Oak Ridge Missionary Baptist Church in Wyandotte County had several good reasons to celebrate on Sunday. The congregation marked its 137th anniversary as a church and also paid off its mortgage seven years early.
Senior Pastor Ricky D. Turner made sure that everyone felt a part of this momentous occasion. “That’s our mortgage payment, for the last 17 years,” he said.
Melissa Bynum, the county’s at-large district 1 commissioner, attended and read a proclamation, officially declaring August 27 Oak Ridge Missionary Baptist Church Day. “The church on the hill” was founded in 1888 when a church member gave some of his land to the church with one condition — the land had to be used as a place of worship. The land along Parallel Parkway was a high ridge with large oak trees, so it was given the name Oak Ridge.
In 2005, the congregation moved across the street at 9301 Parallel Parkway to a 29,000 square foot sanctuary that holds a gymnasium, a family life center, and 19 classrooms. In 2013, the church started its Oak Ridge Youth Development Corp.
As the congregation cheered toward the end of service for the burning of the mortgage, Pastor Turner announced that a small “oops” had occurred. Just when members were ready to burn the mortgage, he realized he forgot to bring the actual mortgage to the ceremony. “Uh, oh you all, we forgot the mortgage papers,” Pastor Turner announced.
The congregation roared in laughter as he quickly pivoted and found a paper to substitute for the mortgage and carried on with the ceremony. Members clapped and cheered as the improvised papers were set ablaze, representing paying off the church mortgage early.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice