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Building on a foundation of faith

Almost 2,000 years ago, the son of a carpenter began his ministry that would grow into the religion of Christianity. Now, 2,000 years later, it is the followers of Jesus who have taken up carpentry in the name of their faith.

Carpenters for Christ consists of thousands of volunteers who answer the call each year to assist a construction need for churches anywhere in the world. Begun in 1975, Carpenters for Christ has expanded into hundreds of programs nationwide, with several here in the state of Alabama.

This week, the group has come to St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church on Old Spring Hill Road in Demopolis.

“When we started, we had about 200 men from 53 different churches in seven states who worked with us,” said Fred Gant, the executive secretary of the Carpenters for Christ group from Golden Springs Baptist Church in Anniston. “We picked most of those guys up by going and building a building for them. Then, we’d invite them to come join us the next year, and they’d come with us.

“I’ve been with them for about 20 years. My first trip was to Mason, W.Va., I believe. I was really surprised and impressed with the first trip I went on. We built so much so fast. It’s amazing. People get excited about what we’re doing, and they’ll bring in truckloads of wood, and three days later, that truckload of wood is standing up in two stories of a church. It’s just fascinating how fast it goes!”

At St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, the workers from Carpenters for Christ are building the infrastructure of a multipurpose building that will house classrooms, offices, restrooms and other rooms. When Carpenters for Christ completes its work, electricians and plumbers will comes in a few weeks later to do their work.

“When I initially came to this church, God gave me a vision for this new building,” said the Rev. Charlie W. Moore, the pastor at St. Paul’s. “This building is built upon faith. When you have faith, the Bible says, you please God.

“This building has been in the process since 2002. Last year, it all came together. Where God has thrown out the last six or seven years, He has shown me different places where we can get resources. This is a Christian group among thousands of Christian groups all over the country and South America. They work together to do mission work. This just shows you what God’s folks can do when God’s folks work together.”

Moore said he hopes the construction will be done around the spring of 2011. He said the building would cost about $2 million, but with the help of organizations like Carpenters for Christ, the only cost is for supplies and labor.

In Luke 6:48, Jesus says that a man who hears his sayings and acts on them is like a man who builds a house with a foundation on a rock. Organizations like Carpenters for Christ build on that foundation, spreading God’s word and building on it from the ground up.