Bill Crossland and Family

Bill Crossland with wife Vicki (left) and granddaughter Megan Brinkman (right) following the ordination.

MIMBRES (BNM) - Rio Mimbres Baptist Church ordained its fifth deacon on April 28. Pastor Jeremy Butler approached prospective deacon Bill Crossland three months prior to his ordination, asking him to consider the new role. Crossland attended several deacons’ meetings and was ordained during the church’s Sunday morning service. A church-wide celebration in honor of Crossland’s new role followed the service. 

Butler said that for the past year, he and the deacons were considering adding a new member to their team given the esteemed ages of the other deacons. Crossland, 83, is the second-youngest deacon at Rio Mimbres. 

Butler described Crossland as a “deacon without having the title,” since he had already been performing several deacon tasks, such as assisting with church service projects, yard work, and helping church widows, but was not officially a deacon. So, Butler sought to officially ordain Crossland as a deacon. 

Crossland has been a member of Rio Mimbres for about three years, having lived in El Paso, Texas, 30 years prior. Crossland credited his current wife, Vicki, for helping and encouraging him to remain active in his church after retirement. “She’s the one who grabs me by the ear and makes sure I get to church, now,” he said. 

Crossland said stepping into this new role as a deacon has been a very humbling experience. “I’m very novice in my knowledge of the Bible ... I’ve been a Christian most of my life but I didn’t practice most of it,” he said. He described his transition from member to deacon as moving from a “spectator” status to a more active leader. “It’s a great honor to be here, joining these gentlemen,” he said about joining the other deacons.

Crossland said that as a child, he regularly attended his family’s church until his teenage years. “Once I [became] a teenager, I found out there are other things to do.” 

Crossland said now, he is willing to do anything the church needs. “Anything I’m physically or mentally able to do, I’ll get it done,” he said. 

Rio Mimbres Baptist Church was officially established as a church in 1974. The congregation celebrated the church’s 45th anniversary in March. The church typically sees between 40 and 50 in attendance every Sunday with between 60 and 70 members. 

Drew Stevens is a news management intern with the Baptist New Mexican news journal and, news and information outlets for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

Media Services Assistant / Staff Writer

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