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Volunteers help church grow

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

A local church was selected to receive a special gift provided by the helping hands of nearly 100 volunteers.

A group from Carpenters for Christ began construction on a new building for Friendship Baptist Church, on S. Friendship Road in Paducah, Saturday and will continue working until the project is complete Friday.

The organization is based out of Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, Ala., but the ensemble includes about 90 men from 22 churches and seven states. The group chooses one or two churches to help with a build per year, according to Pastor Jason Browning.

"We are so grateful for them feeling like this is a place that they can come and help," Browning said. "We couldn't do what we are doing without them."

Carpenters for Christ, a missions-oriented group that helps churches reach out to the community, has been traveling yearly on mission trips since 1983. The group also went to Community Church in Mountain City, Tenn., in April to provide framing, electrical and plumbing for a new worship center.

Browning said the church made contact with the group and was selected about nine months ago. Since then, church representatives have been working with the planning team to design the structure. A local sub-contractor put up the concrete slab and some of the steelwork but the walls, roof, tresses and everything else will be installed by the volunteers working from dawn to dusk throughout the week.

Volunteers have connected with members of the church through worship services, athletics activities and meals together and quickly formed a sense of community, he said.

"Them coming here to help us with this God-sized task has created so much enthusiasm and excitement in the church," Browning said. "Something we have been talking about and praying about is being built before our eyes."

The 6,500-square foot facility will be geared toward resources for children in the congregation, with eight classrooms, a nursery and large reception space to host children's choirs and bible study as well as Vacation Bible School. The church plans to have the new space open in October, according to Browning.

The children's building is the first phase of a two-step expansion project for the church. Browning said the new facility will free up valuable space inside the church for additional adult classes. Due to the record high number of more than 400 members in the church, phase two includes the future construction of a new 475-seat worship center and sanctuary space.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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