Kilharen's Lodge event center proved to be the "perfect fit" for Timothy Baptist Church's fellowship hall, Pastor Kenny Payne said.

"We can walk in there and really not do much of anything cosmetic," Payne said. "It's ready to go."

The church bought the facility and property, 5000 W. Fern Mountain Road, in March and closed on the sale in late April, Payne said.

The 6,000-square-foot facility will be used as a fellowship hall. The church youth group will use it for its Wednesday evening fellowships.

"It's got, I believe, about 12 acres, so there's a lot of room out there to grow and do other things," Payne said.

He said the church had considered adding a fellowship hall to its current facility, 5530 W. Okmulgee Ave.

Darren Kilpatrick said he and his wife have owned and operated the lodge for 12 years and are ready to move on to other interests. He said the property was not for sale. 

"The church came by and made us an offer, and we were like, man this good for them, good for us," Kilpatrick said. "He (Payne) said 'what would you sell it for," and I told him and he said, 'I think we'll just buy it.' He said it's going to save them millions from having to build one." 

Payne said the church had been working with architects about building onto the current church.

"In the middle of working with him on that, I was contacted by owners of Kilharen's Lodge on the possibility of selling," Payne said. "After we went and looked, we did the budgeting and decided it was more feasible to do that."

The lodge features a 13-foot-wide white pine balcony surrounding an open floor. A 10-foot wide grand staircase with a platform leads to one side of the balcony. A spiral staircase leads to the other. The lodge has a full catering-style kitchen.

Payne said the church had rented Kilharen's several times for dinners and other events.

"It's big, it's open," Payne said. "We have between 425 and 475 on a Sunday morning, to have fellowship with all of us, we had to have something big."

Outside amenities include a stage with a white pergola and a creek with decorative benches.

"Darren Kilpatrick's parents were very active here, so it's a little sentimental to us, too," Payne said.  

Kilpatrick said Kilharen's will honor commitments for events that already had been scheduled this year. The Kilpatricks will still own Hamlin's El Toro and JL's, a barbecue restaurant in Pryor. 

Kilpatrick said the sale allows him and his wife to enjoy weekends.

"For 12 years, we've had zero weekends off," he said. "The only time someone had wanted the lodge was on the weekend. "We never had a weekend off. Everything had to be scheduled around the next party."

The church's youth group had met at Timothy's original church facility on Kershaw Drive until earlier this month. Payne said the church likely will sell that facility. 

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