HILLVIEW - The temperatures were cold and the snow was piled along the parking lot.
But there was nothing but warmth inside Unity Baptist Church.
Faced with more than its share of obstacles over the past year, pastor Rob Rodgers said the members have survived. And they have survived stronger than ever.
Last December, all the church property was lost when fire destroyed its leased facility on Hillview Boulevard.
That was just the first of many obstacles.
But those were overshadowed with the joy of dedicating a new building on the corner of Jeffie Lane and Blue Lick Road.
“While this building is beautiful...this building is not the church,” said Rodgers. “The people are the church.”
Rodgers said the congregation had gone through so much since the fire last December. The offerings from the community were overwhelming.
The church never missed a Sunday service, starting with a stint at Hebron Middle and then in a building off Highway 1020.
On the night of the fire, Rodgers remembered thinking, “don’t let the flock
scatter. At all cost, don’t let the flock scatter.”
To his surprise, the flock not only stayed together, it grew. Nearly 100 people were at the recent dedication service.
He thanked the many contractors who worked on the church and the many members who spent many hours pulling everything together. He praised the insurance company for its cooperation. And he thanked the community for offering so much support and assistance in so many ways.
During its stay off Highway 1020, the issue was that the building wasn’t large enough to handle the number of people who wanted to attend services.
Rodgers said Christ is the foundation of the congregation and he was so proud of the people who stayed together and worked so hard to make the dream stay alive.
Rodgers told the members that the obstacles went as far as the night before the dedication when the parking lot was covered with snow and ice. But someone came forward to make sure it was safe for members on Sunday morning.
“The congregation was willing to put up with obstacles,” said Rodgers.
He joked that the real work had just begun.
“We have to fill up the church,” said the minister. “We are obligated to bring in the lost and bring them into church.”
The facility includes the sanctuary, as well as a large community room and kitchen in the basement and several Sunday School rooms.
Members enjoyed the morning worship and then a special meal to honor the dedication.
“We’re not here to worship the building but to thank God for the building,” said Rodgers.