December - January 2023
Lighting the Darkness
Reaching for Raleigh
By Tori Matlock
In 2023, Free Will Baptists will return to an exciting location when Raleigh, North Carolina, hosts the National Convention for the first time since the early 1960s. Located not far from where the Free Will Baptist movement in the South began in 1720, Raleigh is one of the oldest settlements in America. Named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who attempted to colonize the region, the “City of Oaks” is a unique community, steeped in history and culture.
While the city is charming, with oak-lined streets and historic brick buildings, Raleigh also numbers among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation, with 25% growth over the last decade. Raleigh-ites are proud of their heritage.
The city has been described as the “Smithsonian of the South” because of three major state museums—Museum of Art, Museum of Natural Sciences, and Museum of History. If museums aren’t your thing, don’t worry; Raleigh has something for everyone. Leisurely explore over 150 miles of trails and parks or paddle several nearby waterways.
And the barbecue! The city is famous for its one-of-a-kind, vinegar-based barbecue. Be sure to try some for yourself. Raleigh hosts 30 barbecue restaurants and stands in the city, so choose wisely.
Videri Chocolate Factory additionally offers free samples and self-guided tours. Visitors can follow every step of the chocolate-making process. Finish up the visit at the onsite coffee and chocolate shop, with plenty of tasty samples and souvenirs available.
RDU Observation Park is tucked alongside the Raleigh-Durham Airport on the west side of the city. The beautiful park offers a full view of incoming and departing flights, making it a unique place for a family or youth group picnic, or simply to let children marvel as airplanes take off and land.
We are excited about next year’s convention. Raleigh is a hospitable and historic city, and we hope you will join us there.
To learn more about the upcoming convention, visit
About the Author: Tori Matlock served as a staff writer for the Press Office at the 2022 National Convention in Birmingham, Alabama. She and her husband Cody work with children at Beulah FWB Church in Pensacola, Florida.