West Point Baptist Church

West Point Baptist Church was destroyed in the Jacksonville tornado of March 19, 2018. The lot has been cleared and the church hopes to begin rebuilding in May.

Members of West Point Baptist Church hope to start rebuilding in May, after the March 19, 2018, tornado in Jacksonville crushed their building. The Rev. Ronnie Moore said the congregation has grown to about 150 members, in spite of having no permanent building.

The growth, Moore said, is a result of God’s blessings and the dedicated, faithful members who have adapted to a new way of doing things.

Members moved their worship services into the Pleasant Valley Elementary School lunchroom, which has brought them into a closer relationship with the community.

The arduous weekly task of setting up and taken down chairs for services is offset by the pleasure that members get from assisting the students and faculty in several ways.

At the beginning of the school year, church members donated cleaning supplies to the school. For the school’s fall festival, they provided additional game booths. They recently provided a meal for the school staff.

After the tornado, members asked Moore to work full-time instead of part-time. The change would give him time to meet members’ needs and assist with the rebuild.

Church leaders and Moore began planning the next steps in tearing down the remains of the old building and rebuilding a new one.

They decided to move a temporary trailer to the site of the former building so that Moore could have an onsite office. Bible studies and group meetings also take place there, and leaders are able to meet with contractors at the site.

“This building will come in handy when we start the rebuilding,” Moore said. “The builders won’t have to chase someone down if they have questions.”

Moore said the design of the new building will be similar to that of the former building — with some changes.

“It will be larger due to the growth we experienced prior to the tornado,” Moore said. “We need more educational space, and the sanctuary will have more seating capacity.”

Also planned are a fellowship hall and three offices.

In a way, watching the first bricks laid at the new building will bring Moore’s life full circle. When he was a youngster, he often accompanied his father, a brick mason, on his jobs — one of which was the former home of West Point Baptist Church.

“I came here as a kid,” Moore said, “when Daddy laid the brick.”

Sherry Kughn is a local freelance writer. Contact her at skughn@hotmail.com.