Church breaks ground on addition
Sunday was one of many new days for First Baptist Church of Basehor.
The congregation broke ground after morning services for a new 10,000-square-foot addition, which will sit to the northwest of the existing church.
Pastor Duane McCracken began the groundbreaking ceremony with a responsive reading titled "How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place," then went on to turn the soil.
"I now break this ground in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," he said while turning the first shovel full of dirt.
Members of the Vision Task Force, or the building planning committee, stood before the congregation to turn the soil while saying a few words about the church's past, present and future.
"It was a new day when Baptist work was organized here in Basehor, Kan., in 1924," said Jerry Hardwick, deacon chairman and member of the Vision Task Force.
Along with the extra space, the addition will provide for Sunday school classes and a new fellowship hall, a new entrance will be put in on the lower level for easier access to the Little Friends Preschool run out of the church. Parents and students of the schools currently use the main entrance of the church and walk down two flights of stairs to get to the preschool.
The new entrance and parking lot are designed to be more convenient for parents and to increase safety.
"It was a new day on April 20, 1980, when our current worship center, fellowship hall and classrooms were dedicated to God's glory and honor," said Rene Wohletz, Little Friends Preschool director and member of the Vision Task Force.
With the preschool meeting in the downstairs fellowship hall and one of the Sunday school classes meeting in the sanctuary, the church identified a need for more space to create an environment more conducive to worship and continued growth. The new addition will move the fellowship hall up to the main level and create more classrooms for Sunday school classes.
"It was a new day when our church voted in January of 2007 to expand our facility and add an enlarged fellowship hall and additional classroom space for effective ministry in the 21st century," said Ed Leonard, deacon and member of the Vision Task Force.
"It is a new day now as we turn this soil to lay a foundation, so that in this new century our building is accessible to all regardless of physical capabilities, through a ground level fellowship hall, classrooms and office area," said Al Knapp, moderator and chairman of the Vision Task Force.
The church plans to use the enlarged fellowship hall as a multipurpose room for church dinners, musical presentations and sports allowing the congregation to increase its outreach to the community, especially youths.
"May future generations rise up and call us blessed because of our willingness to sacrifice, serve and share Christ and improve our facility to God's glory and honor for ministry in the 21st century," said Kirstin Lane, who represented the church's youths.
McCracken thanked David Joiner with Integral Design Architecture, Basehor Planning director Dustin Smith and HarenLaughlin Construction for their work on the project. The congregation then enjoyed a celebration dinner next to the groundbreaking site.
The Basehor Planning Commission approved the preliminary plat and final plat for the church's addition at its Tuesday night meeting, and they will be passed onto the City Council for approval at the June 18 meeting.
Construction on First Baptist's Family Life Center is expected to begin June 19 with completion by the end of the year.
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