The Chapel of Prayer Baptist Church has a new evangelism and spiritual enrichment tool: a nearly 10,000-square-foot multipurpose Family Life Center.
“It’s already making a difference because we have more space for activities and more people,” said Misty Goodspeed, who directs the youth department with her husband, Dave. “We are really hoping to bring in more kids and more people from the community so that we can make a difference in their lives.”
Although the center already is being used for youth gatherings, senior lunches, classes, meetings and activities, a dedication service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and picnic after the service. The ceremony will include music by the Joyfulaires, a Southern Gospel quartet from Charleston, W.Va.
The church congregation began discussing the need for more space 13 years ago, but moved slowly to be sure the project could be finished without financial hardship. After 12 years of donations to a building fund, church leadership was confident the small, independent Baptist church, which attracts about 200 people on Sundays, could support the more than $350,000 project.
“We weren’t trying to do anything that we couldn’t afford. We just wanted something that was usable,” said the Rev. Sherman Bailey, pastor. “We were blessed to have men and women in this church who volunteered to do the work on the inside. If it hadn’t been for their dedication, this building would be a shell.”
The metal-frame building includes a commercial kitchen with granite countertops, classroom space, new handicap-accessible restrooms, basketball hoops and an elevator. Bailey said the space has been the impetus for planning new ministry activities and classes for all age groups and outreach to the community, including sports nights and exercise classes.
The church already hosts youth activities on Wednesday nights, a children’s AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) discipleship program on Sundays and a monthly luncheon for seniors, which attracts about 50 people. The congregation also supports 36 missionaries worldwide and local missions, including Haven of Rest, Akron Pregnancy Services, Harvest Home and a jail and prison ministry.
“We have been trying to be here for the community. We don’t believe the church should sit here like a big tombstone,” Bailey said. “If we can offer a place to help get kids off the streets and to give senior citizens someplace to go, then we are doing something to help breathe life back into this Chapel Hill area.”
Bailey has served as pastor of the church, at 1811 Brittain Road, for 28 years. He is the fourth pastor of the 58-year-old church, which was established by the Revs. Frank and John Neal from Akron Baptist Temple.
According to church records, Chapel of Prayer was one of the first buildings in the area and is the reason the nearby mall chose the name “Chapel Hill.” The church initially purchased 14 acres and subsequently sold all but the 4.5 acres the church sits on.
The church offers worship services at 9 and 11 a.m., with Sunday School at 10 a.m. A Sunday evening service from September through May begins at 6 p.m., and a prayer service and Bible study start at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.
For more information about the Chapel of Prayer, call 330-633-7575 or go to www.chapelofprayer.com.