saunders, pastor of First Grace Brethren Church of Dayton, and I went to Dryhill to discuss these things with the Baers. We loved them and loved their work. We realized it would always be dependent on others for financial support, but where would the money come from?
”We shared a pleasant morning of prayer and conversation, and then sat down with the Baer family for lunch. Before we ate, Sam asked if his family could sing the blessing for us, like they usually do. I remembered that years ago I had heard the girls sing, but that memory did not prepare me for the sheer joy of listening to God's name being praised by the strong, clear voices and simple mountain harmonies the Baer family lifted to God that day. As soon as they sang, ‘Amen,’ my mind started racing.
”‘Sam,’ I said, ‘You have to record this. People will want to hear it and you could sell the CD's to help raise funds for the ministry.’
”It’s taken about two years and lots of work, but I think the final product is well worth the effort. I think everybody in the entire FGBC family should purchase a copy. The musical style has the same feel as the Grammy-winning ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ soundtrack. The songs are both old and new. The production is elegant in its simplicity. The family's joy and the depth of their faith is unmistakable.
”I find that listening to the CD is soothing, inspiring, and uplifting, partially because the music is just plain good, and partially because I know the family, their faith, and their ministry. Anytime I can buy good music and support a cause at the same time, I'll do it. I encourage everyone I know to do the same.”
The CD is available for purchase by mail at $12 each plus $3 for shipping (total of $15). Make checks payable to Sam and Betty Baer and mail the checks and orders to Sam and Betty Baer, 9131 Dryhill Road, Hyden, KY 41749. The phone number is (606) 672-2520. E-mail inquiries to
. More information about the Baers and Victory Mountain Chapel is available at www.victorymountaingbc.com.