HANNIBAL – Five days before Christmas 2016, the Antioch Baptist Church near Hannibal went up in flames. A long 10 months later hope of the future began anew.
After the October 29, 2017 service, held at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Hannibal, many of the 70-member Antioch congregation gathered near where the old church, built in 1870, was lost to break ground for a new structure.
Rev. Jack Emmite, the Antioch pastor said after the groundbreaking the congregation had a “tailgating luncheon.”
“It was chilly, but it warmed a little,” Emmite said.
The new church won’t be exactly in the old location. Instead, it will be across the same lot where a parsonage was razed to make room for the new structure.
“We were delayed trying to figure where to put the septic tank. New (fire) codes won’t let us put it where the old one was in the middle of a cemetery,” he said.
Emmite expected the foundation to be poured in two weeks after the groundbreaking, weather pending. Active building of the structure could begin in April. Bleigh Construction in Hannibal will oversee the whole project and Bethel Baptist Association Director of Missions Al Groner will oversee securing volunteers for the construction.
Groner has already been in contact with local Baptist Builders, Campers on Mission, and Missourians on Mission.
“Bleigh will do the concrete work on the walkout basement and concrete the main floor. They estimate that it will be done, weather pending, in February or March (2018). We will start framing it in March or April. We’ll carry it as far as getting the walls ready for drywall. We will contract out the plumbing and heating and air-conditioning,” Groner said.
Groner is hoping to have 25 volunteers a month.
“We will be glad to hear from others who want to help. People may contact us at bethelassociation.org or call me at 573-231-6755,” Groner said.
The old church had roughly 7,700 square feet. The new one will have 10,000 square feet with total handicapped accessibility. The new church will also include a basement and will include a fellowship hall, a youth room and several classrooms.
“We hope to be in the new building this time next year.”
“We have to give thanks for our sister churches and those outside of our denomination who have helped us,” Emmite said.