By Darren D. Heusel
Like the old EF Hutton commercial used to say … when God speaks, people listen. Those people in this case, include pastors and elders at Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon.
About a year ago, God spoke to the leadership at Trinity and gave them a vision to build the “Together We Center” on their 30-acre campus that would allow them to minister to people in need throughout Canadian County.
And, they listened.
The new ministry will be a strip mall-like facility developed in phases on the west side of the church property at 620 N Cemetery Road.
The Together We Center will serve as a “one-stop shop” that will meet the needs of people in Canadian County, according to Trinity Associate Pastor Scott Kinney, a.k.a. “The Legend” around these parts for his many years of continuous and faithful service to the church and community.
“The people of Trinity have seen a need to minister to the community,” Kinney said. “Our church believes in giving back, especially to those who need it most.”
The church held a ground-breaking ceremony for the Together We Center on Jan. 10, with construction due to conclude on Aug. 15.
According to Trinity’s media and community outreach pastor Brian Grider, who will also serve as the Together We Center’s executive director, the new ministry will complement – not compete with – other local ministries and service programs throughout the county.
Starting last August, Grider said Trinity church leaders began meeting with members of the Butterfield Foundation to cast a vision to include the need for a dedicated space specifically to house the church’s Faith Clinic, Canadian County’s only free health clinic for people without insurance.
Faith Clinic has operated weekly inside the church for more than five years. However, the outreach has outgrown the ministry’s demand.
After working thru the grant process, Grider was notified the Butterfield Foundation was going to give them a $250,000 grant toward construction and completion of (the Together We Center). That grant has been realized, he said.
The initial goal was to raise $1,050,000. By Dec. 1, 2020, church leadership had hoped to be at the $600,000 mark, but they had already raised $707,000. To date, the church has raised more than $200,000 over their initial goal amount.
The church held what they called three Big Give Weekends, with God-size goals of $300,000 by Sept. 13, 2020, another $300,000 by Dec. 13, 2020, and $450,000 by March 7, 2021.
Butterfield’s donation allowed the church to meet and exceed their goal. However, donations continue to pour in from the church body and other private entities.
“Our church wants to reach our community in ways we never have,” Grider said. “It (the fundraising effort) shows our church and community are behind this.
“The support we’ve received inside and outside the church has been amazing,” he added.
BIG HEART AND PASSION
Trinity senior pastor Brian Mills said he’s excited to have Brian Grider spearheading this effort.
“He has a big heart for missions and tremendous passion for helping people,” Mills said. “I know he will do a great job leading us in this community outreach effort.”
The Together We Center will have a 2,500 square foot Faith Clinic, 2,000 square foot food pantry and 1,000 square foot clothing closet.
Organizers hope to eventually offer free or discounted vehicle repairs and counseling services. The Together We Center also could eventually include a barber shop, dental clinic, Family Life Center and more, as needs arise.
“Our giving is currently over $200,000 what our goal was,” Grider said. “The intent of the original $1,050,000 was to finish out the Faith Clinic portion of the Together We Center and build a shell for the food pantry and clothing boutique.
“As funding allows, we’ll finish out the food pantry and clothing boutique,” he added.
Based on the decision to include Yukon’s Manna Pantry as part of the Together We Center, food pantry board members recently decided to relocate their 800 square-foot facility at 123 S 6th Street they’ve been operating at for the past 45 years to the new Together We Center location.
The food pantry will retain its name, while the new clothing boutique will be called
Woven, modeled after the local Dress for Success clothing outreach ministry.
Canadian County has a population of nearly 150,000. Of those, 7.9 percent live below the poverty level and another 13 percent are uninsured. The unemployment rate is currently at 6.9 percent, leading to 40 percent of children qualifying for free, or reduced lunches.
Since its existence five years ago, Faith Clinic has treated roughly 700 patients and administered more than 4,500 prescriptions each year valued in excess of $150,000.
“We feel called to expand the vision of our Faith Clinic and our community outreach to reach Canadian County in new and exciting ways,” Mills said.