BASSETERRE, St. Kitts: On Sunday May 19, 2019, members and friends of the Antioch Baptist Church (ABC) wrapped up their morning worship at the sanctuary at Infirmary Road, Basseterre with a sense of nostalgia for the many successes of the past 56 years, and excitement for the prospects of the future.
The sentiments were brought on by the impending opening of the church’s new house of worship located at Lime Kiln Commercial Development, next to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The grand opening and dedication of God’s House is scheduled for Sunday May 26, 2019 with morning service at 9:30 a.m.
Notably, yesterday’s (March 19) worship was the last at the building that was originally constructed in December 1966, and extended in 1996. The mood of reflection and anticipation ran throughout the special service that featured some congregants sharing their experiences at the church and how their lives were positively impacted. These included recorded messages from persons now living overseas. There was also a call back to the earlier years of the church featuring an excerpt from founding Pastor the late Dr. William M. Connor from January 01, 1989.
“I loved the service this morning. It was great and I loved the testimony,” said Sylvia Penny, who was among the original congregant 56 years ago. She noted that the service harkened back to the roots of the Baptist church and said: “I feel proud.”
Terrence Drew Jr., one of the younger members of the church, also complimented the service. He noted the excerpt of Dr. Connor and shared what was on his mind at that moment: “I felt like that he would have been proud if he saw us right now.”
The service was carried live on ZIZ Radio and Television and streamed live on ABC’s Facebook Page. After the service, the congregants marched to the new sanctuary in what many viewed as a symbolic representation of ABC’s theme: “Moving On.”
Drew said that he was excited to move into the new sanctuary indicating “This is good, it is large, more space and everything. Good for sports and good for the preschool.”
ABC runs a preschool called Baptist Academy. It too will be relocated to the new sanctuary in the near future.
Jovica St. Ange reflected on the transition to the new building and stated that the moment was bittersweet as she enjoyed the feeling of family and togetherness at the Infirmary Road Sanctuary. “But I know after time it will come and this is a joyous occasion,” she stated, adding that it was “God’s will.”
ABC’s Lead Pastor Lincoln Connor noted that the culture of the church stresses community and warm fellowship. The design of the new sanctuary is expected to enhance the experience as it provides various rooms for ministry, private meetings, counselling, training, conferences, after school classes, camping and many more.
“A new facility, a new hall in particular, allows us to implement some of the national programmes that we would like to do,” Pastor Connor stated. We wanted to focus on some youth award programmes and certain individuals in our community who we, as a church, would like to partner with and have certain programmes for them [and] developmental sessions. With the new auditorium and multimedia facilities we are able to do that because we won’t have to pay to use some hotel facility which often times is the downside of having these events because the venue is very costly.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the new sanctuary for invited guests on Thursday May 23, 2019.
Antioch Baptist Church was founded on March 05, 1963 by Dr. William M. Connor. The church spent the first three years of existence at the Unity Friendly Society at Wigley Avenue.