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Baptist Church Hopes Smaller Footprint Will Revitalize Ministry

A downtown church forges a new path when it decides to tear down two decaying buildings 
 
More than 50 years ago, a church member with a love of children badgered the Rev. Randall Lolley about the congregation's underused space: "We can't have these rooms sitting empty," Mitzi Moore told him. "I think we should start a school."
 
Scattered among the church's three large buildings that cover an entire city block in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, were 49 Sunday school classrooms.
 
In those days, First Baptist Church on Fifth, one of the city's most stately and historic congregations, had more than 2,000 members and had grown to encompass 114,000 square feet of space, including a gym and a chapel. Yet even then, classrooms stood empty during the week.
 
Lolley, one of the most forward-looking pastors of the era, agreed with Moore, and the church founded the county's first racially integrated day care for children ages 8 weeks to pre-K (plus an after-school program for children through age 12).
 
This month, the five-star center will close as the church prepares to tear down two of its buildings in a revitalization effort aimed at pushing a now much smaller congregation into the 21st century.
 
After months of investigating options for keeping the center open or moving it to a new location, the church could find no viable solution for its signature ministry, which it subsidizes with $100,000 a year. [Read Whole Article].

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