Back in 1880, founding members of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church had a vision. They wanted to purchase land for the sole purpose of constructing a church and/or school and to be a vital part of the community.
One hundred and twenty-seven years later their dreams have finally come true.
The current members of the church have built a $1 million center for its church members and other citizens of the community to use.
“This has been in the works for awhile,” said Thomas Taylor, historian of the church.
As the church began to grow, signs that a community center were needed began to show.
Back in 2000, the newly-formed committee went to the Mayo family who owned the land on the north side of the church to discuss purchasing around two acres of land for the center to be built on. After a few meetings the family decided to donate the land.
“This was just a blessing,” said Taylor.
Once the land was theirs, the next hurdle was to find a financial institution who would lend the church the funds needed to construct the center. BancorpSouth was that company.
Plans for the center were borrowed by Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Flint, Mich. Self Tucker Architects out of Memphis was the firm chosen to do the work.
Over time, Bill Simpson was elected as foreman of the project and was in charge of hiring the contractors to construct the 23,000 square foot building.
“Mr. Simpson did a great job,” said Taylor. “Through his hard work thousands of dollars were saved.”
The center had to meet certain standards and fire codes along the way. The building has a steel frame, fire-retardant sheetrock and water sprinklers.
The center offers many activities for the community. Inside the Community Resource Center is a full-sized gym, walking track, an exercise room, which already has some exercise equipment available, a game room, meeting rooms, a full-sized kitchen and pantry. Other rooms consist of a book store, concession stand and plenty of restrooms.
Future plans are to offer after school tutoring/daycare services, computer lab, teen pregnancy prevention classes and other programs, such as drug and alcohol prevention, minor healthcare screening and a place for senior citizen outreach.
“We want to encourage members of the community to use this facility,” said Taylor.
For more information about the Community Resource Center, call the church at 901-476-9746. The church is located at 831 Hwy. 14, Covington.