Archive for Thursday, September 4, 2008

Church celebrates addition

September 4, 2008

Members of First Baptist Church of Basehor have marked a milestone.

It's been more than a year since the congregation broke ground on a 10,000-square-foot building addition, and in a special dedication ceremony Aug. 24, they declared it officially complete.

"We had record attendance," Pastor Duane McCracken said. "We had our first meal ever in the hall. We were actually able to serve, sitting down, 288 people, which is more than double the amount we could serve in our previous fellowship hall and it was a great day."

The spacious addition was added onto the northwest side of the original church and features a new front entrance, office area and kitchen in the foyer. A large, open room with a high ceiling sits to the left of the entrance and the doorways to five new Sunday school classrooms as well as a nursery are off of the large room. The Little Friends Preschool also received its own parking area and ground level entrance as a part of the project.

McCracken said there were many possibilities with the new space as far as outreach. The church will soon be starting a women's exercise class on Tuesday afternoons and also is looking into karate classes and a volleyball league. The church soon will play host to a youth lock-in and while McCracken said the church previously has hosted the event, the larger space will now allow the church to "do it right."

"The building is a huge plus for us in terms of ministry and the life of our church," he said. "Basically we tripled our building space and it's all on ground level."

Something unique about the addition is that many members actually had a hand in creating a piece of the building because the congregation completed much of the interior work.

Vision Task Force chairman Al Knapp said the expense was too great to contract out the interior work and church members knew the only way they could get it done was on a volunteer basis. Materials had to be purchased, but the church saved thousands of dollars in labor.

"We probably cut $200,000 out of the contractor's scope," Knapp said.

About 100 church members were divided into groups to assist with different tasks that needed to be complete, such as painting, electrical wiring and tiling, and a member with corresponding expertise was put in charge of each group. Church members completed everything from painting the walls and laying carpet to installing kitchen appliances and cabinets and piecing together the stone fireplace in the new front foyer.

If members weren't in one of these groups, they were planning and preparing meals for the labor groups. McCracken said the congregation worked together and gave up evenings and Saturdays for about four months to complete the task.

"I think it was tremendous," Knapp said. "That's a special undertaking to get people to commit that kind of time."

Knapp said one of the best compliments they received was from the project manager for the building contractor. He said that in his experience, there has never been a congregation that took on as much work as this church did, finished it as fast as they did or achieved the level of quality the church did.

"I feel very blessed to be a part of it," Knapp said. "We worked hard, we worked a lot of hours, but we had fun and I think it was a tremendous growth experience for all of us. We just expect great things and believe that God will use that building to touch lives in the Basehor area."

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