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Phenix City church sells property, prepares to buildcomment (0)

January 24, 2008

By Josh Rutledge

After two years of negotiations, Bethany Baptist Church, Phenix City, has finalized the sale of its property and is now preparing to construct a new building just two blocks from its current location.

Clearing of the new nine-acre property will begin March 1, with a ground-breaking service to follow soon.

The Russell Baptist Association church plans to move into its new building by the end of the year.

“Unless we have strange weather or something, we should have no problem in moving in by Christmas,” said Ted Cline, chairman of Bethany Baptist’s building committee.

Two years ago, Florida-based Paradise Development Group contacted the church about buying its property in order to build a new Walgreens.

The deal was finalized Dec. 17, and Bethany Baptist purchased its new plot of land within a week of the sale.

According to Pastor Jimmie Hobbs, the church had been looking to either add on or relocate because the congregation had outgrown its building.

“We desperately need new classrooms and a larger fellowship hall,” Cline said.

Hobbs noted that the area around Bethany Baptist is rapidly growing. The church is hoping that the larger building will enable it to reach out to that population.

Hobbs noted Bethany Baptist’s logo is a lighthouse. “And with this new building, I’m looking forward to our church being a greater light in this community.”

And in anticipation of the increased membership Hobbs and the church are hoping for, the new building will also have a larger worship hall, which will hold 250 people. 

For the members of Bethany Baptist, news of the move has been exciting but also bittersweet.

“I’d say there have been mixed feelings, which is normal,” said Ben Johnson, a church member since 1978. “Some wanted to leave; some wanted to stay forever.”

Church secretary Jennifer McCain, whose family has been at Bethany Baptist since the 1970s, said she is sad to leave the old building but recognizes the advantages the new one will bring.

One of those advantages will be the ability to expand programs. With the additional space, the church is planning to add programs like Awana.

Move to interim space

While construction of the new building is in progress, Bethany Baptist will lease the church building formerly owned by Golden Acres Baptist Church, Phenix City.

Bethany Baptist’s congregation will move to the interim location at the end of January and hold its first worship service there Feb. 3.

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