By Juanice Gray and the Rev. Matt Endris
Fairview Baptist Church started with a small group of individuals in the Fairview Alpha community in 1976. The church, located on Hwy 71 in Fairview Alpha near the Natchitoches/Red River Parish line, was demolished Jan. 13 as part of an expansion project. The Rev. Matt Endris, pastor, provided the backstory of the church, it’s vision and insight into the new, modern sanctuary that will soon be under construction.
Gray: Please provide a history.
Endris: The congregation desired to start a new church in 1976 and began as a small nondenominational congregation they named Christ Memorial Community Church. The young church met in homes, then on some property on Coulee Loop and finally in a greenhouse owned by Red and Ethel Walters. About 1978, they called Bro. G.A. “Biggy” Spears to be pastor. At that point, he led them to join the Southern Baptist Convention and they changed their name to Fairview Alpha Baptist Church. At this time, the Walters family gave a couple of acres on which the church is now located. A building was constructed by many in the community and the church worshipped in that structure until the most recent sanctuary was built and finished in 1984. Through the years, two other buildings were added for educational space, fellowship space and youth/children activities.
Gray: How did the plan to demolish and rebuild come about?
Endris: Several years ago the church formed a committee to examine the potential growth and future needs of our congregation. This Vision Committee made a careful and thorough study of the facilities. They considered the priorities the church had to provide for the future and determined that a plan for renovation and addition was necessary. Through a long process, working with architects, engineers and a construction company we arrived at the current plan for a new facility that meets the needs and priorities for the church and community. The top two priorities the church has are increased worship space and an improved and secure children’s area. A few other needs were increased fellowship space and rooms for bible study. To accomplish these purposes it was necessary to remove some of the facility and build back with a new structure.
Gray: Were any parts of the existing sanctuary repurposed?
Endris: Some of the good and usable components and equipment were donated to individuals, entities and organizations. The members of the congregation were also allowed to take a pew and repurpose however they determined. We donated some books and other resources to other churches and organizations.
Gray: Who is the contractor for the new construction?
Endris: We are working with two companies who are employing many local subcontractors. Our Architect is BGW (Building God’s Way). Our General Contractor is S&B Construction. Gray: When is construction to begin and what is the expected completion date? Endris: Construction is beginning now and an anticipated completion date is January 2022.
Gray: How will the church operate while the new building is under construction?
Endris: We currently are holding worship services each Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. in our Youth Building (metal building at the back of our parking lot). We are also utilizing our Educational Building/Gym for Bible study, KidsLife, fellowship, other children’s/youth activities, etc. We welcome anyone and everyone to worship Christ with us at Fairview Baptist Church. We do offer online worship services on our Facebook page, our Youtube channel, our church app (available for free download) or our website (www.myfairviewbaptist.org).