Work continues on Old Bethel church reconstruction project
December 13, 2005
JACKSON – Plans continue to restore Old Bethel Church, the first permanent, non-Catholic, religious organization west of the Mississippi River, despite the elements.
The concrete foundation was poured Dec. 2. God blessed the endeavor by holding off cold weather until after the concrete was sufficiently cured, workers said. A total of 12 commemorative foundation stones, in accordance with Joshua 4:6-7, were to be set Dec. 9 or 10, according to Joanna Perkins, archivist for the Missouri Baptist Convention Historical Commission.
Once the foundation stones are set, the first two rows of logs will be laid. Weather permitting, the concrete floor will then be poured. After that, the foundation and logs will be covered, and work on the reconstruction will move back to preparing the logs to be placed on the site in the spring, Perkins said.
A local business involved with the project has donated cash to the project. According to Melvin Gateley, Missouri Baptist Convention Historical Commission member and coordinator for the project, other local businesses are talking with him about contributing goods, services or money. He said he is encouraged that local businesses are recognizing the importance of Old Bethel’s restoration.
Gateley has also been contacted by churches wanting to send work teams to assist with the actual construction. In the spring, when placement of the logs continues, teams will be welcomed, since labor donated by churches is labor that does not have to be paid for from project funds, he said. If a church would like to provide labor, lunches, or any assistance in the building project, please contact Gateley at (573) 334-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributions are still coming in to the Old Bethel Restoration Project, but more money is needed to ensure that construction costs can be covered in the spring when work at the site resumes. Churches or individuals can send donations to the Missouri Baptist Convention, 400 E. High St., Jefferson City, MO 65101. Please designate Old Bethel in the note portion of a check and the money will be routed to the restoration project.