NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention trumpeted a $27 million addition to its downtown Nashville complex with a special dedication ceremony Sept. 18.
About 1,200 SBC and city officials, local church and business leaders, construction personnel and LifeWay trustees and employees attended the hour-long service that, despite scattered rain, moved from LifeWay’s auditorium to the new One LifeWay Plaza main entrance for a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“Our newest building, One LifeWay Plaza, provides employees and visitors with 802 parking spaces, a 325-seat cafeteria, updated office space, a prayer chapel for employees and a new main entrance corridor,” LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr. said. “We thank each of you who are here today for being our partner in helping us proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world”, he added.
Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, congratulated LifeWay on the completion of the new facility.
“For years LifeWay has been a major contributor to Southern Baptist life,” he said. “While never having received money from Cooperative Program funds, LifeWay employees have contributed to Southern Baptist support. Last year alone, LifeWay contributed $10.8 million to the work of Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Program and the work of 41 state conventions.”
Draper told visitors that in 1984, LifeWay began a feasibility study to determine whether it needed to move to another location or remain in the downtown Nashville area. In 1986, LifeWay officials and trustees decided, “the best alternative for future growth was to remain downtown,” he said.
LifeWay has completed several projects since the master plan was developed, Draper said, including the most recent One LifeWay Plaza main entrance, and:
— Construction of an 11-story office tower, completed in 1990;
— Construction of a new north dock for shipping and receiving;
— Purchase of space for employee parking;
— Construction of a new distribution center for undated materials in nearby Lebanon, Tenn.;
— Refurbishing of existing space for the LifeWay Christian Stores division; and
— Construction of a new parking garage.
LifeWay’s Nashville facilities encompass more than 1.2 million square feet of floor space. The publishing entity owns and operates 110 LifeWay Christian Stores in 21 states and two national conference centers, in North Carolina and New Mexico. LifeWay opened a 250,000-square-foot distribution warehouse in Lebanon, Tenn., in 2000.
Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell congratulated LifeWay on its new addition, saying, “LifeWay serves as a major anchor for the western edge of the downtown business district. This is an excellent example of how to build the vitality of the downtown business community.”
Marty Dickens, chairman of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce executive committee and president of BellSouth of Tennessee, said, “LifeWay is a major contributor to the financial health of our community.” He added, “We also thank you for the spiritual influence you have in our community through the resources you produce, as well as your employees’ involvement in the service clubs, community organizations and churches.”
As employees and visitors moved outside to LifeWay’s new main entrance, Draper said the completion of One LifeWay Plaza “finishes up the present master plan needs.”
With a brass ensemble playing, employees unveiled signs on the new visitor parking lot and raised the American, Christian and Tennessee flags.
Prior to unveiling the LifeWay name above the entrance to One LifeWay Plaza, David Pope, vice chairman of the LifeWay trustees and pastor of One Heart Church, Rome, N.Y., said: “We are not just dedicating a facility, we are rededicating ourselves to the worldwide ministry of reaching the people of the world for Jesus Christ. The LifeWay name is to remind all who enter here that the purpose of this facility is to support the ministry of providing biblical solutions for life.”
Following the unveiling of the LifeWay sign, Draper and Mayor Purcell cut the ribbon to the new building.
LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention began as The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1891.
Owned and operated by the Southern Baptist Convention, LifeWay is among the world’s largest publishers of religious materials. Through its LifeWay Church Resources and Broadman and Holman Publishing divisions, LifeWay produces 188 monthly and quarterly products and more than 300 new, undated products annually.
Producing church literature, Bibles, books, music, church supplies and audio and video recordings, LifeWay is a self-supporting, non-profit organization that does not take Cooperative Program dollars. LifeWay Christian Resources employs 2,240 full-time and regular part-time employees; 1,507 of them in its Nashville facilities.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: UNVEILING, FLAGS and NEW FACILITY.