NAUGATUCK — Mt. Cavalry Baptist Church, nestled comfortably into a rented space on the corner of Rubber Avenue and Church Street, was founded in 2002. Between 2005 and 2007, it had no full-time pastor, and visiting preachers sustained it as the two families in the tight-knit congregation held it together.
Joe Faulk was one of those visitors who came in “just to fill the pulpit” while he was still attending New England Baptist College in Southington. Now he’s degreed and incumbent as full-time pastor.
And as of Sunday, Nov. 1, Mt. Cavalry will be known as Abundant Life Baptist Church. That morning at 11, there will be a special service to promote and recognize the name change.
“We wanted a change,” Faulk said, “to let people know we’re here, on the corner, and that our doors are always open … it’s a way for us to promote and restart.”
Faulk and his wife, Susannah, said they are invested in the church for the long run.
“Since day one, we’ve been here to stay,” Faulk said. “We have a lot of vision, a lot of goals … we’re excited about the future and about raising and growing the church.”
Now the church has only about 10 regular attendees spread over 25 or 30 seats and exists in a rented property across from Rite-Aid and Advance Auto Parts. Faulk said he hopes for an expanded congregation and, eventually, an actual church building.
“A lot of people don’t realize there’s a Baptist church in Naugatuck,” he said.
Susannah Faulk, who Joe met at New England Baptist College, added, “A lot of time people don’t notice things until they change.”
The church offers traditional Sunday morning services based around hymnal music and Baptist sermons, as well as a Sunday school hour and normative social functions like dinners and luncheons.
The Baptist faith is distinguished by firm beliefs in biblical authority, the autonomy of the church, and the liberty of individuals’ souls, among many defining characteristics.
Sunday morning services at Abundant Life are about an hour long.
“We don’t want to make anyone not want to come to church,” Faulk said.
He hopes the upcoming name change will go a long way toward promoting the church and growing attendance.
“A lot of times with churches it’s hard to move on … we’re moving forward, we’re doing things—we’re keeping things exciting,” he said.