Family Worship Center buys Sunrise Manor

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By Linda Ireland

The old Sunrise Manor Nursing Home, which sat vacant for two years, is being repurposed.
The rooms that once housed the aging or infirm will be turned into Sunday school rooms and office space.
Family Worship Center of Hodgenville purchased the 46-year-old building at absolute auction Saturday, Nov. 16, for $181,000.
Members of the church hugged each other after auctioneer Gary Reynolds said, “sold.”
The congregation has outgrown its current building on Tanner Road, said Pastor Mark Knight, who has led the group for eight years. About 200 people worship there regularly.
“We’re packed in like sardines,” said Knight.
Another church group already has expressed interest in purchasing or renting the FWC building.
“It will fill their need – it’s amazing how God works,” he said.
The decision to bid on the building came after numerous prayer meetings by the group, said Knight.
“We left it in the hands of God,” he said.
The congregation will move into Sunrise – probably using the physical therapy room as a sanctuary, he said. They have offered office space to other local agencies, like Community Action. A bookstore is also planned.
Later, a new sanctuary will be constructed in the center courtyard of the nursing home. The courtyard was once used as a break area for employees and was filled with rose bushes tended by volunteers.
“All ministries and (Sunday school) classes will surround the sanctuary,” said Knight.
A large group waited for Knight and Donnie Maupin – who made the bids on behalf of the church – at the Tanner Road building. They had a celebration (bordering on a pep rally, Knight said) when they learned of the purchase.
They’ve already chosen a name for their new ministry, one that honors the Sunrise Manor legacy: Family Worship Center and Sonrise Ministries.
“We want the community to know our number one goal is to help invest in our community,” he said.
About 50 people showed up for the 10 a.m. auction. The crowd doubled by the time the event, held in the facility’s dining room, ended.
The contents of the patients’ rooms were auctioned first, bringing anywhere from $12 to $57.50. There were two-to-three beds, lamps and nightstands in each of the 54 rooms. Jason Whitlow purchased the majority of the parcels.
After the contents sold – a process that took about 30 minutes – auctioneer Jimmy Lee of Lee Realty announced the nursing home and an adjacent two-acre lot would be auctioned separately – then combined for a bump of $1,000.
The building brought one bid – $100,000. The adjoining lot sold for $45,000.
The bidding for both sites started at $146,000. It took another 30 minutes to coax the bids to $181,000.
After the property sold, the contents of the remaining rooms and outdoor areas sold. The remnants of the physical therapy department brought $65. A large concrete fountain and flowerpot brought $5.
Bidders have until Wednesday to remove the items.
Sunrise Manor board member Jim Whitlow said he was pleased a church had purchased the property.
“They’ll keep it nice,” he said. “I’m glad for them.”
The board’s original plans included turning the building into an assisted living facility. It was cost-prohibitive, he said.
Another idea was to tear down the aging building and sell the lot. It would cost an estimated $250,000 to demolish it.
The money raised at the auction will be used to offset debt, he added.
While the auction was underway, several of Sunrise Manor’s longtime employees took a last look at the building. Many of them continue to work at the new location, managed by Signature Healthcare, on Shepherdsville Road.
Lorrie McCoy and Candy Vincent stopped in the chapel where countless religious programs and activities were held.
Lorrie, who worked as a nurse’s aide, married her husband, Russell, who worked in the maintenance department at the time, in the chapel.
She chose the spot because she wanted her grandmother, a resident at Sunrise, to attend the ceremony.
“I was 19 when I started working here,” she said. She and Russell are now grandparents.
Vincent pointed out a large mural of Christ on the wall. Each of the facility’s employees had traced their hands on paper, cut them out and glued them around Christ’s face.
“We did that for a Christmas open house,” she said.
They laughed about variety shows and costume contests held in the chapel over the years – and some of the unique costumes worn by longtime co-worker Vanessa Combs.
Combs grew teary-eyed as she talked about the many residents and families she has worked with – and the good times they had. The good times outweighed the bad.
 “There are no sad memories here,” she said.