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Salina church conducts its final service

A 50-year-old church with its roots embedded in the United States Air Force celebrated its final service Sunday.
But there’s hope that the Bel Air Southern Baptist Church building at 1100 W. Cloud will again be a house of worship.
“Mostly dwindling membership” prompted the church to close, said Rev. Kirk Stricker. “Also, this (roughly 10,000-square-foot) facility was too large for us.”
Bel Air Southern Baptist boasted many more members than were attending church services, he said.
“The number that really counts is how many show up on Sunday morning, and we’d been running about 40 or 50,” Stricker said.
The church can comfortably seat 250, he said.
“We’re primarily an older congregation,” Stricker said. “The likelihood of us having the energy and resources to reach young families was unrealistic.”
At age 55, he’s looking for another job, either as a preacher or in some other profession. Stricker served Bel Air Southern Baptist since September 2001 and he will be unemployed as of Sunday.
He’s been preparing church members for weeks to let this congregation fade away gracefully.
“The goal was to try and get through this with dignity and honor,” Stricker said. “God’s not done with us. The ministry will continue.”
Read the rest of this story in Thursday’s Journal.

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