Renovating First Baptist for ministry

Architect John McCormac's rendering of how the church's sanctuary will appear when construction is completed. (Contributed/John McCormac)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

VINCENT – Hammering rang out along the halls of First Baptist Church Vincent as the church’s facelift began.

Phase one of the church’s master plan involves upgrading the church’s facilities, including an old house the church purchased for youth activities, the fellowship hall, weekday preschool facilities and the playground adjacent to the main sanctuary.

The sanctuary was built in 1895, and much of that original building came from a 1840s-era building. While the sanctuary has been renovated since 1895, the upgrade will provide more seating and updated electrical and lighting features.

“We wanted to do it a few years ago, but with the economy, it was not the appropriate time to raise the funds,” Pastor Dr. Darryl Wood said. “We decided the economy wasn’t going to change, so we stepped out on faith to do it.”

Wood, who has been the pastor at First Baptist for three-and-a-half years, has been through building projects before in his 40-plus years of preaching.

“Right now, we’re trying to live through phase one,” he said. “The next phases include new buildings in the future.”

The particulars of phase one include renovating the sanctuary’s front area by extending the stage 14 feet into a storage room behind the baptistery. The church will also add more lighting and construct protective glass on the outside of the sanctuary’s stained glass windows. Also, portions of the education building, which was built in the 1960s, will be gutted, while other sections will be refurbished.

The church is working with Chelsea resident John McCormac with CTSM Architects and D.L. Acton Construction for renovations and design.

Wood said part of the current construction involves a plaza with lighting being added to the front door of the sanctuary, providing a gathering place for attendees.

“All healthy churches are where people like to stand around and talk afterwards. We are one of those churches. It’s a wonderful church,” he said.

In the meantime, the church’s congregation of about 130 members on any given Sunday will worship in the fellowship hall for the next four months.

“Our ultimate object is to be a people of faith, impacting the community in a positive way and growing spiritually,” Wood said. “We anticipate being strong going through this. This is a tremendous people of faith who always seem to be together in moving forward for the Lord.”