Frances DelandeLinks Section
Victory Baptist Chapel
Having no place to meet, we searched the area but were unsuccessful in our efforts to find a temporary home. Our first meeting place was in Maggie and Frank Dutcher’s home. We moved into their two car garage which we eventually remodeled into a lovely sanctuary, and Sunday School classes were spread throughout the Dutcher home. On October 15, 1995 we constituted with 52 charter and 13 non-charter members.
In keeping with His graciousness and their obedience to Him, the Lord led Frank and Maggie to donate some land to us on which we planned to build a new home. With that in mind, we began a building fund and on December 7, 1997 we had a kick off dinner for our “Challenge to Build” campaign. With the help of Brother Ty Salter of the State Convention, we began a three year fund raising effort with the hope of building in 2000. Our hopes were dimmed but not extinguished in September of 1998 when Rodney accepted a full time Pastorate with First Baptist Church in Barnesville.
We continued the fund raising, and a year later Brother Darrell Chapman came to serve as our Interim in October of 1999. In September of 2000 we met and determined we would begin construction in the spring of 2001. Although we had had to cancel David Reynolds and his crew in 2000, he graciously agreed to take our building on as a project in July of 2001.
With David scheduled for July, we began ground preparation in April and were able to get the slab poured on June 23. Lynn Zerkle, Rick Davis and others from Faith Baptist in Belle Valley did the ground work and got things ready to pour the slab. Materials were ordered and on site when the first of the volunteers arrived on June 30. Neighbors and passers-by were as amazed and astonished as we were at the speed with which these volunteers got the building up. David’s crew was here for a month, after which John Shuler’s Missourians on Mission came for about a week to do most of the finish work. Even with all the volunteers, including many from our own Association, there was much to be done after they were all gone. During the next four months there were many other chores to be done and inspections to be scheduled. The final inspection and permit to occupy came about on January 9, 2002 and we moved into the new multi-use Worship Center which God had given us. We are very grateful to our Creator God, His Son and our Savior Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for seeing us through such an exciting time in the life of His Church. The year 2001 will never be forgotten by those of us who were here to see God at work on our behalf.
Brother Darrell told us he would see us through the building program, and after having done so, he resigned as our Interim Pastor on December 30, 2001. From January of 2002 we were without a Pastor and were served by Interims and pulpit supply. Even though not having a Pastor was discouraging for many of us, we were convinced that the Lord had a man for us and we patiently waited for Him to send that man to serve here.
Today we have about 30 active members and we are praying that God would lead us in our endeavors to reach St. Clairsville for Him. We prayed that the Lord would open up new areas of outreach in our community, and He has done so by leading us to organize a Food Pantry and Clothes Closet, and to establish a Benevolence Fund in order to show God’s love to those in need.
While it is impossible for any one person to know the many, many ways in which the Lord has blessed us during our relatively short history, we are sure that all of us would say that this has been the most exciting time of our lives. We all have had experiences in seeing God’s hand at work and we will never forget those experiences. However, as exciting as the past has been, we now look forward to the work which He has for us to do and the wonderful and exciting times yet to come.
For everyone reading this history, may we express our gratitude to our Association sister churches, to all of the volunteers who came to help us, to all those who gave financially, to all who kept us in their prayers, to our Association and the State Convention, and most of all to a great and loving God who continues to work through us here in St. Clairsville.