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Brent Baptist plans outreach, activities for centercomment (0)

December 2, 2004

By Kathleen Penton

More than 20 years ago, a vision for their church and their community led the members of Brent Baptist Church, Bibb Association, to plan for a family life center. That vision became reality with the dedication of the Johnston Family Life Center Nov. 14.
The original vision for a recreation center that could also serve as a place for Christian ministry belonged to former Brent Baptist Pastor Robert Johnston. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the church came close to fulfilling that desire, even drawing up plans for a center, but instead opted to build a fellowship hall and more educational space, which were also needed.
In September 2003, still short on Sunday School space for every age group from nursery through youth, ground was finally broken for a new facility.

The building has a dual purpose with 12 Sunday School classrooms for education and a gymnasium, walking track and multipurpose rooms for activities.
It is the activities side of the center that Pastor Bob Crider feels is the biggest attraction to the community, which has never had a recreation center. “We envision this as being something that will serve us for many years for members and the community,” he said.
The needs of children and youth, however, are not the only ones being met by the versatile center.
Crider said one of the center’s rooms will house the children’s church on Sundays and can be used for other group meetings. And the center also has a kitchen that will be available for use.
The senior group, the Joyful Hearts, will also use the facility for exercise and indoor activities.
“We as a church are just so proud of what God’s allowed us to do with this, giving us this vision in this short amount of time to have a facility in our county, because it is going to mean a whole lot to the Brent community but also to our countywide association,” Assistant Pastor Scott Davis Jr. said.
Davis is looking forward to being able to hold countywide training sessions in the center.
Celebration of the new addition began in the Sunday morning service with Bill Johnston, minister of education of First Baptist Church, Alabaster, and son of the former pastor, delivering the sermon.
After morning worship, the dedication service was held at the new building. The cornerstone was unveiled and a time of Scripture reading and prayer was held at the entrance to the family life center.
Crider said instead of just dedicating a building, it was the congregation’s prayer that they would be the ones who are dedicated to using this center as an outreach tool.
Ellis Architects Inc. and Killian Construction Company Inc., both of Tuscaloosa, were also recognized in both services for their contributions.
The family life center is named in memory of former pastor Johnston and in honor of his wife, Jean, who spoke at the dedication and is still an active member of the church.
The honor came as a surprise to Jean Johnston, who found out about the name when the long-range planning committee made the recommendation to the church.
She said it was a great joy to her for the church to have the center and how pleased she was that it would be a way of ministering to the community and the church.

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