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Church breaks ground: Outreach Christian Ministries International plan multipurpose center

By Shavonne Potts

Salisbury Post

It’s been 30 years in the making but a local church is seeing its vision come to fruition with groundbreaking for a community enrichment center.

Members of Outreach Christian Ministries International located at 722 W. Horah St. will gather Sunday at 4 p.m. for a groundbreaking ceremony following regular services for a planned multipurpose center.

This is the long-time vision of Apostle Ray E. Taylor, pastor and founder of Outreach Christian Ministries.

“We saw the need over 30 years ago for a building on the westside to house outreach programs for the community,” Taylor said.

In the mid-to-late 1970s, the property, which is across the street from the church, housed a nightclub, pool room and cafe. The surrounding property was subsequently redeveloped for housing except for the now empty site.

Taylor said the club owner laughed, saying he’d “put the church out of business.”

“Instead of that happening the church still stands strong,” he said.

The members of the church walked around the property more than 30 years ago and claimed the land for the Lord, Taylor said.

As of three years ago, the land was not available for purchase. When it did become available, the church bought the lot.

The building will offer services such as job training, drug and substance abuse counseling, youth, food and after school programs.

The programs will be free to the community, but will operate through donations.

“We don’t want to start a business but minister to the community,” he said.

The church wants to see the building house basketball and volleyball leagues, and step teams in hopes that it would aid in, “keeping our youth off the streets,” he said.

The building will also be available for community purposes including hosting banquets, seminars, plays and singing affairs. A full kitchen and multipurpose area will be available with a youth snack bar, conference room space and meeting rooms.

The church anticipates seating capacity for the facility to be a little more than 500. The center’s name will be the WestSide Family Life & Enrichment Center.

“We have few funds, but not enough funds.

“God will supply the funds to finish the vision,” he said.

Taylor said the congregation’s intention was not to build another church, but something the community could benefit from as well.

“I saw the need of a Bible-based program where we can reach the youth of our community,” he said.

Taylor added that he and his members want to reach out to people that are jobless, that have alcohol and drug abuse issues, “to reach them and to apply biblical principles to hopefully turn their lives around.”

It was biblical principles and belief in the Scriptures that turned Taylor, a former alcoholic, around.

“I know what it is to be bound by abuses of that nature,” he said. “We just want to minister to the community.”

At this point, the church is still in the design stages of the project, but are hopeful that by the end of the spring the first phase of the structure will be in place.

In the coming months, the church intends to sponsor fundraising events.

For more information about the project, contact Apostle Ray E. Taylor at 704-637-9955 or 704-637-1084.

Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or spotts@salisburypost.com.

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