The grand opening of First Baptist Church of Rincon’s new children’ ministry building went just swimmingly Sunday morning.
Members of the church joyously cut the ribbon to the newest building on their campus, a two-story, 24,000 square foot structure. The building houses the church’s Sunday school programs, with the younger set occupying the first floor and the older kids having their classes on the second floor.
“The purpose of this building is for the children of our community, that the children come to know Jesus Christ,” said Bob Rogers, pastor of First Baptist Church of Rincon.
Built by Pope Construction, the children’s ministry building has 17 classrooms and a children’s church room. The second floor connects to the second floor of the educational building and social hall.
One of the classrooms was designed specifically for children with special needs. It has a hospital bed in the room and its own handicapped-accessible bathroom.
There’s also a room for nursing mothers, with rocking recliners.
Associate pastor Dr. Bill Gammon, the minister of education, helped guide the décor of the building. The walls are adorned with children’s artwork, all with a nautical theme, and mobiles of fish hanging in the stairwells. With the stairwell windows facing the street, the fish mobiles — with aqua-colored walls behind them — are designed to look as if an aquarium.
“I love the colors. They’re bright, they’re exciting,” Gammon said. “It’s child-friendly. The colors make it a kid place.”
Work began on the children’s ministry building in 2009, and Rogers conducted the first children’s service Sunday morning — in front of dozens of wide-eyed children, marveling at their surroundings.
“I am so excited, I haven’t been able to sleep,” Gammon said. “It’s a dream come true. It’s an amazing experience. There’s a great deal of thought behind the logistics and usage of the building, especially in the children’s worship area.”
The stage of the children’s worship area is constructed to look like a small village, with a post office, fire department and a replica of the Tybee lighthouse. It’s the set for children’s puppet shows.
Becky Cowart, the children’s church director, had a huge hand in the design.
“I had this vision and finally it happened. Wow,” she said.
Jill Allen, who was on the building committee along with her husband Toss Allen, Freddy Long and Wayne Whitley, was equally joyous over the new building being ready.
“It means the world,” she said. “It means the world to us to have this for our children and to share with other children. It’s awesome.”
There are about 200 children in the church’s children’s ministry, and the building for them was done in time and under budget. The church had no debt went it started this project and continued to budget for debt service. Even though the church has continued to grow, it too has tightened its budget.
“It made it possible, even in a tight economy,” Rogers said.
Adults and children alike are delighted the building has turned it out the way it has.
“I think it exceeds our expectations,” Rogers said. “It’s pretty amazing.”