Church dedicates new building even as pastor struggles

Published: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 5:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 5:18 p.m.

For Pastor Don Farley, this year has already started with its highs and lows: the high of opening a new Baptist church and the low of having your wife bedridden in the hospital with leukemia.


Dedication ceremony

What: The Southwest Baptist Church will have a building dedication ceremony that is open to the public. There will be a ceremony, music and lunch.

When: Sunday, 10:45 a.m.

Where: 8012 SW 75th St.

Farley remembers Brigitte waking up one night, covered in blood, hemorrhaging from the nose.

She has undergone two chemotherapy treatments since she was diagnosed in September 2012, all while Don, 65, has been trying to build a new worship center, which will open this weekend.

The couple traveled around the world together as missionaries, and Farley said Brigitte was an active, strong supporter who could make things happen.

"It was a very grievous, painful process, even though we trust in the Lord," he said of his wife's ordeal. "We've almost lost her a couple of times, but she's a dynamo."

Southwest Baptist Church, at 8012 SW 75th St., will have a building dedication ceremony open to the public on Sunday at 10:45 a.m. There will be a ceremony, music and lunch surrounding the first service at the new church, Farley said.

Since 1970, the congregation worshipped in east Gainesville, but the church stopped developing and many of its older members began dying and moving away, Farley said. Church members decided to sell their old building in August 2010 and buy 4.6 acres to build their new church, Farley said.

For 17 months, the 35 church's members met in Kanapaha Middle School at they waited for the construction workers to finish their church. Farley said he expects the new church to grow to 100 to 150 members, and the church is looking to start a musical group.

"In this new church, we're going to be able to help Gainesville in so many ways," he said. "We help more of the homeless in the winter and host meals for students."

George Brabham, 75, a deacon at the church, said Southwest Baptist was considering giving away its old building to a church association, but a person came just in time to buy it from them, giving them funds to build a new church.

"It's been a stressful time for all of us," Brabham said. "I've had four heart fibrillations since we started the process of selling the church, and I know it's been hard for (the Rev. Farley). He's trying not to let it show, but he's done better than I thought he would."

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