Hayden Baptist Church members are doing what they can to help their congregation as well as the community around them.
The fifth annual Neville K. Burris Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 22 in efforts to raise funds to build a new church that will include a community center.
Golf Tournament Director and church member Donald Davis said the event has been held in the past to build a community center near their place of worship but this year, a recent tragedy changed the direction of that plan.
On July 10, lightening struck the church, located at 175 Hayden Road, and was totally lost to a fire. Nobody was injured and the congregation has celebrated that fact.
“We look at it as we lost our church but we didn’t lose anybody,” said Davis’ wife and secretary of the event, Allie. “You can replace a church but you can’t replace a body. We look at it as we’re blessed but also as a loss. We really want some place that we can call home.”
Since the fire, the church has held service in the gymnasium at the Smith-Hazel Recreation Center.
Davis said that they still plan to build the community center but it will go inside the new church rather than in a separate building. This center will include classrooms for computer skills training and tutoring in elementary, high school and college levels. Programs to assist recovering alcoholics, drug addicts and former incarcerated individuals as well as those who are unemployed will also be housed in this center.
“We’re still trying to help the community in any way we can despite our troubles,” Davis said. “That’s the main thing, to help the community.”
The event itself is named after Neville K. Burris, a young member of the church who lost his life in a car accident on Jan. 3, 2008, – he was only 21. Davis said Burris was an individual who loved learning and was working on a degree in computer animation at Midlands Technical College after graduating from Lower Richland High School and attending South Carolina State University for a year.
The golf tournament and cause was established in Burris’ honor.
The tournament, a two-man captain’s choice, will be held at the Cedar Creek Golf Course. The first place winners will have their names added to a trophy that’s been passed around since the tournament began. The winners will be able to keep the trophy for a year until the next tournament.
A continental breakfast will be served starting at 8 a.m. during registration and the shotgun start will be at 9 a.m.
An individual player fee is $60 and a team of two is $120. The cost covers 18 holes of golf, range balls and cart fees as well as lunch and a chance to win door prizes.
The deadline to sign up is Sept. 16, but Davis said they will accept registration the day of the tournament.
Davis is also looking for sponsors. So far, WZZW, Allstate Insurance Bryant Agency, Fishburne’s Glass Works, Burris Tax Service, R. Johnson Sales and Supply and J & L Home and Construction are sponsoring the event.
To become a sponsor or to sign up to play, call Davis at 522-5299. Mail the entry and payment to Donald Davis, 528 Red Oak Drive, Aiken SC, 29801. Checks can be made out to Hayden Baptist Church.
The rain date of the event is Oct. 6.