Rural Church gets Worship Center and Daycare Business with perseverance by membership and Rural Business Project expertise.
New Hope Church of God in Christ is located in the town of Silsbee in Southeast Texas. The 6,400 population community is part of Hardin County. This struggling, yet faith-filled congregation was referred to the Rural Business Project initially in late 1999. New Hope is a small congregation which had only 45 members in 1999 and had grown to 125 members by late 2002. 2004 membership is still climbing at 145 members. Their dream and goal was to build their own church because they had rented four different facilities to hold services since their beginning in 1998.
Because they had been organized as a congregation for just over a year, and also because of their size, numerous banks turned them down for a church construction loan. The Field Coordinator for the Prairie View A & M Rural Business Project, Lloyd Hebert, never lost sight of the congregations goals for their worship center and badly needed daycare business. He packaged a loan proposal for them, and carried them to five different banks between 2000 and 2002. Finally, in April of 2002, the Church received an affirmative answer and got a construction loan.
The perseverance of the tiny rural congregation, and the unwavering assistance of the Cooperative Extension Program’s Rural Business Project finally paid off when the church proudly held inauguration services the fall of 2003 in its brand new 6500 ft. church and daycare center. A drug free park is also being constructed next to the church so children in the city can have a safe place to play. “Although the church building is only $200,000 in financing, it looks like a $500,000 facility,” said Hebert. “The church congregation badly needed their own facility and the town needed another daycare center and a community park. One of the key aspects of providing rural business technical assistance to limited resource clientele, is that you sometimes have to ask numerous times and keep asking before you get a yes answer,” continued Hebert. The new worship center and daycare business stand as a symbol of what hard work, perseverance, faith, Prairie View Rural Business Project support and a partnership with USDA can do when a community sets their sights on dreaming the plan, working the plan and never giving up.
The economic and community impact of the facility is being felt in this small community. The daycare business has created two full time jobs and 4 part time positions. In 2004, the business was moving toward full capacity of 42 youth. Revenues at full capacity will provide over $100,000 in annual income for the church and the rural community. These revenues are more than enough to service the business loan, secure quality care for low income families and provide meaningful income to local residents.
This is a prime example of what faith-based institutions (New Hope), federal agencies (USDA-Rural Business), local lenders (First Bank & Trust) and education (Prairie View Rural Business project) can do to make a difference in the lives of rural Americans.
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