Springfield congregation building new $2M church

A Springfield congregation has outgrown its longtime home on South Hubert Avenue but plans to be in a new $2 million home by Christmas.

The Grace Missionary Baptist Church has been in its current location at 427 S. Hubert Ave. since 1989, but is building a new church just a few miles down the road at 1301 Beacon St., said Rev. Orbie Estep Jr. Construction is already underway on the one-story site that will significantly boost the space available for worshipers.

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Along with space for worship, the roughly 25,000-square-foot facility will include a gym, kitchen, meeting space and amenities, he said. The current building used by the church is about 9,500 square feet.

“We don’t just use the church on Sundays for a building,” Estep said. “We use it nightly.”

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Grace members have raised money for the project for the past several years, Estep said, and so far have about half the money needed to pay for the new building.

The church purchased the Beacon Street property for $30,000 in 2013 from Wellington Square LLC, according to records from the Clark County Auditor’s Office. Wellington Square is the real estate arm of Springfield’s Turner Foundation.

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One of the keys that made the site attractive to the Grace congregation was that’s located in a residential neighborhood, Estep said. He estimated the church has about 30 ministries that include providing resources to a food pantry and a homeless shelter to hosting mission trips. Being located in a neighborhood was important to church members who wanted to play an active role in the community, he said.

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In addition, the roughly 3-acre space offers room for additional expansion if the congregation continues to grow.

“We wanted to stay in a community and we wanted to stay in this part of town,” Estep said.

Grace was founded in Springfield in 1963 when Estep’s father and William Pressnell established a missionary baptist church in a former union hall at 1601 W. Main St. The congregation slowly grew and moved into a site at 3504 Dayton-Springfield Road two years later. The church continued to expand and eventually moved into the South Huber Avenue site.

Church members saw continued growth at the Huber Avenue facility, and Estep said the church eventually took over adjacent lots for additional parking.

The new sanctuary, once complete, will be able to seat about 325 worshippers, with the possibility for future expansion.

Once the new church is complete, the goal will be to sell the current building, ideally to another local congregation, Estep said.

“We’d like to be able to see someone else come in and use it as a church family,” Estep said.

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