By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector
HARRIMAN — God is helping Big Emory Baptist Association to relocate to a much-needed newer office facility with additional space for training and ministries — all at exactly the right cost, reported Randy Roper, director of missions. In other words, the new facility after renovations will cost exactly what the association had collected for a new office, he explained.
Plans for a new office began in 2015 as the association appointed a committee and developed a building fund to address the need. Big Emory Association had been headquartered in a 2,000-square-foot building sitting on about one acre in Harriman for about 30 years.
First the committee investigated building a new building on its present site but found that the lot would require very expensive work to prepare it.
Then the committee learned of a facility that was available. The office space was in an excellent location. The committee learned of the amount of an offer on the site. Then the owners, after learning that the Big Emory Association was interested, told the committee that the association could have the facility for $20,000 less because of the Christian ministry to be done there.
After renovation costs, the total costs will amount to almost exactly what Big Emory Association has in its building fund.
“We will be able to basically write a check for everything and move in completely debt-free,” reported Roper, who was involved in the process as moderator of the association while he was pastor of Pine Ridge Baptist Church, Harriman. He was called as DOM in December 2015.
“We ourselves were totally amazed. God is good,” he added, referring to committee members (comprised of Dusty Stout, construction supervisor, David Tapp, Charlie Jones, Larry Jones, Roy Langley, Robbie Leach, and Roper).
The new facility, which includes three buildings, has space in a separate building for a food pantry. The association operates a food pantry in Wartburg and needs to open one in Harriman, explained Roper.
The new center also will allow for a conference center and more training and meeting space, which also can be used for community functions, reported Roper. The three buildings being bought by the association include about 6,000 square feet of space which sit on about one acre.
The association center will be located on Highway 27 about a mile from Interstate 40. Renovations should be completed in about six months.
“We just want it to be used for God’s glory,” said Roper. “Everyone is so excited. We’re just believing God is all over this for the future of the Big Emory Baptist Association.”