Dedication of Jordan Welcome Center, other facilities propels Falls Creek into future
DAVIS—Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan and his family were honored June 11 as about 150 friends, supporters and fellow workers gathered at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center to dedicate the Jordan Welcome Center (JWC).
The evening was a bitter sweet one for Jordan, whose mother, Norma, passed away in February.
“There’s someone missing tonight who wanted to see this day so bad,” Jordan commented softly. “Every time I’d go see her she’d say, ‘Son, I want to be there on that day.’ But, she’s in Heaven and she’s a lot better off. She’s having a lot better time than I am, I promise you. But, momma’s not here.”
Jordan, who led a long and sometimes arduous campaign to see major improvements at Falls Creek over the past decade, credited his parents with instilling in him the traits necessary to see the job through.
“Inside on the fireplace, there is a sign in honor of my mother and father,” he said. “They are the ones who instilled in me the commitment and love for Christ and don’t quit attitude, no matter how tough it gets, and it got tough sometimes.”
He thanked his family—his wife, Polla, son, Adrian, and daughter, Alisha, as well.
“There aren’t adequate words from my heart to express to you the depth of my soul tonight,” he stressed. “It has been a long journey. I want you to know there were lots of nights . . . it was Polla who stayed at home while I went to 30-something banquets, and the toughest night of my life was when my little girl stood out in the driveway and said, ‘Daddy, you’re not going to another one of those things, are you?’
“I had to tell her, baby, I gotta go. We gotta get this done.’ So, my whole family was willing to sacrifice, and I want them honored in all of this.”
Jordan also thanked the two families—Rick and Lisa Thompson of Oklahoma City and Gene and Jo Downing of Oklahoma City—who provided the funding for the construction of the JWC, which is the new “front door” of Falls Creek, features 1,800 square feet of outdoor patio space, provides a central and focal place for smaller event registration and will serve as the lobby for the 50-room Thompson Family Lodge still under construction.
“It’s pretty humbling when people are willing to give like that to honor somebody, and I am deeply humbled by it,” Jordan said. “The journey we have been on is one I would do again a thousand times, and it has nothing to do with the name on a building; it has everything to do with lives changed and transformed by the Gospel.
“That’s the way Falls Creek started; that’s the way I pray it will be until Jesus comes. That’s what we are about here. And, so I want to express my appreciation to these two families for their giving to make this happen and to all of you who have been faithful to give . . . . Thank you for honoring us in this way, and we are blessed beyond words that God let us serve Oklahoma Baptists.”
BGCO President Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, likened the Jordans’ dedication to the advancement of Falls Creek to that of another family, original founder J.B. Rounds and his sons, who literally cut the road to the encampment in 1916 out of the wilderness by hand, using “three star drills, a sledge, two shovels, two picks, one grubbing hoe and a wheelbarrow.”
“Just as the Rounds family built the road to Falls Creek at the beginning of the 20th Century, the Jordan family paved the way to move Falls Creek into the 21 Century,” Dilbeck continued. “This family sacrificed blood, sweat and tears (not totally metaphorical) to bring this vision to be. Dr. Anthony Jordan traveled miles to cast the vision, to cultivate unity and to raise the capital. He made it possible for the facilities and the program to grow. He endured and absorbed the complaints and criticisms that accompany change . . . . Falls Creek is prepared to reach a second century with the Gospel because the Jordan family built the road.
“Dr. Jordan, when we find ourselves welcomed to Falls Creek by a building that bears your name, we will remember that vision is powerful, leadership is costly and progress requires sacrifice. Most of all we will remember that Anthony Jordan was faithful; and that our God is faithful. These buildings do declare to the generation gathered to hear the Gospel tonight—Falls Creek has a past, and praise the Lord, Falls Creek has a future!”
In addition to the JWC, ribbon cuttings were held for two other projects June 11 as the Thompson Sports Pavilion and Kannady Family Lodge also were dedicated.
The sports pavilion down at the recreation area on the Falls Creek low road provides shade and protection from the elements for campers mainly playing basketball, but also volleyball and softball.
Jordan thanked Richard and Patty Thompson of Oklahoma City for their generous gift in providing the structure, which specifically covers the basketball courts.
“On any given afternoon there are close to 2,500 young people down here on this part of the camp, and, before, if a storm came, there was no shelter for them, so one function of this facility is certainly to cover the basketball courts and make them shaded, and that’s a good thing, but it also gives all of them a place to seek shelter in the case of a storm,” he said.
“And, for the very first time, we have real restrooms. And there’s also attached to the refreshment stand a covered patio area.”
The Kannady Family Lodge, formerly called Lodge No. 1 near the Falls Creek Office, has been remodeled, thanks to a gift from Greg and Susan Kannady from Kingfisher.
“The youth camps always will be the crown jewel of Falls Creek, but now we have the opportunity to reach thousands more people by being able to conduct family events, such a marriage retreats, and to do that, we have to have good facilities,” Jordan said. “That’s why we have remodeled this lodge. It’s just beautiful because of the generosity of Greg and Susan and their commitment to Falls Creek, which is long, and their faithfulness to be involved in what God is doing here.
“This facility gives us the ability to be able to minister to adults and have the kind of events in the future that will allow us to touch the lives of what we hope will be thousands of adults, some of whom will come to know Christ as a result.”