Children’s Home Spiritual Life Center nears completion
By Allen Palmeri
August 3, 2004
BRIDGETON – The Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to authorize an $850,000 line of credit July 27 to help pay for construction of a Spiritual Life Center at the entrance of the campus.
The line of credit became necessary because of cash flow problems, MBCH officials said. However, with pledges of about $1.2 million, the debt should be retired in two or three years, said Greg Morrow, chairman of the board and pastor, First Baptist Church, California.
The new building, which will resemble a church in that it will house a chapel, is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. A total of $1.6 million is needed to complete the overall project, said MBCH President Bob Kenison. A plaza and fountain will be located between the Spiritual Life Center and the Administration Building, with a new parking lot providing spaces for about 70 cars. Finishing that work will run into 2005.
“I think probably by the end of this year we will have at least a couple of million in pledges coming in, so that will be plenty of money to carry that $1.6 million,” Kenison said.
David Tolliver, president, Missouri Baptist Convention, and pastor, Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs, attended the meeting and commented on the future of the Children’s Home as he viewed the partially completed Spiritual Life Center.
“I think it’s a good idea to have that chapel and to have it so prominently out there on St. Charles Rock Road,” Tolliver said. “I think it will be the best advertisement for the Children’s Home and subsequently for the Missouri Baptist Convention that we can have in this area.”
The Children’s Home voted to trim its 2004 budget from $4.3 million to $4.0 million. Total revenue for the year through May 31 was $3.9 million, with expenditures of $4.3 million. The proposed budget for 2005 factors in a decrease in gifts from individuals from $1.5 million to $1.2 million.
Kenison explained his philosophy, which is to place a higher priority on taking care of as many children as possible in the context of attempting to strictly balance the budget.
“We can’t leave kids out on the street just so we can have a surplus,” he said.
In that light, he praised the board for approving a $200,000 line of credit for MBCH Professional Development Institute so that preventative care can be given to 250 children and their families.
“What would you give to help 250 kids?” Kenison said. “It took a little courage, a little confidence to step out and say, ‘Yes, we will do that!’”
MBCH looks to the Missouri Missions Offering (MMO) when formulating its budget. MMO contributed $96,000 to the Children’s Home in 2004, with the identical amount planned for 2005.