By Mitch Shiffer
HARVIELL—In southeast Missouri, about 10 miles south of Poplar Bluff, the First Baptist Church of Harviell is getting ready for the month of March as the people prepare to dedicate a new sanctuary.
Since the first meetings by the original members in 1915, the meeting locations for church services have been held in a schoolhouse followed by an old pool hall in the town which was acquired for meetings. This is the present site of the church.
In 1950, the previous church building was remodeled. Then on Sept. 19, 2009, construction began on the new sanctuary.
The old sanctuary received a complete makeover, transforming it into classrooms. The fellowship hall was redone as well. The new building measures around 60 feet by 60 feet, which is around the size of the old sanctuary. It has a more contemporary look, and comes with a new sound system.
Pastor Tommy Knodell explained that the main reason for the new worship center was some troublesome staircases upon entering the church.
“We are very happy to have a worship center where we don’t have to climb steps to enter the building as we did in the past,” said Knodell.
Services in the new worship center started taking place in January. On Jan. 24, some new Christians publicly professed their faith in Christ. There were 50 people attending when four new believers were baptized.
“On the second Sunday service in the new building we had 50 in attendance that day and four baptisms,” said Knodell.
The dedication service for the new worship center will take place March 7 at 2 p.m. with music and a recognition of the contractor planned for the day. There will also be tours of the building.
Knodell, who has been at First Harviell for seven of his 40 years of preaching, commented on First Harviell’s history and past preachers.
“The church has a rich history of several preachers,” he said. “At least one, whose name is Charles Chapman, served as a missionary for the North American Mission Board.”