Cornerstone Apostolic’s new home is 136th ‘Church In A Day’ project

Dave Marner

What started out as a mostly bare concrete slab at 6:30 a.m. Thursday became a church building which hosted a service on Sunday afternoon through the national “Church In A Day” program (CIAD).

Pastor Sheila Bowens, her Cornerstone Apostolic Church members and guests worshipped Sunday in their new building on Krausetown Road just outside the Owensville city limits. The service included a baptism ceremony for three worshippers with an attendance of approximately 125 members and guests.

Along with donations of their labor, CIAD participants also chipped in financial support for Bowens’ congregation.

Chris Thorton, a member of the Missouri Men’s Conference from Lebanon, Mo., made a surprise donation of $10,000 to Bowens on Thursday afternoon. The men’s group had collected donations during their recent conference in Springfield. His dad, Bob, was the construction overseer for the project.

Over their meal break earlier that afternoon, the Missouri Ladies Ministries presented a $5,000 donation.

Thorton noted they’ve worked on prior building project in the Missouri communities of Steelville, Hollister, Lamar, Arnold and Thayer, and a church addition in Cameron. He noted there are about 150 Pentecostal congregations in Missouri.

Cecil Perry, an electrician from Alexandria, La., was on his eighth church-building project with CIAD. He’s worked on prior church projects in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana and his home state of Louisiana. “I enjoy these types of projects,” said Perry as he assembled a outlet box.

Cornerstone Church members Randy and Teresa Rhoads of Belle were active in the project. Randy was stringing wire to the breaker box which Maxwell had installed prior to the start of the project. Teresa was helping in the kitchen and dinning hall set up under a tent on the property.

Chicken and dumplings was on the menu on Friday.

“This is pretty awesome,” Randy said as he fed wire up into the attic area.

Maxwell had constructed and set a 12-by-12-foot section of wall and mounted the electric service panels on it prior to the start of the project. Water and sewer pipes were stubbed into the concrete pad which was poured in August to allow it to cure a month.

The 4-acre property was previously the site of a private residence which burned eight years ago, said Maxwell. A deep well and a septic tank were already in place from the prior residence. He replaced the water lines and made improvements to the septic system before the building began. 

Daryl Wampler, a church member from Gerald, was grilling chicken, pork cutlets, bratwurst and hotdogs on Thursday for the noon meal. Mickey Lewis, who pastors a church in Aurora, Mo., was also helping with the food production end of the project.

He was making banana pudding for the noon meal on Friday. “Everyone does their part,” the pastor of 22 years said.

Two local girls, Elissa Accardi and Victoria Luechtefeld, both of Gerald, were joined by Jacyne Romey of Oelrich. S.D., as they measured and cut insulation strips and then helped others placed them into the framed-out wall panels on Thursday.

Church in a Day began in Arkansas in the 1970s, according to Terry Long, national director of the project. The project went national in the mid-1990s.

The Missouri District of the United Pentecostal Church participates in the project which had constructed 135 churches prior to the one in Owensville. This was either the 10th or 11th project in Missouri he said.

Long, based in Indianapolis, Ind., noted Bowens began her church four years ago with one member in a storefront on Peters Street. The congregation had been meeting in recent weeks at Gasconade Manor and had grown to 76 members.

The Owensville project was slightly different from their typical buildings, said Long.

“Our typical building is 34-by-84-foot and takes between 20 and 36 hours with 250 to 350 people working 24 hour continuously,” said Long. “This one is 60-by-60 and we’ve added time due to the fact it’s a non-typical building. This project is spread out over three days.”

Orville Mitchell, a church member from the Tea community, said the building’s 3,600-square foot layout included nearly 10,000-square feet of drywall. A crew brought in for the project by Jeremy O’Neill, a CIAD volunteer from the Kansas City area, began installing drywall on early Friday morning and was using a 20-minute quick-drying mud for taping the seams and nail and screw heads. A textured coating of paint was applied over the taped walls and carpet was installed during the final push to complete the interior work by 2 a.m. Sunday.

On Monday, Mitchell was completing the finishing details on window and door trim. Dan Maxwell, Bowens’ father, was installing the fixtures in the men’s bathroom. The women’s restroom was operational for the service on Sunday.

Work remains to complete the kitchen but the building was, essentially, mostly operational for their first service.

The project was complicated by extreme heat on the first day.

A roofing crew including Richard Harris, of Labadie, installed the sheeting on the front half of the building by about 9:30 p.m. Thursday but the day’s heat had taken its toll on them all. Harris, a member the Maxwells’ Calvary New Life Tabernacle Church in Gerald — now pastored by their son-in-law David Luechtefeld — said simply, “we’re done.”

There was concern about predictions of overnight and early-morning rainfall in the region. Insulation already installed was covered with plastic sheeting along with stacks of drywall awaiting installation on Friday.

A crew of fresh replacements arrived at midnight and put down the decking on the back side of the structure. They finished around 5 a.m., said Harris. They just showed up, he noted. 

It never did rain — other than some light sprinkles.

Shane Hasting, a Doni-phan,Mo., resident who pastors a church in Van Buren, was finishing up the interior framing late Friday afternoon with his crew including Hermann area resident Doug Kuebler, who pastors in Gasconade, Dustyn Tallman, a pastor in Moberly, and Tim Koonce, who attends Tallman’s church.

“It’s pretty fun to be a part of this,” said Hasting as they framed out the fiberglass baptismal tank and covered it with plywood — their final task for the project. “It covers a lot of sins,” he joked.

“Hallelujah, I think we’re done,” he added.

Barnwood was installed later over the plywood for the finished look.