New Covenant starts work on new church
By DAVID SILVERBERG
For nearly four years, members of New Covenant Fellowship knew they would have to move due to the proposed Eight Points Commercial Development, but they did not know where a new church building would be constructed.
"Ryan Kiser contacted us approximately four years ago and obtained an option to purchase our property," said Pastor Jerry Moore, who was instrumental in starting the congregation 31 years ago.
Kiser, who is a partner in K2 Developers from St. Louis, Mo., has been buying land within Oak Grove Road, Bypass 67 and Westwood Boulevard to create the Eight Points retail center.
Oak Grove Development recently purchased the New Covenant property and then the church closed on a site owned by Health Management Associates -- the owner of Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.
"This is the fourth site we have considered," Moore said.
New Covenant Fellowship was organized on June 1, 1981. The congregation met on Maud Street and then Westwood Boulevard before moving to the north side of Oak Grove Road 22 years ago.
"This was just a 30-acre farm when we moved here," Moore said.
Now New Covenant Fellowship owns a 25-acre site along Highway PP east of Midnight Road.
Workers have already cleared trees and begun the site preparation work on top of the hill.
"We will have a groundbreaking ceremony soon for a 25,000-square foot building," Moore said.
A sanctuary will be on the east end of the facility and a gymnasium on the west end. There will be 10 classrooms between the sanctuary and gym.
The new church will overlook a small lake.
"It is a very beautiful setting. There will be a public walking trail around the lake with meditation points," Moore said.
New Covenant Fellowship also is the home of Agape Day Care and Preschool. It opened on Jan. 2, 1991, and now has an enrollment of 90 to 100 children. A fenced playground area also will be created on top of the hill.
Shadle Cemetery is located west of a parking area on the new site. It will be cleaned up and maintained.
"We must be out of our present location by Jan. 31," Moore said.
Site work on the Eight Points project is expected to begin after the church vacates its property.
While finding a site, planning a new building and making moving preparations has been stressful, Moore said, "It is exciting to see the new things coming to our community."
The current church is located across Oak Grove Road from the new Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.
With Oak Grove Road being closed Thursday so it can be expanded to five lanes, church members and those going to Agape Day Care and Preschool will have to use Dodge Lane from Shelby Road through the Larry Hillis dealership.
For more information, go to www.InCovenant.org and sign up for the mailing list to keep informed of the construction progress.