After over 25 years of use as a church, the old school gym building was beginning to grow old. The building had served its purpose well, but the congregation realized that they needed to be thinking about a new building.
"I was privileged to be in on the beginning of the building process," relates Pastor Russ Richardson. "We had purchased the property for the new building a few years before – we met to discuss the need, possibilities, and possible floor plans."
Just before Lily Robbins passed away, her sons Morton and Quentin Robbins gave a gift of $100,000 in her memory. We figured this was our go ahead sign.
"We invited a church building company to come and make a presentation to the congregation,"" Pastor Russ continues. "Of all the designs suggested, I was surprised when the vast majority preferred the octagon shaped building! We decided not to use that particular company, but did use the idea – and after the congregation voted to pursue the new building – we began."
In 1997, plans were drawn for the new octagon shaped building. The estimated cost was $400,000. The church had a conviction to remain debt free and only had a fraction of the money needed to complete the project. However, after much prayer and with a step of faith, the project began in August. The first step was a congregational ground breaking service after morning worship one Sunday. After that, work began with contractor Larry Schlect.
"Jim Purdem was the leader of the pack, the guy that made things happen," says Pastor Russ. "He had the connections, the energy, and the vision.
"The equipment came, the cement was poured, the frame was up…next thing you know - we had the building shell up and enclosed (doors, windows, and siding). We had the septic system in and the emergency water system hooked up from the golf course.
"When Jim Purdem passed away, we lost a lot of energy and the main motivator. We were sort of stuck. Not real clear regarding the next step…and not enough money to do some of the next things.""
However, the Lord is faithful and "He makes all things beautiful in His time."" The building was secure and weather proof for the time being, praise the Lord! The church did make use of the new building during this time by using it for youth meetings and games. Meanwhile, the Lord was increasing the building fund once again.