Sunday, May 11, 2008

Jackson Park Baptist Church

Shortly after we joined Morris Field Baptist Chapel, the congregation changed the name to Jackson Park Baptist Church. The barrack building was not suited for renovation so the church decided to buy the old Officers Club across the road which had been used for a machine shop for the last few years. It was a mess but we saw that it had the right kind of space and had the potential to be made into a great church building. The old shop was almost free because it was not fit for much of anything and the owners just wanted to get rid of it. We envisioned that we could use it much better that our old building. With the help of all of the members we were able to convert it into a fine little church. Since I was a fireman, I had the days off every other week and could work along with many other members of the church to help make the conversion. It did not take us long before we had finished the project and had a place of worship.

One day Murle Jones and I were working on the building. Murle was in the attic and I was working in the bathroom. I heard Murle holler really loudly for me to come into the sanctuary. I ran in and saw two feet just a swinging around! He had fallen through theceiling and with the big tool belt that he had on he could not fall
down and could not climb back up into the attic, he was stuck and at my mercy to rescue him. Once I knew he was OK, I knew this sure was going to be a fun day in the old church house. I got a big step ladder and put it up so he could climb back through the ceiling. After this happened, we decided that there should always be at least two working together at all times. The church was on a hill which made it possible for us to add a downstairs. We dug out the dirt and poured concrete. Mr. Withrow, the man that built Jackson Park homes sent over his brick masons and furnished all of the materials to brick it up at no cost to us. He was not a member of the church but was a good man that the Lord used to get the church building completed and to help make for a great started for the church in this new location. If it had not been for him it may have taken much longer to complete this project. Later on members of the church were able to move the base chapel, which had been used by the Methodist Church, over to our property. That gave us a big worship center to go with the older buildings.

The church still stands and is used greatly throughout the neighborhood of Jackson Park and airport area. It is now Jackson Park Ministries and is being used for a cause that we never dreamed about back when the Chapel and Church were started in the early 1950s. You can see that God can see what is in the future better than we can envision. Listen to me tell this story.

This is the first church that I really got involved in and it was the church where my children got their start. When we started this church we thought that it would be only for a few years before the airport would take it over. However, it is still the heart of the community today. Every time I ride by the church and see how it is being used, I thank God that I had a little part in its beginning. We remained members there until later when we moved to Barringer Drive and joined Westover Baptist Church.


Mike said...

I think the only memory I have of that church was that we went back for a homecoming.

Barb said...

Happy Birthday Mr. Gurley!!! Hope you and your famly have a great week at the beach. Barb