The new part of the church’s community center is “open to all”
Central Community Church celebrated its grand opening Sunday at the new state-of-the-art Central Community Center in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The main tenant of the 6,875 square meter facility on York Road is the Pentecostal Church, which looks back on a 101-year history and was last located on Scott Street in St. Catharines.
The two-story building, which includes a fully-equipped 1,800-seat auditorium, coffee shop, boardrooms and breakout spaces, also offers communal rental space for sports teams, corporate groups, concerts, graduations, galas and more.
Lead Pastor Bill Markham said the church has been at the Scott Street site for more than 50 years. But 10 years ago “we knew we were running out of space.”
“The building was getting tired and tired and we couldn’t accommodate the people who were coming,” he said.
“We started looking for land and looked all over the Niagara region and we were lucky enough to get this piece of land (on York Road, near the QEW).”
Markham said the church conducted a demographic study of where its congregation of about 3,000 members are from and that the 10.5-acre property is “actually closer to York Road for many of them.”
“A lot is from Niagara Falls, a lot is from Welland, so it’s more central — it actually fits our name better,” he said.
Markham said although only 12 acres have been developed there is room for future growth.
He said when looking for a new home, the church doesn’t want to “spend a lot of money on a space that you only use once a week.
“We said, ‘How could we build a space that can be used multiple times?’ The vision is that there will be people in this space 24/7, so there isn’t a one-time use space, it could be used for multiple, flexible things,” Markham said.
“We really wanted to make a difference for the next generation. We felt that we could engage a child and help them create a healthy and robust narrative for their own life that we might be able to spare them from pitfalls in the future. That’s why we have the athletics gym. We’re thinking about renting a dance studio. We have a football club on offer. Everything is geared towards the next generation.”
Sarah Pritula, operations manager at the Central Community Centre, said despite the building only opening over the Easter weekend: “We get inquiries about renting here all the time.”
“We have already hosted a number of private events. We have galas here. We also have many corporate events as well as youth church conferences.”
Pritula said a full-service daycare center is also on-site.
During Sunday’s grand opening, the church offered two services in the main auditorium, with opportunities for the public to tour the grounds and family-friendly entertainment.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held with representatives from the center and church, as well as dignitaries, politicians and first responders.
Niagara-on-the-Lake Mayor Betty Disero said she was “amazed by the beauty of this space” and the “love and warmth” she felt from those in attendance.
Construction of the building began in 2018 and despite “various adversities, setbacks, inflationary impact and more, like COVID,” Disero said she sees the “tenacity of this communion of churches to see this project complete and they should be very proud of themselves.” ”
“I am delighted that you have chosen Niagara-on-the-Lake as your new home and I am confident that your impact will reach far beyond our borders,” she said, adding that the center is “for everyone will be open”.
“Thank you for looking beyond these four walls and making a conscious effort to reach out to the community. Not only that, you also created a space for the community. Your kindness, generosity and determination make a difference in our region and will continue to do so. My hope for this building is that it will be a beacon of hope for our community and that those who enter this place will feel welcome, safe and inspired to do their best.”