Antioch Baptist Church receives help from volunteers

Perry Lee, directs volunteers who began the refurbishment process for the roof of Antioch Baptist Church on Thursday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

Volunteers began the refurbishment process for of the roof of Antioch Baptist Church on Thursday.

Antioch Baptist Church was recently inspected by City Planning and Community Development director Buddy Sanders. In 2015, the city was told there would be improvements, but since then there have not been any improvements. After a meeting with the city, Pastor Mary Carr said there is a roofing company coming to fix the roof issue.

Pastor Mary Carr said the congregation has encountered problems with members dying, members leaving and is currently facing financial difficulties.

During the presentation for the board, Sanders showed photos and video to show visuals of the roof falling apart and windows broken.

Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A'. Perkins said the city can’t sit and knowingly let a dilapidated building like Antioch Baptist remain idle.

The Starkville Board of Aldermen approved a motion to give both Second Baptist Church and Antioch Baptist Church 60 days to bring the buildings into complete compliance with Starkville building codes.

The volunteer group came together after the church's situation was brought to the attention of Danny Cheatham of First Baptist Church.

Cheatham said his bible study group decided unanimously it would provide the resources for the improvements for the church.

Cheatham called on a friend, Perry Lee of Carpenters for Christ, and asked if they could come and help fix the roof.

Carpenters for Christ is a small group of volunteers across the southeast who help rebuild damaged churches. The group normally does one project a year.

"The little old church with a small membership, just doesn't have the resources to do anything with it," Cheatham said. "So we have come together as a group and raised the money and got volunteers to come in and hopefully we will have it completed by Jan. 15."

For Cheatham, he said as he's gotten older the most important thing in life is a person's relationship with God.

"When you help others, you get one of the greatest feelings there is," Cheatham said.

Perry Lee, leader for Carpenters for Christ said he was called by Cheatham for his help. Lee came to Starkville and assessed the building and decided to gather a small team to help the church.
Carpenters for Christ provides free labor for all of the churches they work on.

"All we ask the church to do is cook us some sweets , because you know, men like sweets." Lee said laughing.

The group also asks to have a dinner and for the pastors and deacons to provide them with the lord's supper.

"People just don't realize what God can take a group of men and do in 10 days," Lee said. "It's amazing how that group of men can come together one time a year and walk up on a job like this and everything just starts falling in place."

Lee said with the 60 day notice to come into compliance with the city's code, with their help, the church will hopefully ready by then. He said with the weather and holidays, it will take probably the entire time.

"Evidently God wants this church left here or we wouldn't be here," Lee said. "If it's one life saved in this church, it's worth every penny that we spend and all of our time."

Carr said she is excited and thankful to have this group come and help them to get the church back to where it used to be.

"We're beside ourselves, we're grateful," Carr said. "People will see that the church is being fixed up."

With changes being made at Antioch Baptist Church and at Second Baptist Church, Perkins said he is pleased with the efforts by both churches.

"We are just so ecstatic that both properties are making great progress in terms of getting the properties all cleaned up," Perkins said.

Perkins said even with the efforts being made, he said the board will not grant leniency or extensions, but will look at the facts and circumstances presented and evaluate them at the 60 day period.

"The board will take each of these matters up for consideration at our meeting Jan 16, 2018," Perkins said. "At that time we will make whatever decision that we may deem to be best under the facts and circumstances with regard to each of the properties."