First Baptist Church excited about land purchase, future youth facility

The First Baptist Church has purchased the vacant lots next door previously occupied by the Whitfield and Briscoe homes.

First Baptist Church Devine (FBCD) is excited about all the possibilities their new purchase of land will bring to not only their church membership but the community of Devine as well. “The church membership voted to buy both pieces of land next to the church to expand our ministry”, said Pastor Mike Barrera. “We are land locked and have been working on buying these two pieces of adjacent properties for many years. We are looking forward to building a Youth and or Family Life Center someday to possibly include a gymnasium, classrooms, kitchen, restrooms etc. Something with a floor that could serve as a basketball court, volleyball court, as well as used for large family or community gatherings and events, and hopefully classrooms. And of course more parking is always needed. At times the Community has a need for something like this too and we welcome the use as deemed appropriate by the membership,” said Pastor Barrera.
About six weeks ago, after many years of trying, the church was presented with the opportunity to purchase the back side of the land, where the old Whitfield home stood. They purchased the .62 acre tract from Shawnee Investments, LLC, an entity that represents the Patek family, who also owned the old Briscoe Home that was recently moved, prior to its sale a couple years ago to the Barry family.
Recently the church entered into a contract to buy the front piece of property which faces Highway 173, a 0.83 acre tract, the historic site of the beautiful two story Briscoe home recently moved by its new owners, the Barrys, to a new home site. The parties are waiting on the closing documents to be signed in the next few days, as the contract is already accepted and at the title company. The church hopes to officially own it within the next few days.
The long range planning committee from the church is scheduled to meet with a Master Planner from the Baptist General Convention of Texas within the next two weeks. This meeting is designed to help the church come up with an appropriate Master Plan based on what would be best for the local church by taking into consideration the current facilities, membership, land layout, and future needs to further their God-appointed mission of reaching out to, and ministering to, the youth and other members of this community. “What a great opportunity this church now has to expand its reach to help the at-risk youth and families in the Devine area, as well as the other citizens of our community. This land acquisition now gives the church the ability to use the additional land to build something that will not only benefit the community, but beautify it as well”, said Tommy Ramirez, a member of the church.
“We are excited about the acquisition of the land next to the church. The church has needed land for a long time and we have been talking with the Pateks for years trying to get a price from them, as well as the Barrys, since the Barrys first considered buying the old Briscoe home and the land it sat on. Good things will come in the future that will benefit not only our church members but the community as well. I’m not sure about the timing of it all but the long range planning committee will get it all figured out with help from the master planners,” said Bill Bain, FBCD Member and lifetime community member.

By Kathleen Calame