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News 3 Neighbor: New Salem Baptist Church

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The town of Talbotton witnessed an amazing sight last week...a church being built from the ground up in one week! 

The project began on Saturday morning with a prayer on a concrete slab.  A group called Carpenters for Christ traveled from eight states to help build a new sanctuary for New Salem Baptist Church in Talbotton.

Pastor Kenneth Parker was overwhelmed.  "I feel a lot of joy, a lot of awe and really unbelief that they would come this far.  Some drove as long as 16 hours to get here."

Dave Tiswell has been working with Carpenters for Christ for 28 years.  He's the project foreman from Attalla, Alabama.  He's overseeing the work of some 75 folks who wanted to be on this team.  Tiswell says, "These folks are not just out here as volunteers.  They paid $120 apiece to get to come and do this, so that gives you some idea of the kind of heart that's involved in it."

Pastor Parker has been on two church building trips like this one.  Now, he and his congregation are on the receiving end.  Parker says, "This is the first significant thing that's happened in their lives, other than say children being born, to see a brand new church building this size."  Parker says you could fit their current church building, which is over 100 years old, into the sanctuary of the new church.

Tiswell adds this type of construction arrangement is a blessing for small churches.  "Usually when a church gets to the point where they can do something like this, a lot of times they can afford the material for it but can't afford for the whole thing to be contracted.  We've got numerous contractors involved with us, so they're actually getting as much of a donated contractor-built building as they are a volunteer building."

Not everyone on the construction team does this type of work for a living.  According to Tiswell, "The building team is comprised of so many different backgrounds, and when you bring them together in one mind and one accord at one place, then magic can happen."

A time lapse video taken over the course of a week shows the building going up in dramatic fashion.  I asked Dave since Jesus was a carpenter, does he think the Lord smiles on projects like this one?  Dave's response: "I would certainly hope so.  It's not about the building.  If you look at our logos on our trailers and things, we build the building and He builds the church."

Pastor Parker expects to be in his new church building by August.

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