Here’s some from today’s Harrison newspaper, by reporter Ginger Shiras.
BERRYVILLE – Nine years ago, First Baptist Church of Berryville splintered when the preacher closed the church’s day care center, saying God wanted mothers to stay home with their children.
The old church building got new life on Easter Sunday and day care is in its future.
Rev. Clyde Gray told a national television audience on ABC”s Good Morning America show April 6, 1997 that having a day care center in the church was “kind of like preaching against alcohol and having a bar in the back of the church.” He said a working mother violates scripture and may transfer her affections to her boss.
After Gray’s outburst, many members left and the church eventually closed, the property coming under the control of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. A new Baptist congregation that began in February has now struck a deal to buy it and name it First Baptist Church, in honor of the church building’s long history. A service was held there Easter Sunday, with a hundred people on hand.
Dr. Eric Spann, one of those in the founding congregation, told Shiras that a “mother’s day out” child care service was planned first and a day care center for working mothers was one of several items in the new church’s one-year plan.
He said Bro. Richard Hamlin of the sponsoring church had told the new church to “serve people where they are” and in 2006 nobody needed support more than young mothers in the workplace.