WALLA WALLA - Donations and volunteers from across the country mean a new church building for members of the Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church.
The foundation was laid in July for the new 7,500-square-foot building at 1470 Wallula Road. The church has 30 members and has been using space for 11 years at the Prospect Point Grange Hall.
The congregation is excited to finally have a space to call its own.
"It means a tool that we can use to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ," Pastor Walt Emery said of the building. "It gives us a sense of permanency."
This new building wouldn't be possible if not for the help of sister churches, Emery said. Churches of like faith in Washington, Louisiana, Missouri and other states have contributed money and are helping with labor.
Members of these sister churches arrived Saturday to begin construction. Some of the people who traveled to Walla Walla for this project consider building churches part of their ministry.
"That's really the exciting part," Emery said. "Having so much interest and seeing how much help there is from around the country."
To house those helping with labor, Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church members are opening their homes.
Many women of the congregation are ensuring that meals are prepared for the construction crew each day. Those not staying in host homes brought motor homes or are staying in local hotels for one week of work to jump-start the project.
After the first week of construction, the team of about 100 who traveled to Walla Walla will head home. As construction continues, others will come to help as needed.
The target is to move into the new building by the end of this year or early next year.
Emery describes his church as a group of "family-oriented, friendly, down-to-earth people," who are excited for the new building and the help with construction.
Currently, the congregation meets at 2400 S. Howard Ave. and invites anyone to services Sunday at 9:45 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Jennifer Jorgenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.