Wake Forest 27587 Magazine

Summer 2018

The quarterly 27587 MAGAZINE is a must-read, in-you-hands publication that strives to give a deeper identity to rapidly growing Wake Forest, N.C. It highlights in-depth stories, targeting higher-income households.

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Page 38 of 76

38 Summer 2018 | Wake Forest 27587 Magazine T here was no mistaking its gran- deur a century ago, or any apolo- gies for that matter, with one writer proclaiming the domed neo-classical sanctuary "a bold stroke for a new day in Baptist architecture" that would "over- whelmingly impress every soul that passes into it." e Rev. Walter N. Johnson, then minis- ter at the circa 1915 Wake Forest Baptist Church, knew this would be an edifice for the ages. "He was quite a zealous pastor," said Doug Smith, seated in the century-old wooden pews of a church initially organized in 1835 at the urging of 17 teen-age boys enrolled at the predecessor of old Wake Forest College. ose pews, whose cracks speak to their long service, aren't exactly the same, surren- dering to a modern intrusion. "Straight line Baptists would probably frown on having cushion seats," he said with a smile. Yet it is Hallie Hearn — baptized here and a singer in its choir as a high school stu- dent from 1968-1972 — who had a ringside, or rather, loft-side view of life inside this ar- chitectural stand-out. Such was the case at a Christmas pageant, when she — seated on the edge of the choir loft — witnessed a boy with cotton wrist-cuffs on his robe catch fire from the candle he was carrying. "I said, 'Ben!'" she said of her shout-out to then music director Ben Johnson. "Michael's on fire!" "Seeing that from the choir loft … was quite an experience," she said. (e flames were quickly extinguished.) And, given the church's location atop the water table, the basement had a problematic recurrence of flooding, one nevertheless tak- en advantage of by some adventurous types. "e boys brought their canoes and pad- dled around the basement," she said. en as now, the stained-glass windows surrounding the domed, classically detailed interior auditorium take their inspiration from the Gospel of John: 15-5, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing." "e motif is a grapevine with various stages of ripening fruit," said Hearn, who it turns out has an ancestral connection to the church's first minister, Samuel Wait. PHOTOGRAPHS BY KATHRYN RENDE The entranceway to the church boldly proclaims, "HOUSE OF THE LORD." Hallie Hearn, a lifelong church member, is a descendant of its first minister, Samuel Wait. "He's my three-times great-grandfather," she said.

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