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Divine intervention: Living Faith Baptist Fellowship latest to find a home at ECA

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Academy property has served as temporary worship space for many area churches

By Sarah Bennett

Weeks after First Christian Church vacated its temporary location at Elizabethtown Christian Academy, another local church in the midst of transition is moving into the space.

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Living Faith Baptist Fellowship began in 2004 in the homes of its worshippers before holding its first worship service on the loading dock of a carpet warehouse, pastor Roger Jasper said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the congregation of more than 90 moved from its former location at 207 Corporate Drive — a building that once was occupied by Tee It Up Golf — to a temporary residence at ECA, Jasper said.

The fellowship holds its first service in the ECA chapel at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Bible study begins at 9:30 a.m.

“This group started as a way to pray and support one another in homes,” said Jasper, who has led the church for three years. “It moved from somebody’s basement, so they started meeting at the Morgan Carpet Warehouse out on the loading dock for their first worship service,” he continued. “Then they moved to the old Nolin RECC building and then (the Corporate Drive property) was the first property they owned. We’re moving to our first church that was intended for an ecclesial purpose.”

The building at 401 W. Poplar Drive in Elizabethtown served as the home of Severns Valley Baptist Church for more than 50 years before the church moved in March 2007 to its current location at Ring Road, said Linda Polley, administrative director at Severns Valley.

Since Elizabethtown Christian Academy has owned the building, several churches in need of temporary homes have moved into the structure, including First Christian and Franklin Crossroads Baptist Church, said Stephanie Utley, financial administrative assistant at ECA.

“They need the space and we have it,” Utley said.

Jasper said ECA’s hospitality to churches in need of a temporary location is an “incredible gift.”

“I don’t know of another community that has a place where churches in transition can so easily make their home,” he said.

Living Faith Baptist, which saw a record attendance of 144 on Easter Sunday, has outgrown the building at Corporate Drive, Jasper said. The move to the chapel at ECA is temporary while the congregation constructs a new building.

About four years ago, the fellowship purchased an 8-acre spot of land on West Park Road next to G.C. Burkhead Elementary School, he said.

“This was a church that wanted to be close to neighborhoods, close to industry, close to education and recreation and embedded in the community,” Jasper said about the fellowship’s future location. “The purpose of this church is to be the presence of Christ to one another and our neighbors.”

He said the church has some money pledged for construction and intends to sell the building on Corporate Drive.

Jasper hopes to move to the new building in three years, he said. For now, the congregation has set up a prayer garden on the land to make it a home before bricks are laid.

“We wanted to begin to inhabit this place,” he said. “We wanted a sacred space even now that would be an offering to the community.”

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.