Eric & Debra Dammeyer
Way out in the estuaries of Eastern North Carolina, where the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound and the sky come together is the town of Oriental. It is an old fishing village and also the retirement community for sailors and boat lovers of the East. It has a generally wealthy population, but quite remote and sits in the poorest County in the state. Pamlico County suffers under the oppression of drugs and opioids, which are taking the lives of the poor and the young and the lost, almost weekly.
Oriental is a Town filled with New Age and syncretist thinking. It is a perfect example of post-Christian America populated by the “children of the 60’s”. To this community, Eric and Debra Dammeyer were called to evangelize the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to plant the church which also worships and obeys the Holy Spirit.
The inspiration for the name was a vision of hearing the voices, The Sound of many voices, of the redeemed in Heaven, praising God, as found in the Book of Revelations to John. It fits out here by Pamlico Sound.
After a few years of meeting people, intentionally getting to be known as neighbors, and finding friends, especially among the unsaved, we began to shine our light. At first, presenting events in the Town’s movie theater, the documentary “Patterns of Evidence” and a symposium in Town Hall about the truth of the Bible. We started an open Bible Study in the single coffee shop in Town, offering free pizza and the bread of life. We rented the town’s ancient movie theater and presented the movie “Amazing Grace”. We found Christians who wanted to stand with us and formed a board of elders. And, a year ago, we planted a house church in our new home, bringing friends from the coffee shop as brothers and sisters to our home, all of us trying to Experience God together.
The Sound grows and shrinks, people come and go. We try very hard not to count them. We guide those we mentor one-on-one into a new life. We began teachings, in a Sunday School format, inviting those who had no church, who found nothing of the power of the Holy Spirit in the local “traditional” churches, and especially seeking those who would not set foot in any “church”.
We began the first Christian twelve-step group, “Victorious!” in Town, being chartered through Alcoholics Victorious and Christians in Recovery. The group is now recognized on the state’s AA website and The Sound is now recognized by the Chamber of Commerce as one of the established churches in Town.
But of all that we do to reach people, our gift from the Holy Spirit is in the one-on-one, to care and minister to one person at a time, who needs help, who cannot think how to be rescued – we introduce them to the One who can rescue them from “this body of death”.
Our praise and worship team includes Jesus People, Hillsong, Kari Jobe, Elevation Church and so many other great musicians, which we present on YouTube. We demonstrate worship and praise in the Spirit. And we watch them open in the Spirit, like prisoners released.
We have come to be involved in the assistance of other ministries being birthed. Eric was one of five pastors who prayed at the solemn assembly, called by a local woman, to be held in the County Courthouse, in the very courtroom. It was attended by a few hundred all travailing in supplication to the Lord for the lives of those addicted to drugs, for the safety of law enforcement, of the counselors, and the judges and those in jail.
Next March, we are involved in the United Christian Network, to hold a county-wide forum at a local Christian Camp. The forum will be to help all the ministries of the County to know one another, to join forces in networking, to share resources in efficiency, and to shine the light of God in the darkness, knowing they are not alone. Dare Challenge, which is a Teen & Adult Challenge facility for men on the “Outer Banks”, will come with their choir of redeemed men and boys. And they will present a message of hope.
What we are is the church, not just “a” church. Christian community activists, looking where God is working and joining Him in it. It is not big, it is a little famous, but it is the Lord and we are His servants. Should you ever come out this way, we invite you to join us for some seafood, fellowship and the community of the saints. In the meantime, find us on Facebook “soundofmanyvoices”.