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Pastor Brian Williamson stands in the area that will be converted back to a coffee shop in the building the Bridge Bible Church is in the process of purchasing, and where the church's office is now located. Williamson said the televisions in the coffee shop will have a live video feed during worship services so people in the coffee shop can join in and watch the services from the shop, if they choose.

Bridge Bible Church gets its own building

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Pastor Brian Williamson of the Bridge Bible Church smiled as he described his congregation's plan for the space they are in the process of purchasing for their worship space. Williamson said it won't be a typical church building. For starters, the building used to house a strip mall.

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"We want this space to be unique and just be a more modern expression of church," Williamson said. "So it's not going to be typically what people think of when they walk into a more traditional church building."

Williamson said the worship space will have almost a "club" feel to it and will not necessarily contain some of the physical elements people might expect to see in an "average" church, including a baptismal font, an altar and even crosses.

Williamson said this isn't due to a lack of faith, but rather the creativity with which the Bridge Bible Church prefers to express its faith.

He said the church is using a cross now during their services (at the Somerset High School multipurpose room) as it fits in with their theme. However, Williamson said the church did a "come fish with me"-themed Bible study series at another time, and decorated their space with fishing equipment.

Williamson said the church's expression can be very liberal, but their theology is not.

"It's pretty old-school actually," Williamson said. "We're theologically conservative and culturally liberal."

He described his congregation as "Bible-thumpers, in a healthy way, hopefully."

The building, in addition to housing regular Sunday worship services, will also house a day care which will double as a Sunday school/nursery location during services, and a coffee shop.

"We love to give and live out loud in the community," Williamson said. "We're excited to provide some things for the community that will be, hopefully, beneficial and meaningful and help people make a lot of connections."

Part of the reason Williamson said the Bridge Bible Church building won't necessarily be a typical church building is because the real church is the people, not the building.

"I think, for me, the compelling thing is that Jesus is building a church, and the church is the people, not the building."

"It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people," Williamson said, quoting Rick Warren.

The Bridge Bible Church, Williamson said, has a more creative approach to worship, and plans to accommodate that in its new space.

The Bridge Bible Church was granted a conditional use permit for the worship space, coffee shop and daycare from the Somerset Village Board last month.

The Bridge currently holds worship services in the Somerset High School multipurpose room.

Williamson said the Bridge Bible Church is in the process of purchasing the building on Rivard Street in Somerset. They hope to be able to close in mid-November.

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Gretta Stark
Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.
(715) 426-1048
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