Sunset Park Baptist Church - Wilmington, NC
Posted by: ahight
N 34° 12.104 W 077° 56.637
18S E 228732 N 3788443
Quick Description: The Sunset Park Baptist church located in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Wilmington, North Carolina and established in 1941.
Location: North Carolina, United States
Date Posted: 1/9/2009 6:48:05 PM
Waymark Code: WM5HJZ
In 1941 the threatening war clouds that had been hovering over the world for many months suddenly erupted. The United States was critically involved with her allies in trying to stem the tide of Hitlerite conquests. Consequently, in the vast preparedness program of our country, Wilmington, North Carolina, became an important hub in the wheel of the defense industry. The North Carolina Shipbuilding Company was established here and the population began to increase rapidly with the influx of workers and their families.
The community of Sunset Park, adjacent to the site of the shipyard, was particularly effected. Acres and acres of towering pines were leveled to make room for houses to be built to accommodate the countless families moving in from all directions.
Noticeably missing from the skyline was the spire of a church steeple.
The Baptist State Convention, noting the mushrooming growth of Wilmington and the nearby communities, saw the need for launching a mission program in the defense area. As a result, the Convention sent Rev. James H. Butler in April of 1942 to conduct services of worship and to investigate the possibility of establishing a church. After several weeks of activity in the various communities, Rev. Butler erected a tent, 50' x 80', on the northeast corner of Southern Boulevard and Washington St. in Sunset Park. On October 20, 1942, Sunset Park Baptist Church was received into the Wilmington Baptist Association.
The congregation continued to worship in the tent until it was partially destroyed by wind on Wednesday, December 8, 1942. Nineteen members assembled that night for prayer meeting which was held at the pastorium, 116 South Washington Street. With faith and courage undaunted, the members immediately went to work. By the time and courage undaunted, the members immediately went to work. By the time the men got off from work on Thursday, December 9, lumber, nails and tools were waiting and, within two weeks, manpower through God's power had constructed a temporary 30' x 60' building which was used as a sanctuary fro more than a year.
On June 14, 1943, having acquired the land from the State Baptist Convention, the church, which had grown to more than a hundred members in six months, authorized the construction of the first educational unit of the permanent church building on the northeast corner of Central Boulevard and Jefferson Street. This was quite a courageous undertaking for so small a group in the midst of the uncertainties of war.
In conference in January of 1950, the church voted to proceed with the erection of the new auditorium and a special building fund drive was launched. Of the three bids received for the job, the lowest proposal was over $160,000. Some of the members, less stouthearted than others, shook their heads to indicate that it couldnt' be done, but the church approved the trustees' request. In May of 1950 the foundation was poored and the cornerstone was laid the following September.
On May 6, 1951, the auditorium was occupied for the first time.
Educational Building - Completed February 6, 1944
Architect: Leslie Boney
Builders: W.A. Underwood
history source: Sunset Park Baptist Church 'Forty Fruitful Years 1942-1982'
Date Built: 06/14/1943
Age of Church building determined by?: Other reliable source
231 Central Boulevard
Wilmington, NC USA
Service Times: Not listed
Website: Not listed
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