Local church to build 600-seat sanctuaryThe Mitchell Wesleyan Church started in 1924 with a few people gathering in an upper floor of a downtown building. Now, the steadily growing congregation has outgrown its facility.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell Wesleyan Church started in 1924 with a few people gathering in an upper floor of a downtown building. Now, the steadily growing congregation has outgrown its facility.
In the first weeks of May, Palace Builders will begin demolishing the sanctuary, which sits on the south side of the fellowship hall along Sanborn Boulevard.
“We’re just busting out of the seams,” said Chad Glanzer, building chair for the church board.
The sanctuary was built in 1958 and incorporated the floor of the original frame structure built in 1925 at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Sanborn Boulevard, said the Rev. Keith Nash.
The floor will be demolished with the rest of the original sanctuary, but the church board agreed to save the stained glass windows, he said, which will be incorporated into the new worship center.
Wesleyan Church’s congregation holds three worship services each Sunday to accommodate all parishioners. The board agreed about 10 years ago to begin the process of adding on to the building.
“In the last five years, there has been an intense raising of funds to actually make this possible,” Nash said. “We’re grateful to get to this point to break ground and get the building done.”
Between 450 and 500 people regularly attend the church.
“We had a congregational vote of approval in February with a little over 90 percent approval,” Nash said. “It was overwhelming.”
The current sanctuary holds 275 to 300 people. The church started offering two worship services in 1985, then went to three in about 2004.
The new sanctuary will hold 600 people and will also include a basement level and a second floor to provide an educational wing, early childhood, nursery and youth area. This will more than double the space the church will have left standing during construction, Nash said.
Over the last five to seven years, the church has acquired four lots on the same block, which has made the project possible, he added.
“When we started this plan, we had no property across the alley. We would have had to get creative and build on top of ourselves, but then the property became available,” Nash said.
The $4 million project will take more than a year to complete. Nash said the congregation raised more than two-thirds of the amount needed to pay for the project and a loan will take care of the rest.
The church has been debt-free until this point, but the congregation felt so strongly about a new facility that members were willing to take on some debt to complete the project, Nash said.
“This congregation has a track record of wanting to pay off debt and not be in debt for any lengthy period of time. I think we’ll pay of the debt early,” he said.
In the meantime, churchgoers will attend services at Mitchell Christian School’s gymnasium.
The final service in the current sanctuary will be April 30, Glanzer said.
“Our aim is not bricks and mortar,” Nash said. “One thing we’ve made clear all along is we’re not facilities and property. We’re investing in the lives of people and the future generation, and making a difference in lives down the road.”