It’s been five years in the making but the congregation of Gate City United Methodist Church joyfully dedicated a brand-new addition to their church located at 255 Walnut Street.
The special ceremony led by the church pastor, the Rev. Betzy Elifrits Warren, was held Sunday morning in the church fellowship hall.
The new 4,800-square-foot three-floor addition is home to a new nursery. Funding for the nursery was courtesy of a donation by the late B.J. Broadwater. The addition also includes new classrooms, restroom facilities, an elevator, meeting space for the youth and additional space for mechanical needs.
“This is a great day for Gate City United Methodist Church,” explained Wayne McClelland, chairman of the church’s administrative council. “This day came about because of the love and prayer of B.J. Broadwater, who honored his wife and the love of children. He was the impetus to grow this building project.”
McClelland said Broadwater was concerned about the church’s nursery and after much prayer and deliberation donated a large sum of money to kick-start the building project five years ago. Church members became involved as the need to have handicapped accessibility became more apparent.
“The whole key is B.J. Broadwater got this started with the love he had for his wife and eventually with prayer and reflection he wanted us to build a new addition,” he said. “Today we dedicate this $600,000 facility that was built debt-free. When I look at it, I see B.J. Broadwater, his prayers and the love and prayers of the church.”
Broadwater’s daughter, Beverley Broadwater Roberts and her daughter, Kelley Roberts, both of Knoxville, Tenn. attended Sunday’s emotional ceremony.
“Dad loved children and wanted to show his love through his church,” noted Beverley Roberts.
McClelland added that the leadership of Bill Johnson, chairman of the church’s board of trustees, was essential in keeping the project on track.
The Rev. Archer Coppedge, district superintendent of the Big Stone Gap District of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church, challenged the church to fill the new space with new members.
“This is the answer to your prayers and the beginning to many new prayers,” Coppedge said. “This is a fantastic facility that will meet your needs and give you space to grow. Five years ago, there were many ideas. From many came one plan and one work. Now you should become a stronghold of Christ and bring in new people to Christ.”
The church pastor, who has a small son of her own, was grateful to the church’s support of the building project and noted that her young son, Benjamin, was looking forward to spending time in the new nursery.
“Eleven months ago, we broke ground on this new addition,” Warren said. “Although I wasn’t here when we broke ground on the new addition, Benjamin is excited about the new nursery and has already had a tour.”
Church members were invited to tour the new addition and told to pay close attention to the brand-new nursery named to honor their late benefactor and his wife, the B.J. and Jonsy Broadwater Nursery.
“This is the beginning not the end,” McClelland noted. “Look at what great things we can do with love and prayer. So please don’t stop loving, praying or giving.”