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Ground broken for church’s vision

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POSTED: October 30, 2012 8:00 a.m.
Julie Harrison/

Church and county officials toss shovel-fulls of dirt Sunday to mark the groundbreaking on a new edifice for Calvary Missionary Baptist Church that has been in its current location for nearly 75 years.

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“Today was the best day at church because I went to church, and it was the groundbreaking,” said 7-year-old Lucia Tupea Jones.

Her excitement was shared with more than 200 members of the Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond Hill. On Sunday, the groundbreaking ceremony took place in the lot next to the old church on 200 Daniel Siding Loop Rd.

“The church we now worship in was built in 1938,” said Chairman Deacon Al Williams. “This is the only African American church in America, which was completely built by Henry Ford. My grandfather, Rev. W C. Shipman, handpicked the timber — he helped built it. Ford had his woodsmen to cut it, the sawmill people to mill it, the architects designed it and carpenters built it in 1938. This churches history is rooted in Henry Ford.”

With the church’s congregation growing under Pastor Stanford L. Anderson I and First Lady Dorothy Anderson, it became apparent that more room was needed. Stanford Anderson said he saw the lack of space in 2005, when he visited the church as a guest pastor.

Anderson, who has been with the church for seven years, said the new state-of-the-art edifice, which has been in the works for the past three years, will be 15,000 square feet — large enough to feature classrooms as well as administrative offices.

“Our church is a great church, a great family,” he said Sunday during the ceremony. “It is 142 years old and has been established with a good foundation. Yes, we are excited about our edifice, not only the edifice, but building this edifice, so that we can further greater ministries here in the city of Richmond Hill. It is a great city and we are grateful to be a part of this community.”

The construction of the first phase will start Nov. 5 and is expected to take as long as 10 months to complete. A second phase is planned later, which will add a multi-purpose facility.

 

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