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FBC Eufaula hoping to put ‘public face’ on youth ministry with new buildingcomment (0)

November 13, 2008

By Megan Norris Jones

First Baptist Church, Eufaula, sits right in the city’s historic downtown, which has an active commercial district and plenty of pedestrian traffic.

So the Barbour Baptist Association church — led by Pastor Kenneth Bush — has decided to take advantage of its location and respond to its burden to reach the community’s youth for Christ.

When an old tire store on a piece of property adjacent to the church building came up for sale, First, Eufaula, bought it with the idea that it would be an ideal location for a youth building.

“It’s something we’ve been dreaming of and planning for a long time,” Youth Minister Chris Wilkinson said of the project.

He’s been at the church for 14 years and joked, “We’ve been talking about it for just about as long as I’ve been here.”

But now the store has been removed, and the church is planning to break ground for the building in early December and start full-scale construction in early January 2009.

The building program will be divided into two phases.

Phase One, which should be completed in September 2009, will include a recreation area with sitting space, tables, game and snack areas and basketball goals.

Phase Two will include educational space and a fellowship and assembly space.

The new building will serve as a gathering place for youth worship, recreational activities and outreach events such as fifth quarters, citywide rallies and after-school activities, according to Wilkinson.

The architect designing it is Mike Hamrick, a church member with eight children of his own — four of whom are currently in the youth group.

Hamrick wants the building to integrate the historic nature of the downtown district with the needs of a contemporary youth group. To do that, he’s getting a lot of input from younger designers.

The exterior will be a Victorian-revival style, while the interior design will be postmodern.

Hamrick intends to use the site’s history as a retail space to draw in community members with display windows on the building front allowing passers-by to look in on the new activity space and a sidewalk canopy to include that space in the church’s activities.

“It very much is a public face on the youth ministry,” he said, adding “I think it will be very well received not only by our youth but also by the community as a whole.”

Wilkinson agreed. “Having a building and space will no doubt increase our ability to reach out,” he said.

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