CLINTON -- It was during the building of the West Kentucky Baptist Association's Ministry Center on McMorris Street in Clinton, that the volunteer workers needed to get the water pumped out in preparation for the concrete to be poured later.
Bro. Glen Stewart remembers that time well.
"One night, it was mud. Water was bad. We were getting ready to get the water out and put the concrete put down." He recalled Bro. Keith Howell, pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, came and brought a fellow by the name of Ronnie Boaz with him.
"Ronnie and I were in the back corner dipping water," Stewart said. "Ronnie leaned forward to help me so I would not fall into the water, but the way Ronnie helped me, I fell in the water. Both hands up to my wrists were in mud, and the rest of me had mud, too," he said laughing. "He ran fast enough that I couldn't catch him!"
There were some challenging times, but all who worked on the building developed a comradery, Stewart said. He has special memories of working with Boaz, who has since gone on to be with the Lord.
The dedication of the completed building took place Saturday morning with prayer, speaking, a tour of the new facility and a meal.
It was the vision of Bro. Larry Franklin Fraser, former pastor of Second Baptist Church in Clinton. It was on the site that the WKBA Ministry Center has been built that was the once the property and location of Second Baptist Church. They had begun to build on to their existing facility when a fire destroyed the buildings but not the church's Spirit of Hope and Giving.
Second Baptist began the process of building a new place of worship on U.S. 51 South, and instead of selling the McMorris Street property, voted to give it to the WKBA to be used for such a purpose as that which came to fruition Saturday. They also had the right of first refusal for the property on which the former WKBA was housed. Prior to that, it was the Second Baptist Church parsonage. When the WKBA moved out of the building and the property was sold, Second Baptist granted WKBA the right to sell it and put the proceeds back into the new ministry building.
Fraser also drew the plans for the 4,600 square-foot ministry center and did not ask for pay to do so.
Fraser had been preaching revival in Danville and was unable to attend the open house and dedication service Saturday morning, but many came to see the center, which was made possible by his vision, the work of a vision team, lots of volunteer man hours put in by many others and especially with guidance from above.
Opening prayer was given by Bro. Keith Howell, association moderator, and words were shared by Bro. Eric Allen, Kentucky Baptist Convention, Missions Mobilization Team.
Association Mission Strategist Glen Stewart presented a plaque, on behalf of the WKBA, of appreciation to Second Baptist Church, Clinton. Bro. Dustin Cunningham, current pastor, accepted on behalf of Second Baptist. Bro. Cunningham was instrumental in leading the church to allow WKBA to sell the former building and use the proceeds for the new ministry.
Stewart also announced the name of the Blair Library and shared a plaque with Bro. Charles Blair, former director of missions, who along with his wife Alma, has put many hours into the work of the association. He was instrumental in the establishment of Mid-Continent Bible College in Clinton, which was located where the current high school is today. Blair was also twice the recipient of the Director of Missions of the Year award.
Stewart also recognized Elliott Construction- John Elliott, owner; Gardner Electric- Larry Gardner, owner; Larcum Heat and Air- Union City, Tenn.; Larry Lewis and Lloyd Callison, plumbing; Bro. Troy Deweese, concrete work; groups from Alabama and Mississippi; the women who cleaned and decorated, those who painted, and all who donated money and labor.
The center is debt free. "We appreciate the donations that people gave. This entire building has been paid for and nothing is owed on it."
Bro. Mark Dowdy made the three wooden holders for quilt displays in the community room. The wood is from a church sanctuary from 1954. The quilts had been housed in the associational building on Hwy. 58.
"We appreciate that history being brought back into the building," Stewart said. "In days upcoming, there will be pictures put in the hallway of people instrumental in the starting of Mid-Continent Bible College," Bro. Stewart said.
"The association in itself is nothing," Bro. Stewart said. "The association is by the churches, for the churches, and for their ministry in the Kingdom of God."
Some of the Rooms
• Elisha Room -- Perhaps a church is having a revival, and the guest preacher is from out of town. The Elisha Room in the West Kentucky Baptist Association's Ministry Center will provide a place to stay with access to the showers there and the kitchen, with the only cost of the entire stay being the $40 for clean-up.
If a disaster relief team comes to the area, they will also have a place to stay and access to men's and women's showers.
• Small Conference Room -- A private conference center area will allow people to meet with church pastors or for other purposes when people prefer to be "out of the limelight" to discuss needs or ask questions privately.
• Blair Library -- Books may be checked out of the library section of the building, all which were brought over from the former West Kentucky Baptist Association building that was located on Hwy. 58 E.
• Multi-Purpose Room -- One area will have food and clothing to be given to churches to be distributed where there is a need. The WKBA Ministry Center will not be a distribution center itself. Stewart said churches and other places already have these ministries established, and they do not want to take away from that, only to provide assistance if needed.
These are only a few of the aspects of a building that the members of the West Kentucky Baptist Association hope to be used to further the ministry of the Lord with a goal of bringing others to Christ.
Stewart said someone will be at the building most likely three days a week, possibly from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone 270-653-6304 for more information.
Editor's Note: Information is from The Hickman County Times.