LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Sunday was a day several years in the making at Lufkin’s First Baptist Church.
After Sunday worship, the church broke ground on their new building project with the church’s children doing the honors.
Just over two years ago the church started demolition on the 1928 chapel. Since then, the space has sat vacant.
“We started the demolition two years ago,” senior pastor Mark Newton said. “Really though, this has been a 10-year process for our entire church.”
A new building will now be built that will expand the current property by 25,000 square feet. The new building will include children’s classrooms, a children’s worship area, a new nursery, and new church offices. The building will be used for not just Sunday but for the church’s Mother’s Day Out program.
The project will also include the building of “The Reich Chandler Great Hall” which will connect the new education building and sanctuary.
Reich Chandler was a church member and the son of George and Martha Chandler. After graduating from Lufkin High School in 1985, he went to Baylor University to study law. Chandler practiced law in Houston and Dallas before returning home to practice with his father.
Sadly after battling cancer for 15 months, Chandler died in 2006 at the age of 39.
“Reich was a part of this church,” Newton said. “He grew up here and was part of this community. His parents epitomize generosity and they are generous in their support for this church and this community. It just seemed right.”
The Chandler family was in attendance.
“It is such an honor and overwhelming,” Martha Chandler said. “What an honor it is for his life. It humbles you. It was so unexpected. This is for the future and we are so excited.”
The groundbreaking is the beginning of a three-month process. In October, the church hopes to have the loan secured and plans are being finalized on the interior look. Newton hopes that building will begin at the beginning of December.