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Welcoming the Community

IRONTON — It was a morning filled with accomplishment — one year in the making.

In what started as an idea to improve both the physical and spiritual well-being of its congregation and the community, the members of First Baptist Church took a brief moment following Sunday worship to celebrate the completion of its $1.3 million Faith and Fitness Center.

Contucted under an early fall skyline with peeks of sunlight, the ribbon cutting ceremony allowed the Rev. Dennis Strawn the opportunity to thank God and everyone involved in the construction of the Vernon Street gymnasium.

“We are kind of overwhelmed as to what we have done with this gymnasium,” Strawn said. “There is nothing like this in the community.”

Currently one-of-a-kind in the city of Ironton the building is open for seniors to walk Monday through Friday between 8-10 a.m. on a rubberized-track that circles the outside of the high-school regulation basketball court.

Strawn said 18 laps around the track equals one mile.

Open gym basketball training is on both Tuesday and Thursday from 7-9 p.m.

The church also offers after-school programs for first- to sixth-grade students at various times during the week. Adventure Club, for first, second and third-grade students runs from 3:30-5 p.m. on Tuesdays while Truth Works, for fourth, fifth and sixth graders, runs on Thursdays from 3:30-5:00 p.m.

The center is also used by the youth each Wednesday and Sunday evening.

Two community blood-drives are currently scheduled through the American Red Cross for Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Strawn said the Faith and Fitness Centers was also designed to meet Red Cross specifications to house those displaced by the unfortunate circumstances such as a flood or fire. Included in the center is a full-use kitchen and restroom facilities with showers.

Despite the variety of activities that can take place in the gymnasium, Strawn said the idea of having the Faith and Fitness Center was never about having a building just for his congregation.

“The vision of the church from the beginning is not having the center for the exclusive use of the members of Faith Baptist Church,” Strawn said. “This gym and all of its activities are open to all people.”