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‘Just a beginning’

Any organization that undertakes the challenge of building a new headquarters and moving from one that has been in use for many years will recognize the immense undertaking that is involved in such an effort. When the organization is a church, the complications are multiplied.

For East End Baptist Church, the road from its old location in the 500 block of East Washington Street to the new building at 1056 Portsmouth Boulevard measures just 2.3 miles. But the journey has taken 12 long years and immeasurable faith.

More than 100 church members and friends marched from the old church to the new one on Saturday in a symbolic ceremony that was emotionally charged in both the letting go and in the moving on.

Along the way, they sang praises to God and waved to residents and motorists, many of whom waved back and honked horns in support. As they made the final turn into the parking lot of the new location, they shouted thanks to construction workers who greeted them and the Suffolk Police Department and Suffolk Fire & Rescue personnel who had accompanied them along the way.

During the 12 years of planning for the new 32,000-square-foot facility, the church has come under new leadership, but members honored the man who was behind the pulpit when the vision was first cast, the Rev. Dr. Mark Croston, by having him conduct the Sunday afternoon service that celebrated the grand opening and the church’s 129th anniversary.

“It’s just really been a joy and a blessing to see this moment arrive,” Elliott “Chris” Jones, vice chairman of the church’s deacon board, said Saturday after the procession. “It’s truly just a beginning, and we give God the glory. We couldn’t have done it without Him.”

There’s a real sense in which “just a beginning” is a wholly appropriate way to think of this new chapter in a 129-year-old church’s history.

We are excited to see what the rest of the story holds.