For almost 20 years, the parishioners of New Zion Baptist Church have dreamed of having a community center for their church
That dream began to take physical shape Thursday, with a groundbreaking ceremony for the J.G. Frank, Sr. Christian Family Life Center.
Money for the multipurpose facility has been raised over the years, and comes entirely from parishioners, said building committee chairperson Myrtle Neville.
Building committee members included Neville, co-chairperson Gladys Blount, Deacon Albert Dupre, Deacon Wesley Neville, Carlton N. Frank, Jr., New Zion Baptist Church Pastor Allen Ben and Ronnie Lyons.
The 9,000-square-foot building, to be located on property adjacent to the church parking lot, will house a gymnasium, conference room, library, fitness room, cafeteria and classrooms, Neville said.
Contractor for the building is Reverend Rico Guillory of RPG Investment Homes, LLC.
The building is expected to be completed in approximately June 2013, according to Carlton N. Frank, Jr.
“This day marks a new dawn in the life of the New Zion Baptist Church,” said Ben. “It will be a blessing not only to our elder members, but also a blessing to our children.”
Ben said that although many who have dreamed of this day have passed on, their spirits rejoice in this day.
Ben said it is fitting that the center should be named after Reverend Dr. Joshua Frank, an educator and local Civil Rights leader who served as pastor of the church for 54 years.
Pastor Frank’s daughter Josie Frank, said her father loved the New Zion community very much, and although he had opportunities to go elsewhere, he never wanted to leave his church community and the work he did there.
Crowley Middle School Chad Lemelle acknowledged that this building has been a long time coming, but said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will our Christian Life Center.”