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Bottling plant to serve new Sherwood ministry

The Coca-Cola Company has donated its old bottling plant on Pine Ave. to Sherwood Baptist Church. The 60,000 square foot building, valued at $590,000, had been on the market for the past two years. Sherwood's Facebook page says the church plans to use the facility as an outreach center.

The Coca-Cola Company has donated its old bottling plant on Pine Ave. to Sherwood Baptist Church. The 60,000 square foot building, valued at $590,000, had been on the market for the past two years. Sherwood's Facebook page says the church plans to use the facility as an outreach center.

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Brett Kirkland

ALBANY, Ga. -- Vacant for about five years, the Coca Cola bottling plant on Pine Avenue will soon be used to benefit the community and build a stronger local economy, said Brett Kirkland, director of local missions at Sherwood Baptist Church.

The structure, which Kirkland believes was built in 1940, was donated by Coca Cola Consolidated. According to company sources, CCC is the nation's largest Coca Cola bottling company.

Kirkland, a member of Sherwood for five years, has been tapped to head the ministry project, which so far has neither a name nor an estimated completion date. Kirkland says he hopes the first of the several ministries envisioned for the site can begin this fall.

Kirkland, during a speech Monday to members of the Dougherty Kiwanis Club, said the project's main target of ministry lies between the 60,000-square-foot Coke building and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. The area was selected for the lower economic status of its residents and its proximity to the new ministry building.

In order to be effective, the new ministry, once implemented, would be "biblically-based," with a "holistic approach," Kirkland said, emphasizing that similar ministries elsewhere have failed because of their over-reliance on religious points of view.

"That approach doesn't work," Kirkland said, "and it's turned a lot of people off to the church. The approach that does work is meeting immediate needs -- recognizable needs, then earning the right to speak truth in people's lives. You'd rather people love you than beat you over the head with a Bible."

According to Kirkland, the Sherwood project will incorporate primary "drawing points" such as a soup or lunch kitchen, after-school tutoring, adult education, job training, health and recreation programs and "adopt a block," a concept where a city block within the Sherwood ministry is "adopted" and cared for by an individual church or other organization.

"Whatever the needs of your block, go do it," Kirkland said. "Build relationships. Demonstrate love to a group of people who sometimes don't feel much love from their community."

Kirkland said the Albany Housing Authority is currently considering the demolition of government housing in Sherwood's target area and rebuilding as mixed income housing, which according to Kirkland, has been more effective nationwide in decentralizing local poverty.

To help provide needed medical care, Kirkland believes Sherwood will be able to partner with Phoebe Putney Hospital and Mt. Zion Church, which he says is connected with the Samaritan Clinic.

"Sherwood cannot fix the ills in our community working by itself, but the Christian community working together can make a huge impact and change the culture here," Kirkland said.

"Can you imagine the area between Phoebe and the Coke plant being completely revitalized? A totally different living environment. A totally different economic environment. How much of a positive impact would it have on Albany?"

Comments

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 12 months ago

If y'all don't think that a Sherwood "ministry" will not beat folks over the head with a Bible (eventually) then you've got another "think" coming. You'll see.

I haven't seen a bit of activity at the "bottling plant". When will you start your new "ministry"??

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getRealFool 1 year, 12 months ago

Do you ever have anything positive say or when you wake up do you just say to yourself man what horrible crap can I spew today and then off you go to be negative?

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

Well it's not good to call somebody a Fool.......Jesus Said It!!

One Post Wonder: Get a Legacy and then come back and see me!!

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 12 months ago

It would be nice if the old housing project buildings were torn down and build new. It would help with the revitalization of downtown and make people feel a little more at ease shopping and eating downtown. I think the area around downtown is one of the main factors why downtown gets a bad rap. The area by the Civic Center has been revitalized and it looks great!

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AnotherMom 1 year, 12 months ago

At least they are trying to do something positive for the community. I am not a member of Sherwood but think they are doing a lot of good for Albany. My children participated in their sports programs in past years and we never experienced any "beating over the head" with a Bible. They are a Christian organization and people voluntarily attend their programs, so it should be expected you will hear their beliefs. If you don't want to hear what they have to say, don't attend any of their activities.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

"Jim and Tammy and Reverend Swaggart.........don't look much like Jesus but are a whole lot fatter". One of my favorite song lyrics.

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