Church members at New Antioch Baptist Church celebrated the announcement of a $185,000 loan from Rehab Cash Now (RCN) that will be used in the construction of a much larger church building.
Urban churches have long served as anchors to communities. Church members realize that, that’s why they’re expanding so they can reach an area of Hartford that they say is in need of transformation. At this point, it’s nothing more than a structure waiting to be completed, but in the eyes of Dr. Jeff Powell, it’s a building that will provide stability to an area of Hartford that’s known for violence.
“When I think about this area of town, I think about the neglect,” said Dr. Powell, Pastor of the church. “What we found out by being in this community is that people just want someone to care for them.”
Numerous church programs at its building on Nelson Street reach out to the youth, and in the future, the elderly.
Recently members have come together and raised $800,000 to build a larger church, on the same property, that will reach thousands.
“I think this building will help bring more people in off the streets,” said 14-year-old Ashleigh Mills-Govan.
She credits their daily after school programs for keeping kids off the street and out of trouble.
“I think this church has really helped change the youth here that live on the North End of Hartford,” she said.
“I think all the kids that are in it, it really helps them out as far as discipline and as far as having some kind of structure after school,” said Rayvonne Johnson, church member.
Church leaders say the new building will help them reach more youth. For 35 years, members have watched people come and go but crime is something that’s always existed. They want to change that, and for them, a place of worship is their guiding light to a transformed Hartford.
Rehab Cash Now, the agency that is loaning the church money also announced a new $1 million urban church construction loan program.