When one thinks of church buildings the grand cathedrals of Europe may first come to mind, but for a local congregation church is now being held in something a little more down to earth.
In fact, the original intent of the building was not for a congregation at all, but for those who enjoy spending time out in God’s creation.
As of mid-January, Christ’s Victory Lutheran Church of Redwood Falls is the new owner of a building in an ideal location on the east side of the community.
What was first erected as the home of Redwood Motorsports and Marine six years ago at 91 Airport Road has now been converted into a sanctuary for the local Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) congregation.
The congregation had been renting a spot on Mill Street in Redwood Falls, but from the beginning members knew if the church wanted to grow it was going to have to come up with more of a long-term solution.
The church, which officially began this past April started discussions about a new building from the beginning, and one of its members heard the building might be for rent. What it discovered in talking to the building’s ownership was it was not interested in renting but could be interested in selling the building.
As a very new congregation the local group was not ready to make that kind of commitment, said Mike Petersen, one of the church members, adding that meant the group kept looking.
“We looked at a lot of places,” Petersen said. “When we would hear about a building being available we would go check it out.”
What they discovered was those spaces which were available did not meet the needs of the congregation.
In the meantime, the group kept growing, and the space they were using was getting more cramped with each passing Sunday.
It got to the point where people didn’t feel they could invite anyone else, because they would have been standing during the services.
“The space we were using had about 800 square feet for our sanctuary,” Petersen said, adding the new sanctuary alone has about 3,600 square feet.
Not only is there room for a sanctuary, there are office spaces, room for a fellowship area and additional space for classrooms in the future.
Some of that space remains in the hands of the past owners, as it ties up some of its loose ends in town.
According to Bob Wiehr, one of the co-owners of the building prior to the sale, the business had done some planning about continuing its operation in the community before the unexpected request about purchasing the building.
Page 2 of 3 - With one of the owners, Don Krussow, already retired and Wiehr also nearing that retirement time, it felt the time was right to sell.
Wiehr said a third owner, Brent Wiehr is going to continue operating in the business and making good on its local commitments by utilizing the back end of the building which is going to officially be turned over in April.
The Yamaha motorsports and marine business is going to continue to operate at its Hutchinson location.
“We want to thank the area residents for their patronage over the last six years,” Bob Wiehr said, adding customers are going to be able to continue reaching the dealership through its established local number (507) 644-2300 but those calls in the future are going to be transferred to Hutchinson.
The congregation held its first official service and annual meeting at its new location Jan. 27, and there was a sense of excitement among those who were in attendance.
The church has demonstrated in its early stages a great sense of togetherness, as was evident when the vote to purchase the building was taken.
There were no dissenting votes.
“Although we are a church, I would call us more of a family,” said Wally Bernhardson, one of the church members, who added he saw the church really come together when the work of getting the space ready for services. “Everyone really helped. They just got in and did it.”
Kim Nott, another of the church members, said the congregation is very fortunate to have great people with a lot of great talents.
The church holds to the philosophy that everything belongs to God, and it is the belief of the congregation that the facility it has purchased is his to use as he sees fit. They just want to help utilize it to build the kingdom.
The church has had 45-65 people in attendance, with folks coming in to town from all over the area – as far away as Sanborn, Clements, Belview and Franklin, and there is a good mix of people attending.
One could tell the members are very excited about the new location, which was evident in the smile on Mike Petersen’s face as he said, “welcome to our new home” as this reporter entered the sanctuary.
The church meets Sunday for Bible study and Sunday school at 9 a.m., with worship services at 10:30 a.m. Confirmation classes are being held Wednesday nights.
The congregation, which has been offering a variety of programs now can utilize its new space to im-prove on what it has been offering and add more its programming.
The congregation has an active call committee, and it hopes sometime this year it is going to have its own pastor. The church is currently being served by area pastors who fill in each week.
Page 3 of 3 - For Christ’s Victory Lutheran Church there is plenty of room to grow physically in its new location, but the opportunity now also exists for the church to grow spiritually as well.