Emmanuel Baptist Church to add children’s wingWritten by David Yonke Editor, ToledoFAVS.com | | David.Yonke@ReligionNews.com
On Nov. 24, Emmanuel Baptist Church will dedicate a new $1.6 million children’s wing that adds more space, more color and more security to the church’s ministry for children, from infants to elementary school kids.
Decorated with vibrant wallpaper featuring cartoon-like backgrounds from the Bible era, the new wing adds about 20,000 square feet of space to the existing 8,000-square-foot children’s area, which was built in the 1960s.
“The old children’s area was really outdated and overcrowded,” said the Rev. Duke Crawford, senior pastor since 2009.
Traffic in the new wing’s hallways should flow much more smoothly — unless people stop and stare at the artwork. The wide hallways spring to life with the heavy-duty murals by Wacky World Studios, a company whose founder, Bruce Barry, honed his craft working for Universal Studios and designing Rainforest Cafes.
The Rev. Dave Rodgers, pastor of soul care and family ministries, pointed out that the children can write on the walls in the new rooms — “but only in specified spots,” he quickly added.
The leadership of Emmanuel Baptist, a church founded in 1898 and affiliated with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, had been discussing adding a new children’s wing for about 10 years, Crawford said.
As of spring 2012, they had saved up $500,000 toward a $2.5 million blueprint for the new addition.
Everything needed to get the project going came together unexpectedly when the building fund was boosted by the bequests of two estates — those of Beulah Lewis, who owned the Scripture Supply Store in Sylvania, and Roger and Florence Dunbar, who in 2000 had also helped fund the building of Emmanuel Baptist Elementary School, now Emmanuel Christian School.
The church suddenly had $1.5 million in the bank, Crawford said, and the leadership decided to scale down its plans so the children’s wing could be built with the money in hand.
“It’s a wonderful thing how God worked on this,” said Crawford.
The church hired Thomas DuBose & Associates for the architectural work and The Dotson Company as general contractor.
Ground was broken in October 2012 and the project took a little more than a year to complete. Crawford said Emmanuel Baptist has invited all the construction workers and others involved in the project to attend the dedication service because the 700-member church would like to honor them for their efforts.
Standing in one of the wide, brightly lit hallways shortly before the building was completed, Crawford said security has been a priority from the start. Parents and guardians will have to sign their children in, and no adults will be allowed into the children’s areas unless they are working.
“Safety is a big thing throughout the whole check-in and check-out process,” he said.
Rodgers, who joined Emmanuel Baptist in 2008, said the floors are divided into “splash” areas with tile, for kitchen and crafts, and carpeted areas for playtime, Bible stories and other activities. Each room in the new wing has its own bathroom, he added.
Coinciding with the dedication of the new addition will be the release of a new children’s book titled “Breeze & Slate,” written by Crawford and illustrated by church member Sandy Chipka.
“It’s a story of two horses. The one with the best master is the one with the best life. Jesus is the best master to serve,” Crawford said.
Crawford said the focus of Emmanuel Baptist’s children’s ministry is to give the future generation a Bible-based foundation.
“We want a children’s ministry founded on God’s word. The most significant thing to us is that the children learn about Jesus,” he said.
For the dedication on Nov. 24, Emmanuel Baptist Church will host an open house from 9-10:45 a.m.; a worship service from 10:30-11:45 a.m., and a book sale from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The church is at 4207 Laskey Road, Toledo.
For more information, call (419) 473-3280 or visit the website www.emmanuelbaptist.com.
David Yonke is the editor and community manager of Toledo Faith & Values (ToledoFAVS.com), a website that provides in-depth, nonsectarian news coverage of religion, faith and spirituality in the Toledo area.
Tags: Beulah Lewis, Bible, Bruce Barry, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Emmanuel Baptist Elementary School, Emmanuel Christian School, General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, God, Rainforest Cafe, Rev. Dave Rodgers, Rev. Duke Crawford, Roger and Florence Dunbar, Sandy Chipka, Scripture Supply Store, The Dotson Company, Thomas DuBose & Associates, Universal Studios, Wacky World Studios