By AMANDA GREENE
Wilmington Faith and Values
For the first time in years, the halls of the Scottish Rite Temple off 17th Street won’t be rocking with gospel hymns and liturgical dance themes this Sunday.
New Beginning Christian Church, the nondenominational congregation that rented the hall, is moving 15 minutes away this weekend to its new permanent home in a quiet subdivision at 3120 Alex Trask Drive.
At first glance, the 20,000-square-foot red brick building looks more like a school than a church. That’s until you look up.
On each side of the contemporary building, a cross is visible either
in-laid into a brick wall or into a walkway entrance.
Pastor Robert Campbell said the building will give the congregation growth possibilities they couldn’t reach in a rented facility. There are classrooms complete with bathrooms for different youth groups.
“Up until now, we’ve mixed ages and just didn’t have the space do it properly,” Campbell said of their former Sunday school set-up.
A warming kitchen and a book kiosk.
A green room area for New Beginning’s liturgical dance teams.
Two parental care rooms with windows into the sanctuary so parents don’t miss his message.
But Campbell wants the building to be more than just a Sunday morning destination for his congregation and the surrounding Castle Hayne community. He plans to open a preschool starting in June with hopes of expanding to a daycare and Christian academy in a few years.
Adjacent to the building is an open field where Campbell is partnering with the local nonprofit Leading Into New Communities (LINC) to plant an organic farm. LINC will use that farm plot to train former inmates it works with in agricultural techniques to help them get jobs. Campbell also has plans to build a Christian life center and affordable housing near the church in coming years.
Standing in his wide sanctuary, Campbell said he’s not worried about people finding the church.
“Our new tagline is ‘A church alive is worth the drive,'” he said. “We’re 15 minutes from Leland and 15 minutes from downtown and UNCW. I’m hoping we’ll bring a contemporary ministry to a traditional area.”
As stage lights were wired and building equipment tested this week, Campbell gave his approval.
“I want services to be more of an event,” he said. “We want to create a five-star ministry here, and now we’ve got a building to do it in.”