Back in March 2009, I posted about how our church had outgrown its cute little building, built back in the 1850s. We moved over to a local middle school, where we met for 3 years. There was lots of seating, but the hallways were cramped, and there was no real vestibule area to hang around and fellowship in after the service. So when a local high school opened up over a year ago, we took that. The high school was even roomier, and it had a lovely open, bright lobby, so it was tons better. But we were still having to set up all the classrooms for the kids and the nursery, plus everything in the auditorium, so it was still hassle. Our church had looked around for a lot to build on, or a building to buy, but everything in this area is really expensive.
Our pastor, Mike, was friends with another local pastor, Mat, who came to the area 4 years ago. He was called to a church that had really dwindled in size and was now composed primarily of older people. The only real way they were staying financially afloat was by renting out their church building, which included a TON of classrooms to other really young churches, and also to a daycare during the week. About 2 years ago, the idea was floated about merging our 2 congregations, but their congregation (well, I think mainly a few outspoken people) was opposed, so the idea was dropped. But then over the course of the next year, those vocal people left, and the idea was broached again. This time, both congregations were enthusiastic, and we have enjoyed getting to know the people from the other church over the past 2 months. We continued to meet in the high school while we renovated the sanctuary to allow us all to fit. Even with the renovations, it is still a very tight fit!
This morning was our first service in the church building, and it was so nice to be in a real church again! The singing was WONDERFUL!! Singing in an enormous high school auditorium just meant you could sort of hear a few people around you, but you couldn't really hear the congregation as a whole. As you can see from the picture below, the wood ceiling is so beautiful! We felt right at home because that is exactly what the ceiling looks like in the base chapel my parents attend, which is also where Bob and I got married. We were sitting about halfway back, I would say. Also, I love having windows! The high school auditorium was sooo dark. It was a great first service!