A look inside the sanctuary in the new Fellowship Baptist Church building shows some of the new sound equipment and seating for church goers. Pastor Bill Prater said the church had been looking to update its sound and media. The church will host an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and a dedication ceremony starting at 10 a.m. Sunday. L&T photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
The former Food Bonanza building has now been transformed into a facility for food for the spirit.
Fellowship Baptist Church Pastor Bill Prater said the finishing touches are now being put on the facility, and after about a year of work, he said his congregation is pleased with the results of retooling the building into a church.
“As with any project, I think you can go back and look at this, that and the other and say we could’ve done this different or that different, but overall, we’re very, very pleased with what we had to work with and what has transpired,” he said.
Prater said the project is not completely finished, but a target date has been set for this Friday, with an open house scheduled for Saturday. The pastor said the building is now being used for all of the church’s services.
“It’s been very good,” he said. “The ministries were so crowded for space, we’ve been able to alleviate that, and that’s been huge. It’s been a big blessing to them. We’ve been allowed to update some things we’ve been wanting to update as far as sound and media.”
Prater said some work remains on stairs in the building, as well as a glass airlock in the main entry and some small items in the building.
“With all the moving of things, things have gotten nicked up,” he said.
Prater said, however, this month’s distribution of the church’s Bread of Life food pantry has been canceled, but he is confident food will once again be available the fourth Saturday in May.
“We’re going to try to make some adjustments there, some changes there of necessity,” he said. “It’s a smaller area than what we had before. There’s going to need to be some changes there. For that reason, we’re forgoing our distribution for the month of April. We’ll pick it up again hopefully in the month of May.”
Prater said Bread of Life is a large ministry, serving an average of about 110 families a month.
“We’ve served up to 225 families in one two-hour time period,” he said. “With these facilities now smaller, it’s going to present some logistical challenges that we need to work on to make sure everything’s in place with open house coming up.”
Prater said because church officials have been focusing on other areas, there has been a lack of attention given to Bread of Life. Fellowship Baptist’s new home does have food available before and after services, however.
“We call it the K-Cafe,” he said. “How the name came about is the Greek word for ‘fellowship’ is ‘Koinonia.’ We didn’t want to call it the Koinonia Cafe, so we call it the K-Cafe.”
The cafe is run by FBC’s Quest College Ministries program.
“You can get a latte, mocha, regular coffee, hot chocolate,” he said. “It’s just been a real, bigl hit with the folks here pre-service and post-service.”
Prater said the new FBC will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday for people to look around.
“There’ll be different people stationed at different areas to answer any questions they might have,” he said. “We’re going to try to have some inflatables and stuff in the parking lot for the kids. We’re going to let folks who’ve been curious about this whole project kind of get their curiosity satisfied by just coming in, looking around and celebrating with us what God’s allowed us to do.”
Fellowship Baptist will also be hosting a formal dedication service on Sunday for the whole facility at 10 a.m.
“That’s kind of a deviation from our normal service times,” Prater said. “We’re having one service in the morning at 10 o’clock. We’ve invited a lot of the contractors who played a large role in helping us. We’ve invited city commissioners, county commissioners. We just want to recognize those who’ve had a significant part in making this happen.”
Prater said the efforts of everyone involved with the project have yielded great results.
“It’s more than what I would’ve ever envisioned, especially the worship centers,” he said. “It’s just unbelievable.”