AND OPENED THE LIFEGATE
By May, 1944, the church was making definite plans for erecting a new building. It was decided to purchase the lot belonging to Paul Surratt which was directly west across South Franklin Road from the church building. But the reality of World War II which brought a scarcity of building materials made progress toward a new building immediately impossible. In August, the offer bo buy the lot was withdrawn. Building plans were put on hold until the war ended.
While waiting for the end of the war, the church first began holding weekly Wednesday night prayer meetings at the church in September, 1944. Previous prayer services were held in homes and at the church, but not on a regular basis. In May, 1945, the church voted to begin "full time work," that is to hold services every Sunday morning and evening.
Work toward a new building was begun on February 24, 1945, when J. A. Nichols, Russell Hiatt, Joe Hall, Connie White, and Allen Nichols were "given the authority to purchase a building site not to be over 1/4 mile from the present site" and to be located on the highway (South Franklin Road). On February 25, the trustees entered into a contract to purchase eight lots of the Charlie P. Creed estate for $2,000.00. These lots, fronting South Franklin Road, were about 1/4 mile southwest of the 1914 structure. The present worship center still stands on this site.
Surveying began on the new church building in May, 1947. Over $10,000 having already been raised, the church voted to take out a $5,000 loan from Workmen's Federal Savings and Loan on November 30, 1947. With continued financial support from the congregation and friends, and with assistance from the Baptist State Convention, construction soon began. A Gothic style brick church with a bell tower, sanctuary, chapel, kitchen, eight classrooms, and a balcony was begun. Members of the church donated much of their time and talents toward completing the new church building. After leaving work, many of the men of the church would work at the construction site until well into the night several nights a week. Through their efforts, the wiring was completed, the paneling was installed and finished, the basement dug, thus saving the congregation much in labor costs. The church completed its relocation and occupied its new facilities on Sunday, October 10, 1948.
On August 1, 1948, the trustees were authorized to sell the 1914 church property as residential property only. The building was used for storage purposes and was rented out until Johnson and Rachel Phillips bought the property on December 6, 1950, for $1,200. In 1952, the north and south Sunday School wings were removed from the original building and moved together right in front of the original church to form the home of the Phillipses. The original 1914 structure was torn down in 1951 and 1952.
In February, 1949, the Reverend William H. Poindexter was called to serve as pastor. He served until December, 1952. During these years, the members were generous in their gifts and free labor to provide for additional space needed for Sunday School rooms in the basement of the church. Also, in July, 1950, a loan was authorized for the construction of a parsonage on the church site adjoining the 1948 building.