By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6
COFFEYVILLE, KS -- A Coffeyville church is celebrating a new home on Sunday. A year after devastating floods destroyed their old building, dozens of worshippers showed up for the first service in a renovated school gym.
Last summer Bible Baptist celebrated its 50th anniversary. Two weeks later the flood wiped out all that history. Worshippers say getting back together was a true test of faith.
"We hope to have this building right here be a lighthouse for the community," said Pastor Daniel Knight, Bible Baptist Church.
The 100 member church was displaced by the floods. At its height, the 50-year-old sanctuary was covered in eight feet of water.
"Basically everything that we had over in that building is gone, besides that cross back there," said Pastor Knight.
After months of jumping around town, taking the cross with them, they have a permanent home. Galen Love says this service has extra meaning.
"The church itself, being able to pull through this and show that we're not seeing it as adversity, but seeing it as an opportunity to move forward, I think the same is true for the city as a whole," said Coffeyville resident, Galen Love.
The church is an abandoned middle school and three times the size of the original church. The sanctuary is the old gym.
The Sunday school classes are held where math class was once taught. Worshippers say they want to lead an example.
"This being a new, remodeled building, I believe it might draw a few new people in just to see what's new and what has been done. And by doing so, hopefully maybe someone will be turned to the Lord," said churchgoer, Dwight Cooper.
Cooper hopes their strength of spirit will open hearts for generations to come.
In total, the church is 300,000 square feet. To help the congregation find its permanent home after months of uncertainty, the city of Coffeyville sold the building to Bible Baptist for under $1 million dollars. That's about $3 a square foot.