Antioch Baptist Church to hold church dedication celebration in new building, dedicating Saturday supper to volunteers who helped rebuild after 2016 fire

The members of Antioch Baptist Church are ready to celebrate the outpouring of support from volunteers and months of growing closer together as a church family with dedication festivities beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 22.

The journey to the dedication ceremony sparked many emotions — sorrow, hope, a renewed sense of family and joy — after the church building was destroyed in a December 2016 fire. Congregation members grew closer each week during Bible study classes at the home of Melinda and Rev. Jack Emmite and other church members leading up to the first “victory day” worship service Sunday, April 7. The festivities on Saturday and Sunday reflect the teamwork that went into the construction work and unique details that came together for the new church building.

Emmite expressed his gratitude for all of the volunteers who contributed their time and work, including Bonnie Stewart, who crafted stained glass for the church doors, and music director Dan Dehner, who made the large illuminated cross above the baptistry in the sanctuary.

“We're extremely excited, of course, that we finally got to this place where we can officially dedicate the building,” he said. “There's been a lot of personal touches like that around the building, so we're just grateful personally. As pastor for all of these folks who have contributed one way or another.”

On Saturday, a supper and short program will take place to honor all of the volunteers who helped out and provided support along the way. The meal will start at 5 p.m., followed by a short program in the Church Fellowship Hall, 59621 Antioch Lane in Hannibal. All are welcome to attend. Please RSVP by June 15.

On Sunday, June 23, the church will host their regular worship hour beginning at 10:45 a.m. A celebration luncheon will follow at 12:15 p.m. The dedication service will begin at 1:30 p.m. Visitors can take tours of the new church building after each service. Please RSVP to the church's address or email immiti53@yahoo.com or parwilde@rallstech.net.

There are strong community ties to Antioch Baptist Church, including couples who were married, people who were baptized there, parents who raised their children in Bible School and folks who have family members buried in Antioch Cemetery, Emmite said.

“It's a very important place for a lot of different reasons,” he said.

The new church building is about triple the size of the former structure, allowing for more community outreach and education possibilities. A new chapter will begin with the dedication, Emmite said.

“It's exciting, isn't it?” he said. “A whole new facility to maybe have a new beginning again for so many folks — even though it's totally different from the old building, there will be new memories made there, new families growing up. So we're appreciative to everyone, and especially our Lord. He's been so good to us.”

trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com