King Solomon to break ground for building on Oak Ridge Road

Published 2:00 am Saturday, October 6, 2012

For more than 132 years, the congregations of King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church have worshiped at the same building on Farmer Street. Today’s congregation feels it’s time for an update, and that translates into a branching out.

Because the current building is so old, updates potentially could cost more than new construction, so members decided to build, said the church’s pastor for nine years, the Rev. R.G. Bernard.

“We will turn the dirt over at 180 Oak Ridge Road,” he said, but, even after the new church is built, the congregation will continue to hold some services at its 1401 Farmer St. home.

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“We want to maintain the downtown presence because it is who we are,” Bernard said. “It’s our roots.”

On Sunday, after a 5 p.m. consecration service on Farmer Street, worshippers will be escorted by law enforcement officers to the new site for a groundbreaking.

Construction is expected to begin this month on the 31,000-square-foot building that eventually will include a fellowship hall, administrative spaces, an industrial kitchen, a nursery facility, classrooms and a 15,000-square-foot sanctuary.

The first phase, a worship center, eventually will become the fellowship hall for what Bernard calls “King Solomon north.”

“We are looking at completing this phase by late spring or early summer,” he said.

Bernard said an 11 a.m. traditional worship service and a 5 p.m. contemporary worship service will be each Sunday at the county property.

An 8:15 a.m. worship service will continue each Sunday at the Farmer Street location, he said.

“This will still be our main hub,” he said.

Weddings, baptisms and meals served each Sunday morning to anyone in the community will continue on Farmer Street.

The second phase of the construction project, expected in three to five years, will be classrooms and administrative offices.

The final phase, the sanctuary, has not been scheduled.

Moss Construction Company has been hired to build the first phase of the church.

Participating in the groundbreaking, Bernard said, will be Johnny Moss of Moss Construction; David Cox of BancorpSouth; and Warren County Supervisors John Arnold of District 1, where the Oak Ridge property is located, and Charles Selmon of District 3, where the Farmer Street church stands.

Also turning dirt, Bernard said, will be the church’s oldest member, Mother Jessie Terrell, Justice Court Judge James Jefferson Jr. and Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace.

If you go

A consecration service is planned for 5 p.m. Sunday at King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church, 1401 Farmer St., followed by a law enforcement escort to 180 Oak Ridge Road for a groundbreaking for a new church building. For more information, call 601-638-7658.