WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — New Jerusalem Baptist Church is not letting tragedy bring a halt to their tradition of helping the community they serve.
After the church’s annex burned down in January, 2020, church leaders have been searching for architects and contractors to begin work on a new community center.
They are now working on getting the necessary building permits.
Since the fire, the church has been doing its food and clothing distribution from their main sanctuary, and once they have their new center, they said they will be able to do even more for the community.
“We wish it was going faster but we’re moving at god’s pace,” Reverend Angus Thompson, New Jerusalem Baptist Pastor, said.
Reverend Thompson said he is ready to begin construction on a new community center for the church.
“We are very grateful for the progress that we are making in trying to put together the facility that we are gonna move into,” Thompson said.
The annex served as the church’s clothing and food distribution program as well as its health ministries. But with a new building that will be more efficient, church members are looking forward to getting it up and running.
“I can just hardly wait,” New Jerusalem Baptist Church member Barbara Sapp said. “We’ve received donations for our new freezers and so we’re hoping to add to that where we can have more food provided and we can do this distribution more often.”
With the new community center also featuring a basketball court and dining hall, Reverend Thompson said he hopes it can serve the community for years to come.
“COVID-19 has revealed to us that we as a people suffer in a disproportionate way because of poor nutrition, poor health and so forth,” Thompson said. “Our church is certainly concerned about health, and this will give us a chance to do more work in that area.”
In a time of great suffering and need, New Jerusalem Baptist Church is moving past its own misfortune to provide blessings to others in need.
“It’s coming at a good time. During this pandemic and everything right now, this will give us the ability to help a lot of people. A lot of people are looking for help during this time of the pandemic right now. So this gives us a bigger space than we even had,” New Jerusalem Baptist Church member Kerry Woodard said.
As the church waits to get the building permits approved, they continue with food distribution, with one set for Saturday, Oct. 24, at 9 a.m.