Even though The Gathering Place for New Hope Community Church has only been open about a month, it has already been used by hundreds of people.
The Gathering Place, located at the corner of 2nd Ave. SE and Adams Street in downtown Cambridge, offers New Hope 4,800 square feet of space.
Lead Pastor Bill Berg explained The Gathering Place houses the New Hope staff (seven offices), and offers a meditation/prayer room, community room and multipurpose room.
“For me, this is a scary excitement,” Pastor Berg said. “We are excited to be in here and so appreciative of the space, and it’s such a big step for us. It’s scary in the sense it’s a huge step of faith for us and with this we have increased costs. But we are excited to be in the downtown area and hope to learn more of what it means to serve the downtown better. We hope to help draw more business to the downtown area and also respect the businesses around us. We are a community church. We love the community and want to be an asset to it.”
At The Gathering Place, the congregation will be able to worship and meet for discipleship workshops, community groups, Bible studies, leadership training, spiritual direction, addiction-recovery meetings, student ministry, youth events, prayer gatherings and more. Sunday morning worship services will continue to be held in the Performing Arts Center at Cambridge-Isanti High School.
Pastor Berg explained it will also be a location where other nonprofit ministries, community organizations and civic groups will be able to gather.
New Hope purchased 25 acres of land on Skogman Lake east of Cambridge in 2006, and the church has been embarking on a capital campaign to raise money to build a church. Pastor Berg explained the church was able to pay off the land purchase in December 2011, and is continuing to raise funds toward the building of the church.
“Until we can get our church built, we needed a place to call home, and this is like our apartment,” Pastor Berg said. “Before we can get to our home, we need a place we can live and lay out our vision. Now we have a place were we can build community with people and be more involved with the community. Once we get things more organized, we want this place to be utilized by the community.”
New Hope, a church plant of First Baptist Church of Cambridge, has been in existence since 2004. For the past seven years, the church office staff has been housed in a home owned by First Baptist on South Main Street in Cambridge. The home will now be returned back to First Baptist who will decide what to do with it.
“I would like to thank First Baptist Church, Minnco Credit Union, Cambridge Christian School, GracePointe Crossing and all the others who have allowed us to rent or use space the past seven years,” Pastor Berg said. “The community has always been great to us.”
New Hope began looking for a larger space about a year ago, Pastor Berg said. The church looked at different locations, but ultimately decided upon the downtown location. Pastor Berg and others from New Hope successfully went before the Cambridge City Council to get a zoning ordinance change—regarding churches being located near liquor establishments—to allow them to locate downtown.
“We wanted to make sure we did everything right and know what was expected of us,” Pastor Berg said. “We want everyone to feel safe and we want the city to feel comfortable. We are encouraging our folks to use the commuter lot, and trying to be sensitive to the parking concerns.”
Pastor Berg explained the church did have one main contractor who oversaw the project, but also had a lot of volunteer help to get the building open in two months. He said the church did hire locally whenever possible.
“Everything has gone real well, but we are on a learning curve,” Pastor Berg said. “We have never had anything to manage before on a day-to-day basis, and we have a lot of people using this building. We are working out details yet, but we are happy to be in here and to have all this space. The other place worked, but it has been nice not having to bring our screens, projectors, food and other items we would always need when we would have to go off-site.”
New Hope will offer a 61-Hours of Prayer event at The Gathering Place beginning on Thursday, April 12, at 8 p.m. and ending Sunday, April 15, at 9 a.m. Anyone is invited to stop by and pray for events and activities at The Gathering Place, as well as the community, New Hope families and their faith.
The Gathering Place is located at 145 2nd Ave. SE (across the street from Sidelines) in Cambridge, and Pastor Berg invites anyone from the community to stop in and visit. For more information on New Hope Community Church visit www.newhopecambridge.org.