From the pulpit Sunday morning, Pastor Duane Broadwell told the congregation of about 100, “Many of you have helped in this. Many of you have sacrificed in this. Many of you have given your time.”
The occasion was the first service at Friendship Bible Baptist Church in two years, since an electrical fire destroyed the old building on Dec. 15, 2010. Sunday’s service was followed by a reception.
Standing before the gathering Sunday, Broadwell had certain people to thank, such as David White of Reed’s Bible Baptist Church in Lexington, N.C. and the local trucking company Oakley Sortore for their help in the project. However, the thanked those who contributed in general, both in the community and outside of it.
“If you had a hand in this building, would you please stand up. Let’s give these folks a hand,” he said. “You are standing and seated on the word of God.”
Doug Jackson of Cuba, 55, a member of the congregation since he was 11 years old, is one of the trustees of Friendship Bible Baptist. He said churches elsewhere contributed items to the new church. The pews came from Assemblies of God Church in York, Pa.
“When they heard our church burned, they donated all of these. We went down and got them,” Jackson said. “They were going to put new ones in their church. They contacted us and said they wanted to donate some pews to the church. When we got there, the whole church met us and helped us load them.
“We conditioned them ourselves. We cleaned them up and reconditioned them for our use,” he said. “If we had tried to buy them new, somebody told us we would have paid $5,000 to $8,000 for one pew.”
The organ came from from Grace Bible Baptist Church in Shinglehouse, Pa., and the piano from a family in Salamanca. Virginia Bleeks, 80, a member of the church since returning to the area in 1989, said, “There’s so many memories from the old church and I’m sure there will be many memories in the new one.
“Just look at what God has done and what he is still doing,” she said. “I’m thankful today for everybody who came out to enjoy our blessings.”
Cyril and Ronna Jordan of Friendship, Methodist church members who came to Sunday’s Friendship Bible Baptist celebration afterwards, said it’s nice to see the new church built.
“Beautiful — it’s really a beautiful place to worship,” Cyril Jordan said. “They had a lot of support from all over.”
Ronna Jordan said of the new building, “It’s fantastic. It’s simple, but it’s effective.”