Second Baptist dedicates new building

Monday, May 5, 2003

It took faith, dedication and commitment to keep Second Baptist Church going for more than 130 years.

And it is faith that will lead Second Missionary Baptist Church into the future, its members say.

Members of the second-oldest black church in Cape Girardeau celebrated the completion of its new building at 285 Beaudean on Sunday with a dedication service.

About 60 people attended the 90-minute event, including Cape Girardeau City Councilman Matt Hopkins, building contractor Tom Nall, representatives from other black churches in the community, friends and former members.

The Rev. Wiley Reed, pastor, presented large wooden keys to the church to Hopkins, Nall and Robert Parsons, who helped the church with its window tinting. Keys also were given to the chairmen of the deacon and trustee boards.

Reed encouraged the audience to visit the church whenever they feel discouraged or down. "It's not only our home but yours," he said. "This is our spiritual home."

Second Baptist has been in need of a new home for many years. Their former building on Frederick was well over a century old and was beginning to show serious signs of disrepair.

About five years ago, the church began to consider a move. Originally, the congregation intended to rebuild at the Frederick site. But the area was landlocked, and that meant no room for expansion.

The new building at Beaudean and Elm streets sits on almost two acres. The facility is just the first phase of construction, though it will likely be several years before any additions, like more classroom space, a larger kitchen and fellowship hall, are considered, said Henry Terry, chairman of the church's board of trustees.

Several times, in songs and in prayers, people gave thanks for God's blessings. "We've been blessed financially and spiritually," said Queenella Frierson, who spoke briefly about the financial gifts the church received during its construction.

The new facility came with about a $300,000 price tag. The majority of the money for the work was raised through memorial gifts and pledges made in the "Together We Build" capital campaign. The project didn't come without some trials and tribulations -- weather delays and city inspections slowed things down -- but "we've come this far by faith and faith will lead us on," Frierson said.

Elner Miller, 92, is pleased with the new building. "I've been a member all my life," she said. "It's amazing. I didn't think I'd live to see this."

But she still has fond memories of the old church on Frederick Street. "I've seen many changes in that building," she said.

The congregation still owns the old property and will use it to hold church fund-raising dinners and benefits.

ljohnston@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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