New Hope Community Church has been recognized for its innovative design by two architectural awards.
The church, which opened in its new 17,600-square-foot building in March 2015, won both the Solomon Award for Best Church Design for one to 800 seats, presented at the 2015 Worship Facilities Conference and Expo in Nashville, and the Association of Licensed Architects Award for design excellence, presented in Chicago.
During a Dec. 9 luncheon at the church, Nicole Thompson, president of Station 19 Architects Inc., presented the awards to the church and BJ Baas Builders, the Cambridge company that constructed the church building.
Thompson entered the New Hope project to be considered for both awards and said as a company, Station 19 was very humbled to receive two awards for the project. The New Hope building competed against projects in large cities with budgets upward of $300,000.
The New Hope church was completed with an impressively low budget, which was commented on by the judges.
When presenting the awards, Thompson acknowledged how cohesively the teams worked together and how much she enjoyed the project, especially as a personal spiritual journey.
“It’s been just a privilege to serve you and to continue to serve you,” she said. “Everything on this building was designed with your input and for you. The story is more
important to me than the building. The building gets to tell who you are.”
New Hope Community Church did not have its own building until this year; they used facilities at Cambridge-Isanti High School to hold worship services.
“It’s made me feel more part of New Hope and children’s ministries,” said Lisa McCarthy, pastor of kids and families. “There were times when I wouldn’t see (pastors or members) or anybody on a Sunday morning and that was hard, and now I see them all. And kids see them, and families see them, and that’s a huge thing for us.”
At the location at the high school, group meetings often had to be cut short and rushed out due to other conflicts at the school. At the new building, the church is able to hold not only their own services, but host up to 200 guests for weddings and funerals.
New Hope Community Church was recently a collection center for Operation Christmas Child, a project the church participates in annually. The project saw tremendous growth in this year’s output of boxes, contributing to the total of 117,000 boxes coming out of Minnesota.
“It is a lot easier to connect people together. Lives are being changed. At the high school we didn’t know if those things were happening, but we’re home now,” said Robin Wetther, director of hospitality.
Sheri Bourke, who lives down the road from the building, reflected on watching the church come to life from the ground up throughout its construction.
“It’s a place that kids want to invite their friends to. It’s inviting,” she said.
Members of the building committee also expressed the ease at which they can now come together and build relationships with other church members.
“I will never forget the first worship service that we had here. The worship team was smiling and singing and they immediately sounded so much better,” laughed Bryce Harcey, executive pastor. “Everyone felt so much more intimate here in our own worship space.”
Station 19 and BJ Baas allowed the building committee to be very hands-on in the construction and design process. The building was positioned strategically so that the view of the lake could be seen perfectly from the community lobby. There are two portions of walls inside that were built from wood palettes that church members designed, constructed and painted themselves.
“I just really appreciate the team as a whole taking our tagline ‘an untypical church with typical people’ and making that a reality,” said Bill Berg, lead pastor.
Brian Baas, president of BJ Baas Builders, noted that, in general, church projects can be very difficult due to the amount of emotion attached to the project and committees often lacking leadership.
“I was just incredibly blessed and pleased with how the committee functioned,” Baas said. “It was smooth sailing for the most part. There were some challenges to overcome, and New Hope staff handled them gracefully.”
Thompson expressed her appreciation for the sharpness the team at New Hope has for their mission to serve their people and community.
“It’s just over-the-top impressive. So to be able to build a building to tell your story has been just an over-the-top privilege for our team. Thank you very much for that,” she said. “The journey was probably better than anything I could have imagined.”
New Hope Community Church is located at 33030 Vickers St. NE, Cambridge, near Skogman Lake off Highway 95.