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Glencoe church builds permanent meeting placecomment (0)

December 22, 2005

By Leigh Pritchett

After four years of wandering Etowah Baptist Association, RiverEast Baptist Church finally has a permanent home in Glencoe.
On Nov. 20, RiverEast Baptist dedicated its sanctuary and celebrated the completion of the first phase of its building program.
Constituted in 2001 with 28 members, the church met in several places around the association. At one time, Sunday School classes met at the Gadsden office of Rehab Partners P.C. At another time, church members met in the Service Auto Parts building in east Gadsden. 
Then the church rented a location on Fourth Street in Gadsden. In fact, RiverEast experienced so much growth there that “we ended up renting three different buildings” along Fourth Street, said Pastor Wayne Milam, who came to the church shortly after it was constituted. “That was where we really came together as a unit,” he said. 
While meeting in the Fourth Street buildings, the church began a day care and kindergarten program. It was also there that church members began to make plans for building a campus. In 2002, the church secured 12.5 acres at 1707 Reid Circle in Glencoe, Milam said.
The church’s members, numbering more than 120, pitched in with the construction, he said, noting that certain jobs had to be hired out. The church also had help from Carpenters for Christ from Birmingham, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Georgia and Mississippi, which Milam said “was a great help and an encouragement to our people.”
Because of all the volunteer work, the building project, appraised at $1.2 million, cost the church only $750,000, he said. Milam added that the congregation was able to pay off the Reid Circle property before beginning the building project. 
According to him, the church divided the construction into two phases so they would have a multipurpose building to meet in initially until the second phase — the sanctuary — is completed.
The multipurpose building’s 21,000 square feet includes a fellowship hall, large kitchen, 16 classrooms and office space. It also has a space used for a sanctuary with gym carpeting, where the church uses “very comfortable” and easily moveable chairs to make the area suitable for various purposes, Milam said. 
Also on the property is a house, which Milam said is used to accommodate missionaries as well as Sunday School get-togethers and the like.
The church sits within a half mile of the “city proper” of Glencoe, Hokes Bluff and Gadsden, Milam pointed out. “We feel like God placed us there to be centrally located.” 
Gary Cardwell, Etowah Association’s director of missions, is happy about the work and accomplishments of the church.
“I’m excited for those folks out there,” Cardwell said, noting that the members of RiverEast have a vision for telling people about the love and forgiveness Jesus Christ offers and discipling believers so that they may be strong in their faith.

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