REEDSVILLE - A dream and a commitment will come to fruition Sunday when Big Valley Bible Church moves into its new facility in Lumber City, Reedsville - debt free.
The church purchased the building, which originally housed the Reedsville Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, from the Eastern Pennsylvania District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance on April 8.
"I am thankful and blessed by God's provision of the building. It's just God's faithfulness.'' said the Rev. Jeffrey Hartzler, noting the congregation's commitment to remaining debt free.
Discussions about the purchase have been ongoing for nearly a year; and roadblocks have been resolved, paving the way for the purchase, said Hartzler, who co-pastors the church with his brother James Hartzler.
The church's new facility is brick, with 3,200 square feet on the main floor and a complete basement. The auditorium will seat more than 200 people, Hartzler said.
Members of the congregation have been busy refurbishing the building and making repairs.
"We've had a lot of people do a lot of work,'' Hartzler said. "There have definitely been some excited people. What I have observed personally is a steadiness to accomplish it. A lot of our senior citizens pitched in and did a lot of work, but many people also have helped.''
The main auditorium, nursery and restrooms will be open on Sunday. The basement will not be ready for occupancy until new floor covering can be laid.
Along with the carpet, ongoing projects at the church include parking lot improvement and expansion, landscaping and completing basement renovations.
The church began as a dream of the Hartzler brothers. Jeff Hartzler was pastoring a church in Ray, Minn., and Jim Hartzler was serving a church in Charleroi, when each resigned their pastorates to start the new work. As co-pastors, the brothers take on different roles: Jeff serves in a full-time capacity, while Jim chooses to support himself by working as a registered nurse.
"When Jim and I thought and talked about starting a church together, I at times would envision sitting together in a building in a service with him and that has been happening for almost six years. It's incredible to see that coming to pass in our own building.'' Hartzler said. "Our goal is just to be faithful to the Word of God.''
The brothers held the church's first service on Aug. 17, 2003, at Floyd and Alma Hartzler's cabin in Stone Valley, with 19 in attendance. Three weeks later, the congregation moved into the Bohn building at the corner by the traffic light in Reedsville, with 30 attending the first morning service there. Six years later, church attendance now averages about 140 per week.
On Wednesday, the congregation officially moved into its new building. They will celebrate their first worship service at 10 a.m. Sunday in the new church, 139 W. Railroad St., in Lumber City. An evening service will be held at 6 p.m. Weekly prayer meetings also are held at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Nursery care is available.
Like any move, getting back into the old routines takes time. The Sunday morning children's program will resume as soon as possible. Youth meetings will continue to be held from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m. Wednesdays, and the Olympians and Gopher Buddies, children's clubs, will begin meeting on Wednesdays at the start of the 2009-2010 school year.
For more information about the church, call 667-3123.