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By JOHN FRIEDLEIN
HODGENVILLE — Gospel of Grace Baptist Church — which started in an old general store, where a soft spot in the floor marked the site of a former pot belly stove — is getting a modern building.
Unlike that first church, the next one will feature indoor plumbing.
Sounds of hammering and sawing filled the air this week at the Ky. 210 construction site. More than 200 volunteers traveled here from states as far way as Pennsylvania and Florida to work on the project.
“The Lord has blessed us,” said Dewey Keys, pastor of Gospel of Grace.
His church started a few years ago in Tonieville on the LaRue-Hardin County line. Then it moved to a monument and feed store — a narrow building that seats 80 people at best.
The new facility will accommodate 200 worshipers and will include a full basement, kitchen, fellowship hall and Sunday school rooms.
The upgrade will help grow the congregation, which now has 60 or 70 members, Keys said.
The construction effort is part of an ongoing initiative spearheaded by CrossPoint Baptist Church in Alabama.
“We feel like it’s a ministry,” CrossPoint member Hugh Patrick said. The churches his group assists could not build if they had to pay for everything. Patrick said he guessed they were saving Gospel of Grace about $50,000.
The volunteers, who pay their own expenses, also are working at Ovesen Heights Baptist Church.
Those who have construction performed at their churches often reciprocate by working in other areas, as Gospel of Grace members plan to do.
Other churches — ones closer to home — have donated to this project, too. For instance, a Louisville congregation donated pews and other furniture. And Hodgenville United Methodist Church lent its cafeteria and kitchen to the construction workers.
“All we do is supply the material to work with,” Keys said.
Out-of-state volunteers traveled here about six weeks ago to scout the site. And all of the material had to be there when the crew started a few days ago.
A celebration and services are planned for today at the church, which won’t be entirely finished. Keys said he hopes to be able to move in by fall.
“I’d just like to thank the community,” he said. “I feel very humbled in realizing that God is blessing our church in a very special way. Not many churches get this opportunity.”
Mike Allums, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Alabama, said the work is a way to see God’s kingdom expanded. And it helps get out the message that there is “new life in Christ.”
Jack Freeman, a homebuilder who attends Allums’ church, said, “We get a lot accomplished in a week’s time.” Workers range from experienced to novice.
Freeman said he can’t preach, so this is a talent he can put to use. “I love to build,” he said. “I like to see buildings go up.”
John Friedlein can be
reached at (270) 505-1746.