Covenant Evergreen Church hosts first service in its new building

LAKE TWP. — The people of Covenant Evergreen Church celebrated their first Sunday service on Dec. 6 in the new church building which recently finished construction.

Construction on the new building began last spring, although the desire for a new, larger church has been with the Covenant Evergreen congregation for some time.

"The vision for the new church has been around for 20 years, but the project itself began two years ago," explained pastor Keith Foisy. "When we began fundraising, there were some stipulations. We wanted to ensure we had 80 percent of our funding secure before we broke ground. That happened last spring."

The current church was built in 1953 and was a center of Christian worship and service in Lake County for more than 60 years. With the growth of attendance, however, the small 90-person chapel was becoming too cramped for the needs of its people.

"The design for the new building began on a restaurant napkin," remarked Jack Demaat, the church chairperson. "We gave our ideas to an architect out of Grand Rapids and they formalized it."

The new church is located on a 30-acre tract of land a half mile away from the old church. Demaat said after raising the funds the process went incredibly smooth. He called it a testament to God and the people who worked so hard to make it all a reality.

"Being able to finally open the doors feels like a huge relief and accomplishment," said Demaat. "This really is God's doing; it's humbling. To have been able to secure the $500,000 needed is amazing, and there was never a dissenting vote when we were going through the process of designing and building it."

The main advantage of the new building is the additional space to house a larger congregation, but the church leaders said the new church has given them an opportunity to include several other improvements.

"Our congregation grows to more than 200 people in the summer and with the new building we can accommodate them all," said Foisy. "The new building is handicapped accessible. In the old church, we couldn't help those in wheelchairs. Now everyone can join in without any hindrances. We didn't have a real place to have our Sunday school classes or nursery either, and we made sure we had a space for both in the new church."

Additionally, there is room on the new church grounds for some projects the church leaders were excited to be able to make a reality.

"In the spring we'll have a quarter mile long prayer path with stations along the way where people can read and reflect different lessons from the Gospel which we switch out every week," Foisy said. "We will also have a prayer labyrinth where people can walk along a path and perhaps find solutions to problems. We will also be including a picnic area and a swing. We want to give people a place where they can go outside and find sources of comfort or wisdom."

At the first service hosted in the new church, Foisy spoke in his sermon about how so many great things can happen when people help one another and have faith in God.

"Our theme through the whole process has been 'in it together' which has really helped cultivate our feeling of community," said Foisy. "Finishing this church is proof of how strong and giving the people of this community really are."