Historical Church Must Be Abandoned, Will become Landmark

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Repair it or have it demolished: those are the choices church members of nearly 120 year old First Missionary Baptist Church have been told by Dothan city officials.

They don't want the latter, so instead, they're opting to have it renovated while they watch from the sidelines.

"We have a group of members, a group of trustees who are actively looking for a place for temporary worship,” says First Missionary's Senior Pastor, Reverend B.K. Marshall.

From a glance, even sitting inside the sanctuary, the building looks fine. But, First Missionary Baptist was built on clay so the church steadily sinks.

There are also problems with the roof and outlay. Shortly after being named a historical site three years ago, it was inspected and that eventually led to an extension for the church to operate out of that building until August 7th.

Members say they support the move. "I'm glad we are trying to redo it. Make it a little better," says Dothan Resident and long-time member Ladon Hall.

"One of the concerns is because there are so many family roots in the church structure. Many of them were sort of hesitant, but once the numbers were revealed on paper and they saw that, then they saw where it was most feasible to build a new church," says Rev. Marshall.

Now, the renovations are only partial. That’s because of the churches historical value and it's more cost effective that way. The new church Reverend Marshall speaks of will be built on property directly across the street from the old one.

A timeline for the completion of the new sanctuary hasn't been set but there is a window to complete it within 14 months from the start date.

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