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Union Missionary Baptist Church will host a house warming for its new pastor, Corey Scott, and his family this Saturday in a social distancing way.

The "Drive By House Warming," as the church is calling the event, will be from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the church, 219 Gulpha St.

Bernistine Kilgore, the church's administrative assistant, said that Scott is assuming the ministry of longtime Pastor Douglas E. Jones, who held the position for over 26 years.

After Jones' death, Kilgore said that 40 people applied for the vacant position, with Scott eventually winning the church's vote. "So we called him (on) Jan. 23, 2020," Kilgore said, to let him know he had been accepted.

She said that the new pastor, along with his wife, Lisa, children Isaiah and Titus, and their dog, Duke, moved in two weeks ago, so the purpose of the house warming is to introduce the Scotts to the town.

The Scotts moved to Hot Springs from Kansas City. While they have only lived in town for a couple of weeks, Kilgore said that Scott started working with the church when he was hired.

Kilgore said that, in February, Scott started traveling to Hot Springs. She said that he came to the church "every two weeks" until the pandemic hit, at which time he started doing virtual services with the church. She said that recently the church has started doing services outside the building when the weather allows.

For this event, Kilgore said that "we've invited most (local) churches to come and meet him this Saturday." She said that around 20 churches were invited.

To help the Scotts furnish their new house, Kilgore asked that those who intend to visit to bring either gift cards, cash or checks, rather than actual gifts. She said that this is because many stores aren't allowing returned items during the pandemic.

While it is called a "Drive By House Warming," Kilgore said that visitors will be allowed to get out of their vehicles and meet with the Scotts in person. She said that social distancing will be required for those who wish to stop and visit.

Kilgore said that they anticipate between 175 and 200 visitors for the event.

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