After a month of searching, we found and leased an office building. However, the owner sold the building three years later and our hunt began again! This time we were not having any success. So, we considered purchasing a building. We found a church building that had been vacant for over a year and was very reasonably priced. Mr. Kubik encouraged us to pursue it. It wasn’t as centrally located, but upon seeking opinions from members, it only added 10 minutes of travel time from previous meeting places.
On Nov. 1, 2014, the Cleveland congregation took possession of our own church building in the village of Grafton, Ohio. We were excited to have a permanent home, and quickly recognized this building as a God-given blessing on many levels.
First, we no longer had to set up, take down and store equipment each week. We could enjoy the Sabbath without the former heavy set-up work and planned activities when we wished. And we had such privacy and space! There were several rooms in the building that were converted into a conference room, library, classrooms, nursery and playroom. A bonus was the picnic pavilion on the property.
The next level of blessing was the camaraderie that grew as we worked together to maintain our home. We did carpentry projects, yardwork, painted and remodeled—each using his or her special talents to make it our home. We got to know and appreciate one another in a whole new way. Having our own building also continues to give many brethren the opportunity to serve. Brethren rotate cleaning the building each week, and occasional work parties help us tackle “to-do” lists of improvements and maintenance.
On the third level, it helps us become a positive presence in our community. Our sign out front announces who we are, when we meet and invites folks to visit. We have shared our building with a local Girl Scout troop for monthly meetings, held food drives for a community food bank and made fleece blankets for hospitalized children. We have communication with other churches in the local community and have done a couple of joint service projects with them.
On the fourth level, our home has been a benefit to furthering the aims of the United Church of God. We have hosted combined Holy Day services, an ABC Sampler, and invited the public to attend Kingdom of God seminars roughly every two years, providing a literature rack of church publications. Our home also serves the brethren by providing a place for weddings and memorial services.
With all we have done with our building over the last seven years, we have gotten to know and support one another, pray for one another’s challenges and share one another’s joys as we work toward fulfilling Jesus’ commandment given in John 15:12 that we love one another. When we walk through that door each Sabbath, we have a feeling of being home—home among family.