Baptist church to break ground
With its inclusion in the city of Eudora’s lawsuit with Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4 behind it, the First Southern Baptist Church of Eudora now can start worrying about the typical things that can slow down construction of new facilities, such as inclement weather.
“We’re praying for a spring with some rain, but we don’t need any gully-washers in April,” Wood said.
The congregation was added to the lawsuit in January after the site of its new church, which will be built on 20th Street to the north of Eudora High School, was annexed into the city in April.
Though the area wasn’t within RWD 4’s boundaries, the district stated that it could plausibly serve the church but the city’s annexation of the land prevented the district from being able to do so.
However, Judge Julie A. Robinson ruled on March 9 that the district could not prove it had a legal right to serve the property.
“We’re very pleased with that (ruling),” FSBC Pastor Kevin Wood said. “To be honest, it was a long time coming.”
The inclusion of the church in the lawsuit would have been especially harmful to the church because it had a group of about 900 volunteers from Builders for Christ coming to help build the facilities during the summer.
The group wouldn’t have been able to help with construction if the church still was part of the suit, thus delaying construction and possibly causing the church to lose as much as $900,000 in labor costs.
The church now will have a ground-breaking ceremony at noon March 29 with construction beginning April 1.
Groups with Builders for Christ will arrive on May 23 and will come and go in waves until October, with the construction being about 90 percent finished upon their departure. The 12,000-square-foot facility could be finished by Thanksgiving.
Wood also anticipated the arrival of the group could be a boon to businesses in the area.
“It’s hard to measure what kind of impact this is going to have on the local economy because these people are going to have to be housed and fed during the period that they’re here,” he said. “At the very least, what our build does for Eudora is it brings some momentum and people to a community that may not be moving forward very quickly right now.”
FSBC’s current building, which is at 1103 Main St., was built in the late 1960s and has a capacity of about 200. However, there are about 250 people who attend the church.
“That (lack of space) is a pretty limiting factor for how big our church can grow,” Wood said “What the new building will immediately do is feed a cycle of growth so that we can begin to think about expanding youth ministries and a couple of other things.
“One thing we are convinced about is that there is a need in this area for evangelical churches that have the capacity, the wherewithal and the desire to reach the community.
Jeff Ingle, Associate Pastor at FSBC, viewed the whole experience — what has happened and what is to come — as somewhat of a metaphor for life.
“If it was easy, would we really need God that much,” he asked. “We do all the work we can and leave the rest up to God.”