Community Baptist Church rejoices in congregation's move to larger site Member says space needed because 'Lord wanted us to do more work for Him'

June 24, 1996|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,SUN STAFF

When she walked into the large gray building at 827 Cherry Hill Road yesterday, Terri Beads had just one thought. "I felt so great all I could say was, 'Praise the Lord,' " she said as she surveyed the new home of the Community Baptist Church of Cherry Hill in Baltimore.

The 120-member congregation, led by her uncle, the Rev. Dr. Calvin M. Thomas, officially and joyfully dedicated its new building yesterday.

Members attended Sunday school in the old church, a smaller building at 710 Cherry Hill Road, then spilled out into the sunshine to walk one block to their new home. Along the way they sang hymns.

Members of other churches in the neighborhood came outside to watch and wave, showing their support. "We had a glorious time marching up here. The other churches were on their steps cheering us on," Thomas said.

He founded the church in December 1978 and watched it outgrow the 120-seat church during the past 17 years.

"The Lord laid it upon my heart that it was time to move. We didn't have room to do all the things we wanted to do," said Thomas, who works with two associate ministers, the Rev. Gerald Cheatam and the Rev. Norman Eaton.

The pastor learned that another church would be leaving the building at 827 Cherry Hill Road for a larger home. So Community Baptist bought the building, which seats 500, for $228,000 in May, Thomas said. The congregation now has enough room to grow, open a soup kitchen, have banquets and get involved in community projects, he said.

Joseph A. Fields, president of the church's Usher Board, said of the new facility: "It's another blessing from the Lord. The Lord wanted us to do more work for Him, and we needed more room."

As more than 100 people prayed, sang and celebrated their first service in their new home, the deserted old church was locked tight, a "For Sale" sign dangling by the front door.

Pub Date: 6/24/96

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