The prophet Hosea told people of Israel to “break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12 NIV)
In a few days, we will break up ground to take the next step in Reimagining our church. Following Hosea’s direction, we are sacrificing earthly treasure in gratitude for God’s never-ending love. By breaking the earth, then building it up, we will be planting that which will produce good fruit for generations to come. And in this work, we are following the example of dedicated families who came before us.
According to St Matthews Baptist Church: A Historical Perspective, our church has progressed through a series of building projects over the past 89 years. While St. Matthews Baptist was chartered in 1928, members met in borrowed facilities for several years. Our founding members raised about $3,000 to begin building a sanctuary only to see the bank in which the money had been deposited close during the Great Depression. They renewed their commitment to build with about $36 in the building fund.
During the 1930s and 1940s the church grew significantly and the building at the corner of Willis and Breckinridge was no longer sufficient. The church purchased property on Grandview Avenue in 1946 and on October 31, 1948 broke ground there. One year later, St. Matthews Baptist Church worshipped together at our current location.
Six years later, the needs of the membership grew and a decision was made to build an education building. In the fall of 1954, our predecessors broke ground again – this time laying a cornerstone for an education building as the church’s west wing.
On Palm Sunday 1978, our church held a groundbreaking for the new Educational and Christian Activities buildings and the renovation of the auditorium.
In 1982, once again the members of the church accepted the challenge of designing and building a new church after a fire destroyed the current church. The cornerstone for the current facility took place on September 8, 1985.
And now, here we are once again, answering the call, to Reimagine and accepting the call to build God’s kingdom. Our vision statement calls for us to renew our congregation, reimagine our church, refresh our campus, refocus our communications and reconnect with our city.
Just as our founders did in 1948, once again on this site, we will break ground on January 29th during our morning worship service. We will begin construction on new classrooms, a playground for children, the creation of a youth space, and renovation of the sanctuary lobby.
For 89 years, God has been faithful and God’s people have moved forward in faith.