September 3, 2017 Good City

Talatha Baptist Church adds new building to accommodate growing services

Talatha Baptist Church is currently a construction site, as the church is adding a multipurpose building to accommodate its growth.  The building will be used as a fellowship hall and sanctuary, along with a lobby, kitchen and restrooms. The weekly Sunday congregation is growing at Talatha Baptist, and some were having to sit in an overflow room to watch and hear the sermon. The Rev. Jordan Bird added that longtime members were giving up seats for guests at services.  Along with new worship space, the church also needed a fellowship hall. Bird said when the church has meals, they have been accommodating people wherever they could: indoors, outdoors and in classrooms.

“It makes sense, and it’s going to meet our needs at a reasonable cost,” Jordan said about the new addition.

He said a lot of churches build gyms when they need to expand but then added that many churches build their gyms and then try to hide them; that the building is never really a multipurpose building, just a gym you can do other things in.

Before building anything, Talatha brought in an architect to discuss what was needed and to lay out the church and where the new building should go.  Ron Geyer, architect and principal at Good City Architects, helped bring Talatha’s vision to fruition. Good City Architects works exclusively with ministries.

“What they want is to do ministry better,” Geyer said.

He said it was important to Talatha to be honest about its Southern roots, and that the church had a strategy in mind but changed direction after meeting with him.

“They’re not changing what they’re about. They’re changing how they present it to the community,” Geyer said.

The new building is going to change the direction the front doors of the church face. Bird said the change will give a “new face” to the church.

“We ended up putting it in an unusual place,” Bird said about the building. “Most people wouldn’t have anything in front of their sanctuary closer to the main road.  That’s just not a thing that you do. It sort of communicates that you devalue the worship place, the sanctuary, but since this building is sanctuary space, what we did, we really just changed the direction of (the) front.”

The current sanctuary at Talatha holds around 175 people. The new building will seat around 300. There won’t be pews in the new building rather chairs that can be moved around or stored.

Talatha Baptist Church is one of the oldest churches in Aiken County. The original building was built around 1840. That building is eventually going to be moved to an area of the church’s property that makes it more visible.

Old Talatha Sanctuary“It’s about reminding us that we’re still the same little church believing the same gospel and the same God that that group of people 200 years ago believed when they started it here,” Bird said. “So it keeps us anchored in the unchanging timeless truth.

“You start to think that we all have this ability to become, how do you say, chronological snobs or historical snobs thinking that we’re better than the people that came before us and we’re not.”

Talatha Baptist Church is growing right now because it is sticking to what it knows. Bird said the church’s philosophy is “don’t change anything and go with it.”

“Simple verse and scripture from Romans chapter 10 says ‘Faith comes by hearing,’ so we are simply preaching scripture directly as it wants to be preached itself and sharing the gospel with our neighbors, telling them what Jesus has done,” he said.

The article “Talatha Baptist Church adds new building to accommodate growing services” by Lindsey Hodges first appeared in the Aiken Standard (aikenstandard.com) on September 3, 2017