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It was in July 1959, thirty-eight years ago, when God sent the eighth pastor of this great church to lead His people to work and build a greater Kingdom for Christ.
Dr. Ward was a graduate of Morehouse College and received his Divinity Degree from Howard University. Dr. Ward's leadership qualities made him a definite functioning part of the Raleigh community, the State and many National Baptist and general organizations.
Dr. Charles W. Ward was an active pastor, a decision maker and committed to the religious development throughout the church. He was president of the Raleigh Ministerial Association, member of the Executive Board of Lott Carey, assistnt secretary of the General Baptist Convention of North Carolina, member of the Foreigh Mission Board, chairman of the Executive Board of the Raleigh Chapter of NAACP, just to name a few of his many, many accomplishments.
I believe we dedicate this Chapel today because of his guidance that started in 1959 with the repairs to the church steeple, entrance to the balcony, roof on the Bullock Building and the new heating system that was installed. Those were the beginnings of the many challenges that he worked for with the membership of this church.
It was always Dr. Ward's dream that First Baptist Church be the leader in bringing souls to Christ, being involved with the community and caring for each other.
Dr. Charles Ward was truely a common man, who walked among kings. He never once backed away from the opportunity to help others in need, be it a spiritual need, need for food, trouble in school, parents needing a job, people in jail or just those mistreated individuals that did not have a voice. You could rest assured, Dr. Charles W. Ward would be there.
Dr. Ward did not go the the mayor's office of Raleigh, the mayor came to First Baptist. Politicians dared not run for public office without talking to Dr. Ward regardless of the level, be it City, State or Federal. They all wanted his vlessing and the support of First Baptist Church.
Someone once said, and I quote "It is not titles that reflect honor on men, but men on their titles." Dr. Ward was that kind of man.
This Chapel is but a small reflection of that giant man, who cast his shadow on the history and direction of this church for years to come.
I remember being with Dr. Ward the day before he left us and we talked as he often did about the future. He quoted Holmes to me and said, "I find the great things in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving, rememver, that the church must move in God's direction."
Dr. Ward was very proud of First Baptist direction, the dedication of this entire Bullock Building in October 1995, and those committee member who worked long and hard with him. This dedication of the Chapel is for Dr. Ward, but I know he would say: "Thank you, Johnnie Burke, Mildred Chavis, Nora Lockhart, Sylvester White, Richard Wimberley, Jr., W.W. Hurdle, thank God for all of you."
He often quoted from 2 Timothy chapter 4, vere 6 and 7, "for I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. He came in 1959 with a vision that saw the difficulty in every opportunity,m he departed knowing tht he waw the opportunity in every diffculty. To honor his memory, we the members of First Baptist Church dedicate this Chapel as The Reverend Dr. Charles W. Ward Chapel.