Hephzibah Church family acquires new home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Hephzibah Baptist Church has grown dramatically over the five-plus years - from 400 members to 750. And, as the membership continues to grow, the church facility must also expand.

When an unexpected opportunity recently came the Hephzibah Baptist way, the church membership took advantage of it.

The church purchased 10 acres adjacent to the church complex, which includes a house and a barn.

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"We had never even thought about the property," said the Rev. Don Hatcher, pastor of Hephzibah Baptist Church. "I don't think any one of us thought it would be available, but when Jim Pouncey approached us with the idea, we didn't have to think about it very long."

Pouncey told Hatcher he had decided if he ever sold the property, he would give the church the first option on it.

"We knew that most of us would never have an opportunity like that again," Hatcher said. "We also knew that if we grow anymore, we will have to have additional space and this purchase would give us space for growth and for other opportunities."

So, without hesitation, the deal was done.

The 2,500-square foot house is in very good condition with minimal renovations needed to make it fit the needs of the church.

"We plan to use the house for five Sunday school classrooms for college students and young married couples and for wedding receptions and other special occasions," Hatcher said, adding that much of the growth of the church has been in those age groups. "We actually target young married couples by providing a children's ministry and preschool and nursery services. This past Sunday, we had 22 babies in the nursery. Young married couples and college students are areas of tremendous growth for our church."

In addition to classrooms and restrooms, the new Sunday school facility for young married couples and college students will include a large kitchen with several individual tables where members can gather for donuts, coffee and fellowship.

The house will be repainted and new carpet will be installed throughout to ready it for its new use as a Sunday school classroom facility.

There is a large deck on the back, which will be used as a picnic and relaxation area. The house also has a wrap-around porch that will serve the same dual purpose.

A fenced-in playground area at the back of the house will be designed specifically for children ages 3, 4 and 5.

Another outstanding feature of the property is a barn outback.

"Jim Pouncey said the barn is the one thing he really hated to give up," Hatcher said. "It's a wonderful structure made from rough-cut timber. It's 1,500 square feet and has a concrete floor. We plan to use 500 square feet for storage and the other 1,000 square feet for a recreation center for young people, from middle school age through college."

Hatcher said activities will be planned times for the different age groups.

"We'll have pool tables, ping-pong tables, computer games, snack and drink machines and other things that will make it a place where young people want to spend time together," Hatcher said.

A walkway and bridge will connect the church parking lot and the new Hephzibah Annex and The Barn to the present church complex and an ambitious dedication date of Feb. 1 has been set.

"That's not a lot of time but we believe it time enough," Hatcher said. "That will be a great day in the life of our church and we are looking forward to it."