Restoration Praise Temple is a local nondenominational church that recently expressed interest in securing a new church home.
The church currently is run out of a chapel across from the West Virginia State University football field. Though the location is relatively close to the State campus, the church aspires to be a part of the campus culture rather than simply being situated on the outskirts.
In an interview, Pastor William Lipscomb II talked about the longstanding history between the church and the West Virginia State hive.
Lipscomb graduated from State in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. Shortly after his graduation, he moved to Florida and continued his passion and love for people and the church.
After some years in Florida, he wanted nothing more than to build his church in a place that felt like home, and he decided to move back to West Virginia.
In 2015, he ran Restoration Praise Temple in the West Virginia State University student union and briefly in Jones Hall before finally moving to its current location near the football field.
Restoration Praise Temple is building a new church on Barron Drive directly across from Dawson Hall — a dormitory on the campus.
The project eventually will require a church parking lot. A small parking lot is directly next to the empty lot where construction is scheduled to begin, but that parking lot usually is filled with cars belonging to the State students.
Most students using this parking lot stay in one of the two dorms on the campus. Many who use the lot daily also leave their cars overnight and often end up struggling with commuters and other students for parking spots.
Senior student and former SGA President Brandon Martinez expressed his concerns about parking:
“They already filled in the parking lot right next to Dawson to build the Catherine Johnson Statute,” Martinez said. “Now they’re giving the only other parking lot near the building to the church…. Wow!”
Some students are concerned the church will dominate the lot and they will have to find new places to park their cars, but the majority will go unaffected or are unbothered.
At this moment, Lipscomb said, the church has a tentative agreement with State to purchase the lot, but the pastor seemed more focused on paying off the land and getting the church built before he considers a possible parking conflict.
Nevertheless, students, faculty and church members are all excited about this new building and the transition.
Lipscomb stressed the “importance of having a presence on campus.” With this new church he hopes to gain “more visibility” and a deeper connection with the students.
Every other Wednesday, the church hosts a free giveaway of toiletries and essential household items for the students to take – “no strings attached,” Lipscomb laughed.
The pastor and the rest of the church are hopeful they will continue to integrate themselves into the campus community, and they want eventually to partner with State to offer scholarship and internship opportunities through the church.