Church in a day

Published 8:44 pm Friday, April 1, 2011

Bob Edwards, left, owner of Solomon Builders, Inc., in Suffolk, and his son Joshua Edwards will be two builders participating in a Church in a Day project in June.

When Bob Edwards was addicted to cocaine, he found hope at last when an acquaintance invited him to Bible World Church in Chesapeake.

Now a Christian and Suffolk small business owner, Edwards is coordinating a massive effort that will help others find that same hope.

Edwards is heading up a “Church in a Day” project in Harrisonburg, Va., in June. Hundreds of volunteer workers will donate their time and talents to put an entire church up in 18 hours.

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The project is a recurring program of the United Pentecostal Church. A church family only needs to have an empty lot and the means to put in a foundation, and the Church in a Day program takes care of the rest.

Edwards, owner of Solomon Builders, Inc., on Wilroy Road in Suffolk, volunteered for the program because he wanted others to be able to find the same freedom he found at church.

“I used to be a crackhead, drinking, smoking,” he said. “I was actually ready to die. Then being able to go to Bible World and experience what I experienced, it changed my life.”

After coming to Jesus Christ and getting off drugs, Edwards was able to bring his family back together and open his own business.

“None of that would have been possible if there hadn’t been a church,” Edwards said. “From that point to now, I’ve been living a whole different life.”

That’s what drew him to the Church in a Day program, which helps churches build meeting places they otherwise might not be able to afford.

The volunteers will be in Harrisonburg June 1-4 to build a church building for Christ Tabernacle and the Rev. Jeremy Poling. On Wednesday and Thursday, they will be building the tilt-up walls, ensuring all the final preparations are in place and being treated to a dinner on Thursday.

On Friday, the Church in a Day begins before dawn with giant floodlights illuminating the scene. After a group countdown, dozens of volunteers lift the walls into place and start building.

While the work goes on outside, electricians, plumbers and more are working inside to keep up. The lights come on mid-afternoon.

“Hopefully by midnight, we’re done,” Edwards said. An 18-hour job would beat the record, he said.

Edwards is taking many of his own workers along, as well as many tradesmen from the area.

“It’s a way of me being used by God,” said Josh Edwards, Bob’s son, who is a job superintendent for the company. He’ll also be in Harrisonburg in June.

“It’s a small part for me to help out,” Josh Edwards said. He’ll be one of more than 50 superintendents on the job.

“It’s not all church members,” Edwards said. “There’s a lot of outside help from people that just want to be a part of something that’s doing something for God.”

This is the first Church in a Day project that’s been done in Virginia. Edwards is excited about what the project will bring.

“They have a place,” Edwards said. “We’re establishing hope for someone.”