A different kind of Baptist...
ESIC Church is part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. While we value and cherish our Baptist heritage and practices, you'll find that we differ from some Baptists in the following ways:
On social issues, ESIC does not issue position statements. Our motto is unity on essential Christian doctrine, diversity on non-essentials, and in all things, charity (love). We practice believer baptism but welcome and embrace those who were baptized in other traditions and different ways, and women may be ordained as ministers or deacons and serve as pastors of churches. In all church matters, we seek to be faithful to God's revealed word and truth.
We also strive to be Christ-like, innovative, authentic, and reaching out. We are a small church with big dreams about how we can faithfully live out God's calling in Edwardsville. Some things that set us apart:
Soul freedom-an individuals ability to relate directly to God,
Bible freedom-the Holy Spirit's power to help individuals interpret Scripture.
Church freedom- the local church's autonomy and ability to choose its leaders and direct its affairs.
Religious freedom-the autonomy of the local church from governmental oversight.
Some Core Beliefs
I. God is Triune. God is one being in three persons, alternatively known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
II. God is Father/Creator. God deliberately created the universe out of love, and God continues to seek community with creation. Creation and all within it belong to God.
III. God is Son/Redeemer. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is both a historical and divine figure. While on earth, Jesus was fully divine and fully human. He suffered, was crucified until dead and buried. Jesus was resurrected three days later and, after completing his work on earth, ascended to return to God.
IV. God is Holy Spirit/Sustainer. The Holy Spirit is the continuing presence of God on earth and empowers Christians to know Christ, understand God's Word, and share Christ with the world.
V. The Bible reveals God. The Bible contains the specific revelation of God, making clear God's hope for restoration through the work of his Son and God's Spirit, and is the absolute authority as to how we are to live.
VI. Creation is broken, but God seeks to redeem it. God created a perfect creation that humanity made imperfect. At creation, God instructed humanity to be stewards of His creation. As a result of humanity's degradation, creation is also broken and not as God intended it to be.
VII. Humanity sinned and is fallen. Although created in the image of God, humanity fell from fellowship with God through sin: the continuing choice of all men and women to disregard God's will in favor of their own desires. Because of their choice, men and women are incomplete in every aspect of personhood.
VIII. Sin can be forgiven and, consistent with God's intention, creation can return to fellowship with God. Through sending Jesus Christ and as a result of Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection, God has provided the means for sin to be forgiven and for creation to be redeemed to eternal fellowship with God. Despite humanity's corruption of God's perfect creation, God maintains a longing to restore creation and all of humanity to a perfect relationship that will continue in perpetuity
IX. The church, as fellowship, is the community of the new creation. The church is the continuation of the body of Christ on Earth and is ordained by God to further the kingdom of God on Earth.
Some Core Values
God's love for all without condition. Because "God is love" (I John 4:16), we are compelled to love God and His creation boldly. The empowering of all for service to Christ (i.e., the priesthood of all believers).
The autonomy of each individual to come to practice their faith and relate directly to God without coercion.
We believe in the freedom to practice our faith in obedience to God and apply His Word as our primary lens to go about living.
We join with others in the unity of the Body of Christ while pursuing diversity and working against the evils of racism, sexism, violence, and hatred.
The understanding that God has created our world for us to take care of and be responsible stewards.
To seek joy and celebrate the freedom found in obedience to Christ.
Pastor Matthews desire’s to be someone who cultivates authentic transformation in people by modeling a life that has been transformed by the Spirit. Buzz believes that the way of life Jesus modeled is the most meaningful way to walk in the world. He seeks to serve and engage the community and preaches and teaches in a way that communicates the gospel to everyday life.
The Matthews enjoy bicycling, tending gardens, playing with their young boys Joss and Toby, and rooting for Detroit sports (it’s been rough lately).
Sandy Curran, Music Director
Sandy Curran has been a member at ESIC Baptist Church since 1981. She has actively participated in many facets of the church throughout the years, with a primary focus on the music program. In addition to her position as the Music Director, she currently serves as a Deacon, serves on the Care Team, and uses her organizational skills to plan events at the church.
She began her music career as a child, growing up and attending First Baptist Church in Granite City, IL. From singing in the youth choir, being a sub pianist, directing the 'Joy Singers' during her college years, and serving as youth minister, she has an expansive resume' in church music. In recent years she has participated as a member of the Raise the Praise Choir, performing for benefit concerts in the Edwardsville area. Currently, she leads the music program for ESIC and directs the choir.
Sandy was an educator in the Edwardsville School District for 35 years, retiring in 2012. She graduated from SIUE with a BA in education and a MS in counseling. During her tenure as an educator she was honored with the following accolades: Edwardsville District 7 2011 Teacher of the year, 2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year finalist for the State of Illinois, Emerson Electric Excellence in Education award winner in 1996 and 2011, District 7 Good Apple Awards, District 7 Employee of the Month, and District 7 Extra Effort Awards.
Sandy has been married to her husband, Jerry, for 35 years. They have two grown children and four grandchildren.
Huei Li Chin, Pianist
Huei Li Chin is an Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Keyboard Development Program at SIUE. She also is a piano pedagogy specialist and class piano teacher.
Dr. Chin holds a Licentiate Teacher's Diploma from Trinity College of Music in London, England. Other degrees she holds include a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Master of Music in Piano Performance, both from West Virginia University. In 2002, she earned a Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in Piano Pedagogy from Ohio State University. Her research interests include developmental psychology, learning styles, and transfer programs.
Traci Stewart, Secetary
Traci Stewart joined the ESIC Baptist Church Staff as the Secretary in May 2013. Prior to working at ESIC, she contracted as a Certified Career Consultant with Impact Group in St Louis. Traci is an Army veteran with areas of expertise in Logistics, Plans and Operations, and Administration. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Buzz Matthews, Pastor
Pastor Buzz Matthews moved into the Saint Louis area in 2011 and has served in the areas of youth/pastoral ministry and media at The Church of St. Michael and St. Church, Green Trails Church, and St. John’s Church. Buzz grew up near Detroit, Michigan playing sports and performing alternative hip-hop. In his late twenties, Buzz set off for the west coast to study at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology where he earned a MACS and MDiv and met his wife Jenny. Before moving to St. Louis, Buzz led interdenominational youth outreaches in Seattle, directed several contemporary worship services, ministered to at-risk youth in Detroit, and helped plant an urban church near Detroit.