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Church has first service in new building

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After about a decade of leasing and renting space, the United Disciples of Christ Church is officially in its new home.

The congregation held its first service in a new building at Corridor G Sunday morning.

"It was really nice," said the Rev. Steven Smith, the church's pastor. "We had a larger than normal crowd and a lot of good energy."

The church started construction on the 15,327-square foot, two-story building in November.

The building's upper level has a sanctuary, restrooms and classroom space. The lower level has offices, workspace and a large gathering area, Smith said.

The church -- a merger of First Christian Church on the East End and Boyd Memorial Christian Church on the West Side -- formed in December 2004.

A building dedication is forthcoming. Smith said he wants the congregation to get settled in the new space before having a dedication.

"We wanted to be comfortable so we can help other people to be comfortable. To come and feel welcomed," Smith said.

Smith said the congregation wants to make the church available for community use during the week.

"We really want to utilize it for community purposes too," he said.

The church owns a little more than 71 acres on the site, which is on the top of a hill separating Corridor G from the West Virginia Regional Technology Park.

The church has so far developed eight of the 71 acres, Smith said.

Church officials hope to eventually develop the land with walking trails and other outdoor recreational facilities.

Smith said they are looking for partners from the community to help make that happen.

"We are and have been wiling to cooperate and work with other people in the community to help them develop the larger vision," Smith said.

A ball field and a community garden could come soon. 

The community garden wouldn't be in place until at least next year because it's too late in the spring to start one, Smith said.

The church has leveled a spot near the parking lot that could be used for youth sports, he said.

"We just have to assess the size of the field and determine based upon the area what sports can take place," Smith said. "We're hopeful [we can] reach out to the families of small children."

People interested in helping the church develop the land may contact Smith at the church's office at 304-925-7771.

He also invites people to come to church services.

"We want to invite people to come and have an experience of worship with us," Smith said. "Our mission is to be inviting and accepting of all people into God's family... we mean that and we live that and I think it makes us unique."

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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