Bridge Bible Church enjoying new building
Until mid July, the members of Bridge Bible Church worshipped on Sundays at the Somerset High School. Since then, the congregation has been enjoying its new digs at 701 Rivard St. in a building it owns.
"We're here permanently," said Bridge Bible pastor Sean Strubbe, who joined the Somerset congregation in June. "We're here for the long haul. We also wanted to get a space that benefitted the community."
While most of the building is dedicated to the church's gathering space, Bridge also leases space to two tenants: Sonshine Learning Center and the Bean Bag Coffee House.
"The idea was to not get a building that we use just once a week, but to get a building that could be used in and for the community," Strubbe said. "There's no point to get a mortgage just to meet for an hour-and-a-half on a Sunday morning."
Bean Bag leases a small part of the building from the church, and the church uses much of the seating area as a meeting space throughout the week. The church's office also is located just off the coffeehouse seating area.
Before the church bought the building it was a commercial space that housed a variety of businesses over the years, including a hair salon, a fitness club, a child care center and a coffee shop.
Bridge took over the space last December, gutted the space and rebuilt the inside.
"We started the weekend before Christmas," said Missy LeQue, Bridge director of communications. "They started working right away by demolishing and tearing down walls."
In about seven months, contractors and the church members themselves combined to build, design and decorate an enjoyable and unique gathering space.
"If I was responsible it would have just looked like a doctor's office with plain walls," Strubbe said. "We have a great group, and it's great to see everyone use their gifts."
The church's gathering space itself seats about 200 people, and it has been earning approval from worshippers.
"They love it," LeQue said. "They have a place to have meetings or to get together, and they love the look of it and the feel of it."
Strubbe added that people like not having to set up and break down the gathering space each week. It's also easier for the church to schedule events, because it doesn't have to rent the space from the high school and work around the school's availability.
Last Sunday, Bridge Bible Church began offering two 75-minute Sunday worship services with one at 9 a.m. and the other at 10:45 a.m.
"We are at maximum capacity already," Strubbe said. "The space was already filled in summertime and typically we see an influx in fall."
An open house for the community is being planned for October.