Oak Grove Baptist Church in Van Buren will celebrate the completion of its new sanctuary with a dedication and fellowship meal following service Sunday.

Oak Grove completed the second phase of its current building program in December with the completion of its nearly 12,000 square feet sanctuary.

Pastor Joe Walden will speak on the past and present of the church as part of a dedication service Sunday to begin at 10:30 a.m., he said.

Marty Black, a missionary for the Clear Creek Baptist Association will speak about the church’s future, Walden said, to be followed by a hamburger and hot dog fellowship dinner.

Construction of the sanctuary was completed in December 2013, and Oak Grove held its first service there - the Christmas program - Dec. 15, Walden said.

While the building process has been difficult, Walden called the end result "a blessing."

"The people that come to worship have been very excited to move into a new sanctuary," Walden said.

Oak Grove members have not been able to worship in an actual sanctuary since 1997, after the previous pastor moved church services into the family center with plans to build a new sanctuary, Walden said.

It was not until Walden became pastor in 2003 and led the church into a master building program that things began to happen, he said.

Oak Grove was founded at its current location at 4929 Industrial Park Road by D.W. Chambless in 1883, and was originally a frame building.

In 1933, it was replaced with a rock structure and has had several expansions and add-ons since then, the last being the family center and children’s building in the 1970s, Walden said.

That family center is now the only building that still exists from that era, Walden said.

A new office and education building were completed in 2005 as part of the first construction phase, after which the church started working toward a new sanctuary, he said.

As part of a training session for the fire department, the old education building, office space and fellowship hall were burned down in 2012, Walden said.

Construction on the new sanctuary began in the spring of last year, he said.

Plans to asphalt the remaining parking lot are upcoming, Walden said. Phase three - the kitchen and family center remodel - remain future endeavors.