GLENARDEN — The First Baptist Church of Glenarden unveiled their new $24 million Family Life Center and solar field at a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 23. “We want to impact the community and reinforce the youth to get out and be healthy,” said Pastor John Jenkins. “It will be an excuse for […]
GLENARDEN — The First Baptist Church of Glenarden unveiled their new $24 million Family Life Center and solar field at a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 23.
“We want to impact the community and reinforce the youth to get out and be healthy,” said Pastor John Jenkins. “It will be an excuse for people to come out and learn and take care of themselves and each other.”
Community members, church members, collaborative partners and elected officials gathered at the new facility located next to their Worship Center on Watkins Park Drive. Special guests in attendance included elected officials such as County Executive Rushern Baker, District 6 County Councilman Derrick Leon Davis, as well as collaborative contributors such as President of the Oak Creek Club Homeowners Association Dwight Ward and President of the Kettering Civic Federation Deborah Spencer.
Hundreds of people attended the grand opening ceremony excited to get a first look at the new facility that members of the church and community hope to make a centerpiece of life in the county.
“It’s excellent,” said Associate Minister Concetta Summer. “It’s a much needed feature in the community to help people with health issues and create bonding time between families. The handshake aspect of it is great, it allows us to be able to form relationships with people outside of the church every day.”
The two-hour grand opening program began with a scripture reading and praise and worship session followed by speeches by Jenkins and other church members on the vision for the Family Life Center. Baker, Davis and other elected officials and collaborators on the project were also given a few minutes to speak about the center.
“This facility right here will be a gathering place for all of the communities up here, not just Kettering or Bladensburg,” Baker said. “We need a place like this. It will be like a town center. A place where the children can go, for the seniors to go. It’s something we don’t have in this part of the county. This is an amazing place.”
The 63,000 square-foot-facility contains a walking track, three basketball courts, two activity and practice rooms, a multipurpose room, fitness center and vending and concession area.
In addition to these aspects, the Family Life Center is an eco-friendly facility. It features indoor and outdoor LED lighting, the roof is made of heat-deflecting polymer material to reduce the use of air-conditioning and ground-level plant beds are to be used as a water quantity and quality control system.
The biggest eco-friendly feature is the solar field, developed by Sun Trail and IGS Solar. The solar field is the biggest of its kind ever to be held on a church property and will generate 50 percent of the energy used by the Worship Center and Family Life Center.
“IGS Solar invested in putting in the solar field,” said Jenkins. “It’s purpose is to reduce the use of electricity significantly.”
The hope is that the Family Life Center as a whole will strengthen the community physically, emotionally and spiritually while allowing the community to come together for fun and exercise, he said.
“The Center will be here for years and years to come,” said First Lady of the Church Trina Jenkins who will be the family life director of the facility. “It’s going to impact families and create fitness initiatives and programs.”
The First Baptist Church of Glenarden isn’t done with its innovation. The church hopes to build a children’s center next to the Family Life Center in the near future and has plans for additional projects as well.
The Family Life Center was met with a lot of enthusiasm from the community and members of the church, such as Lisa Malone and Greta Williams, who felt that it will be a great asset to the county.
“It’s a great opportunity for young people to come exercise and walk,” said Malone. “It’s also a great opportunity to build a fellowship with people in and out of the church.”
Following the grand opening ceremony, the church held a cookout, despite the light rain, filled with games, food and moon bounces.
“It’s such a blessing to be able to be a part of this,” said Tonia Beamer who attended the grand opening. “It’s a culmination of all of the hard work and dedication that went into making the Family Life Center a reality.”