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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

FBC, Woodstock, sees new startcomment (0)

June 8, 2000

By Theresa McBride


When First Baptist, Woodstock, held its first services in its new building, it did so almost 107 years to the day after founding members laid the cornerstone for the original building.
   
But Pastor Ben Corley said what is more significant is services were held on Easter — a date he said was intentional.
  
“It was the day Our Lord arose, so it was like a new beginning for an old congregation,” Corley said.
   
To work toward that goal, the congregation felt the building needed a physical presence of the Word and encouraged members and children’s Sunday School classes to write their favorite Bible verse in the floor before it was carpeted.
   
“This way, we’re building and walking on the Lord’s Word,” he said.
   
The congregation decided to complete much of the interior construction and amenities themselves and with help from community volunteers.
   
“All of our men have been so helpful,” said Ronnie Thompson, associate pastor. “Many came in (to work) after working at their jobs and they went way above what would have been expected.”
   
Corley said the effort resulted in substantial cost savings, along with a stronger sense of fellowship among members who could put their creative talents to work. “We had members install kitchen cabinets, countertops and even build new desks in the pastor’s study,” he said.
   
Another member built the pillars in the fellowship hall and lined walls with elegant trimwork.
   
Thompson also praised the women of the church, adding they regularly donated meals and snacks for workers.
   
Members said they also wanted the new building to include all worshipers, so they installed elevators and wide hallways and other features to accommodate the handicapped.
   
“When you have a loved one who is handicapped, you understand the difficulties they have with access,” said Corley, who is handicapped as the result of a mining accident.
   
Thompson said the church has seen an increase in membership, citing its proximity to Vance, home of the Mercedes Benz plant.
   
“The Mercedes Benz plant has had an impact on the influx of new people in this community, and the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to [reach out] to them (newcomers),” Thompson said. “We believe this has caused new members in this community to be drawn to worship with us, and we’re glad to have them.”
   
Both ministers believe the effort and devotion demonstrated to complete the new church continues a legacy current members will leave to future generations.
   
“The old facility served us very well for many years. We hold a lot of special memories there and many people got saved,” Thompson said. “This is just a new building, we’re not trying to leave any footprints for ourselves.”
   
“It is a place the Lord has blessed us to meet and prayerfully see more souls saved, and that is the heritage and legacy we want to leave,” Corley added.

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