Originally created 01/24/04

Church to dedicate expansive addition



Beulah Grove Baptist Church will dedicate its Building of Opportunity in a service at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Rev. Cameron Alexander of Atlanta, the president of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, will be the guest speaker. An open house will follow the dedication at the church at 1434 Poplar St.

The 60,000-square-foot addition, a $6-million project that took more than a year to complete, has three floors of offices, classrooms, food facilities and expanded print and broadcast production areas.

The first level offers a reception area, bookstore, chapel and children's learning center. The chapel will be dedicated at 6 p.m. Monday. The learning center will be dedicated at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Brick, oak pews and stained-glass windows from the former sanctuary were incorporated into the Vernon-Key Memorial Chapel, named for the Rev. B.I. Vernon, the church pastor from 1949 to 1969, and Lawrence Key, a former deacon.

Starting Sunday, Feb. 1, the chapel will be used for children's church. The children will have their own junior deacons and ushers, ages 6 to 13, said the Rev. Gerald Johnson, the church administrator.

A learning center down a corridor will accommodate about 70 children, from six weeks to 5 years of age. Beulah Grove will operate a day care from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.

"We have already begun taking applications (for the day care). It is almost filled," the Rev. Johnson said.

A commercial-quality kitchen with deep fryers and a grill will serve the day care and a fellowship hall.

The hall will seat up to 700 people or 450 at table for church functions, wedding receptions, reunions and conferences. The room also is equipped for video conferencing.

Administrative offices, a kitchen, a library and a computer lab with Internet access will be located on the second floor. Staff will be available to familiarize people with the computers and teach them how to use software programs such as Excel and PowerPoint.

"We want to incorporate every age group" in the lab, the Rev. Johnson said.

The building's servers will be located in a media center where tapes by the Rev. Sam Davis, the pastor, will be available for members' use.

"We have basically everything Pastor Davis has ever done. It will be like a media library," the Rev. Johnson said.

A maze of Sunday school rooms of various sizes is located on the floor. There are 32 in the building. On a typical Wednesday night, more than 1,000 people come to Beulah Grove for Bible study, he said.

The second floor also provides passage to the sanctuary. Built about seven years ago, it seats about 1,900 people.

The top floor houses the music suite, which includes a recording studio, men's and women's robing rooms and space to store music. There will also be a practice hall, equipped with musical instruments. Various ministries will meet on the upper level.

Beulah Grove will be writing its own Sunday school materials in the next 18 months and making them available outside the church with the aid of an AB Dick color press. The print shop will be able to produce books and brochures for the congregation's use and for outside patrons, the Rev. Johnson said.

Sunday will be the first time most members get to walk through the addition. The church has some 5,700 names on the rolls.

"They have heard about it. Once they walk in and see it - what an experience," the Rev. Johnson said.

For more information, call 724-1086 or see the church Web site, www.beulahgrove.org.

IF YOU GO

WHO: The Rev. Cameron Alexander

WHAT: Building of Opportunity dedication

WHERE: Beulah Grove Baptist Church, 1434 Poplar St.

WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday; chapel dedication 6 p.m. Monday; and learning center dedication 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

PHONE: 724-1086

Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or virginia.norton@augustachronicle.com.