By Tasha Mahurin

When it became apparent that the former educational building at Alice Bell Baptist Church (ABBC) in Knoxville had to be replaced due to structural problems, the church’s goal became to construct a facility that would meet not only its own needs, but the needs of the community as well. That goal became a reality in August of this year when the new facility was cleared for occupancy, and Sunday, September 8, the church will hold a celebration service to dedicate its new Ministry Center building.

The new 10,500 square foot Ministry Center is built in the space vacated by the church’s former west educational wing, and is a multi-purpose facility housing educational space, meeting space, and a full-size basketball court that can also serve as a banquet hall, an auditorium or concert hall.

“The Ministry Center is a tool that will help ABBC to be relevant in meeting needs within the community for several decades to come,” Ron McConnell, minister of education told The Focus.

Classrooms and a kitchen form the perimeter of the building. Designed for both education and recreational programs for all ages- restrooms and shower facilities are also included in the building’s unique design. Among its other uses, basketball leagues, exercise classes, and other intramural-type sports opportunities can be accommodated by the building.

The church also hopes to use the facilities for English as a Second Language classes and Spanish Classes, craft classes, and financial planning classes. Additionally, the church’s Clothes Closet Ministry, which serves approximately 800 families a year, will be located in the new facility. The ministry closed temporarily when safety issues closed the former building.

“Our God is in the business of changing lives and He has strategically placed ABBC to make a difference in the community. We are excited about the opportunities and challenges that presents,” McConnell added.

At 12:15 p.m. church members and the community are invited to a dedication service and lunch to be hosted in the new Center. Alice Bell Baptist Church is located at 3305 Alice Bell Road. For more information, call 865-522-0137 or visit