Building a new Temple: After more than two decades, OKC church to dedicate building
A congregation's dream for a new church building has come true after more than 20 years.
Holy Temple Baptist Church, 1536 NE 50, will dedicate its new building on Sunday, with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Rev. Frank McClarty, Holy Temple's senior pastor, said Oklahoma City Ward 7 Councilwoman Nikki Nice is expected to attend the dedication, along with other dignitaries, pastors and church supporters.
McClarty said the new building -- with an estimated cost of $1 million -- features a sanctuary that almost doubles the size of the church's former sanctuary, which was 3,500 square feet. The new sanctuary is 6,600 square feet, seating about 160 people. McClarty said the new church building, built adjacent to the former building, also includes classrooms, a kitchen, offices and a baptismal. He said church members are excited to have paved parking, as well, because they have had to park on gravel and grass for many years.
The minister said he gets emotional when he thinks of how far the congregation has come to see the new church come to fruition.
He said the church broke ground on a new church building on the property 21 years ago but chose to put the construction plans on hold. In the intervening years, the church donated a portion of its property for the construction of a retirement community called Temple Gardens. McClarty said the church also bought a house next door and tried to use it as an educational building to alleviate space constraints, but that did not work well. Renovating the former mid-century modern church building was problematic, he said.
McClarty became the church's pastor in 2014, and the congregation approached him about jump-starting the building project. Under his leadership, the church broke ground on the building in 2017.
"This is not trying to be competitive with anyone but to allow us to minister to our community," he said of the larger building.
Once the building was completed in late 2018 by HGL Construction, church members began to work on furnishing the new house of worship. It was a team effort.
McClarty said pews were donated from a Lawton church whose members cried when their older seating was given away to make room for new furniture.
The Lawton church's furnishings were a boon to Holy Temple.
"I promised them we would honor the legacy ... by taking good care of their pews," McClarty said.
Holy Temple members paid for the other furnishings in a process much like a registry. The minister said this included the large television screens, office furniture and kitchen appliances.
He said the project involved the entire congregation with help from the divine.
"There's no way we could have done this on our own. We put our trust in the Lord," he said.
The church began holding services in the building the Saturday before Christmas. McClarty said they have used the last several months to prepare for community members to visit the new church building and celebrate in grand style.
"It allows us to get it decorated and put our own stamp on it," he said.
Holy Temple Baptist Church dedication
When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Where: 1536 NE 50.