UNION — A family of eight moved to Union around one month ago, and the parents, four boys and two girls call their new home “a blessing.”
Brian Redding has been the Pastor of Music at Philippi Baptist Church for about a month. Brian and his wife, Kerri, say they were led to Union, along with their six children — Johnny, 17, Luke, 13, Jacob, 9, Caleb, 7, Anna, 5, and Abigail, 3.
“We talked with Pastor Brad (Goodale) and members of the church, and through those conversations, we felt like God wanted us to do this,” Brian said.
“Union wasn’t on the map for us before,” Kerri added. “God led us here.”
Brian was born in Jacksonville, Fla. and lived in the area until his family moved to Newnan, Ga. — which he pointed out was the home of Alan Jackson — when he was 12 years old. There, he met Kerri, and they were married in June 1997.
Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from The University of West Georgia and a Master’s of Divinity degree in music from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He has served on staff at churches in Georgia, North Carolina and Florida before coming to Philippi in August. Kerri has a degree in music education and was a music teacher for years.
“We are a musical family; it’s who we are,” Kerri said.
Kerri plays clarinet and piano, and she teaches piano to Jacob, Caleb and Anna. Johnny plays guitar and plays with his dad on Sunday mornings at Philippi. Everyone has scheduled practice time, and the entire family sings together before nightly devotions.
The Reddings home school all six children, participating in the Christian Home School of Union County co-op.
“I have to be very organized,” Kerri said. “We have a set schedule. Everyone has a certain time to work on a certain subject.”
Johnny — a high school senior who is also taking concurrent classes at USC Union — added that there are also times at which the children learn together. He gave an example of Caleb reading a book to Abigail or showing her flash cards, entertaining her while also improving his own learning skills. Kerri said she has enjoyed learning South Carolina history, herself, while teaching it to the children.
“My favorite part of South Carolina is making new friends!” said five-year-old Anna.
Three-year-old Abigail pointed out that she knows the governor of South Carolina is Nikki Haley.
“It’s funny because we never taught her that — she just listens,” Kerri smiled.
Each of the four boys run cross country with the Carolina Home School Cougars, and all of the children have become involved at church through AWANA and Philippi’s integrated choir program.
On Monday morning, Abigail and Anna ran and played, asking their parents to watch as they performed cartwheels and hand stands. The rest of the children worked on various school subjects in various throughout the home.
“We obviously fill this house up,” Kerri said. “This big, nice house was a blessing. We use every square foot.”
“God definitely gave us this home,” Brian added.
The two newest members of the Redding family are the two eldest children — Johnny and Luke — who were adopted.
“They were in our church in Florida with a family member,” Brian said. “They were there about two months, and the family member’s health failed. They were put in foster care, and the Lord told us very plainly to adopt the boys. It was truly the Lord.”
The boys have been part of the family for two years, and the adoption was finalized last December.
“It’s not something we ever thought we were going to do,” Kerri said, mentioning that teenagers are rarely adopted.
“It’s neat to see the way God put them in our family,” Brian said. “He meshed us together very well.”
The busiest day of the week for the Reddings is Sunday, when they have three morning services, afternoon choir practices, and an evening service. Friday is Brian’s day off.
“We cherish that time,” Kerri said, explaining that lately, that time has been filled with activities such as unpacking boxes or hanging pictures.
The family plans to visit North Greenville University this weekend as a prospective school for Johnny.
Brian said he has thoroughly enjoyed being part of Philippi Baptist Church thus far, and Johnny mentioned that many of the church members have gone “above and beyond” in helping them get settled.
“The staff is all very close-knit, and it’s neat the way people have welcomed us and helped us fit in,” he said. “Everyone has been very kind and welcoming.”
For more information about Philippi Baptist Church — or its staff, sermons, service times or ministries — visit www.philippibaptistchurch.com.