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Phil Meekins

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I am Phillip W. Meekins Sr. I am known in my church family as Pastor Phil. I have been privileged to serve our Lord as pastor of New Beginnings since October 2011.

My life from the beginning was very tough, growing up in a household of violence, alcohol abuse, and physical abuse. I always felt from a young age that God had a purpose for my life and that He would keep and protect me no matter how hard things were. When I was a small child I experienced things that most people never see in a lifetime.

When I was 10 years old my mother moved all 5 of her children from Maryland to West Virginia to remove us from our father’s abuse. I can still remember the Greyhound bus journey to get there. I think today how brave my mother was to do this with only $25 in her pocket and not be sure of the outcome on the other side. My Mother has been and will always be my hero. She showed me what true faith was like. While living in West Virginia I attended the Sewell Valley Baptist Church. I was lead to the Lord by the constant encouragement and love of my Aunt Marie, Uncle Bill Aunt Dolly, and my cousins Reverend J.D. Surbaugh and Reverend Eddie Ray Goddard. I asked Jesus to be my Savior and Lord at a Wednesday night prayer meeting in 1975. My life as a teenager took on new meaning when I knew that Jesus had forgiven me of all m sin. God took the place of my absent father, and I was renewed in my life.

My Father and Mother reconciled after a few years, and we returned to Maryland. My life went into a tail spin almost immediately after we returned home. My Father refused to let us attend any Baptist church. I was devastated to think this could be happening. From that point, I started into a life of rebellion to my family and my Lord. I attended some Methodist Youth outings but things were not the same. I began to do and say things that I thought would have been behind me. I was a teenage alcoholic and drug addict by the age of 16. I continued along this path until joining the Army in my senior year of high school.

I really thought the military would turn things around for me and start me back on the right track. Some time passed with great results but once again the drugs and alcohol took control of me. I was able to finish my tour of duty and come back to civilian life. My wife and I were expecting  our first child within a year of my service separation and all was well. My drinking and hidden drug use started again and got progressively worse. This lifestyle continued until my second son was almost two years old. I was tired of the fast paced drug and drunkard life. After several attempts at rehab and detox, I finally gave up all drugs and alcohol. I am proud to say as of this writing, I have been clean and sober for 21 years! Praise God. All throughout those troubled times in my life; I could still hear God calling me. I thought to myself,” How could you still love me after all that I have done?” I was listening to God but on my own terms. I would listen to radio broadcast and watch religious shows but only in small increments.

On November 4, 1999 my mother died suddenly, it was my birthday that day. I was devastated beyond words. I was going through a very difficult time in my life already and then that happened. I was alone that night and asked God why he would allow so much pain to happen to me all at once. I prayed like I had never prayed before. At that moment in time I felt God say to me,” I will never leave you nor forsake you even unto death.” I did not feel worthy to hear those words. The next few days were so heavy on my heart but I knew that God was closer to me than I had realized in many years. My family wanted a Baptist preacher to conduct my mother’s funeral service so, Bob Crouch suggested Dr. Steven Hokuf. I had never met this preacher before the funeral service. I found Dr. Hokuf to be a man of compassion and love in Christ. When Dr. Hokuf began to speak, I felt the presence of God speaking directly to me and me alone. I had NEVER felt this feeling in my entire life. I heard the Lord call to me, come home, come home. At that moment, I knew that I would serve God for the remainder of my days. I felt like the description of Saul in Acts 9:18. “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” I felt a renewed spirit in Christ. I told my wife that day that I would be attending church at First Baptist of North East on Sunday.

Since that time in 1999 the Lord has taken me to places in the ministry that I never imagined I would go. I fully repented of my sins and committed myself in service to Jesus. I began teaching Sunday school for High school and Middle school kids in 2000 after much “prompting” from Mike Marvel. He said God told him that I was the one. I spent much time in prayer over this and I felt led of the Lord to begin teaching.

Shortly after that time I began to get involved in Youth ministry and took over as Youth Director a couple of months later. I have many fond memories of teaching our young people over the years. I love to see them come back all grown up and still serving the Lord. The first sermon I preached to our congregation was during a Youth Sunday service. I felt the ‘Call of the Lord” to preach while studying that sermon. I felt that my testimony could help many other people that came from the same life that I had come out of. God has shown me many marvelous things, and done a work in my life that I never dreamed of.


Associate Pastor

Gregory Halsey

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Ministry Assistant

Kathy Glace

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Office Manager

Lee-Ellen Van Voorhis

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