Home at Last
For nearly a decade, the congregants of FaithBridge United Methodist Church have moved from location to location, holding their services in various places in and around Blowing Rock.
“We started as a church in July of 2002,” the Rev. Marianne Romanat said in an interview last Thursday. “We started out in the band room of Blowing Rock Elementary School in 2002, and then in 2003 we moved to the school’s cafeteria. In 2003, we moved our services to Mystery Hill and were there until 2006. For the past five years, we have been back at the school, holding our services in the auditorium.”
On Sunday, Nov. 13, FaithBridge Methodist Church will host its grand opening in its new facility, a brand new building on Aho Road, just behind the Mustard Seed.
“The construction is done, and we have our certificate of occupancy, but we are still completing some of the finishing touches,” Romanat said.
The new church was consecrated last week by Bishop Larry Goodpaster, head bishop of the Western North Carolina division of the United Methodist Church. The grand opening event on Nov. 13 will include an 11 a.m. worship service, a children’s ministry, live music from the Praise Band, refreshments and guided tours of the new facility at 196 Aho Road.
“We are excited to move into our new home, but also a little sad to be leaving the Blowing Rock School after all these years,” Romanat said. “We are so thankful for everything they have done for us. They have been very kind and very patient and helpful to us. Last Sunday’s service was our last one in the Blowing Rock School.”
According to Romanat, construction of the new church started last February and took a little more than eight months to complete.
“Our contractors did a great job,” she said. “They came in under budget and early.”
The new church features a worship hall with removable chairs instead of pews, so that it can be used for multipurpose events. With a capacity of more than 200, the room can be used by community organizations and families looking to host reunions and special events.
“We have a couple who are looking to have their wedding here, which would be our first, of course, but they have not committed to a date just yet,” Romanat said.
The church also features a spacious entrance hall with spectacular stone fireplace.
“We wanted the entrance to be very welcoming,” she said. “The message of the building is that of welcome, as in the ‘Welcome of God in Christ.’ His message is ‘I love you and accept you, come in and receive that message.’”
Off to the lefthand side of the entrance are the coffee bar and a children’s room for infants and toddlers. The older children’s ministry is held at the FaithBridge offices next door to the new church.
The new church’s stage is set on the right side of pulpit and is dedicated to Tommy Wright, an active member of FaithBridge and its praise band. Wright, a member of the Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue, died in an automobile accident returning home from firefighting training in March 2010. The new stage is referred to as “Stage Wright.”
The church’s prayer room is dedicated to Billy Cannon, a seasonal resident who was also very active in the church.
“During the church’s final inspection, they told us that the stage was too tall,” Romanat said. “It was 32 inches above the floor, and the limit was 30 inches. So, we built kneelers up from the floor for praying. We joked that this was God’s way of getting us to pray more.”
For more information on FaithBridge United Methodist Church and its Nov. 13 grand opening, call (828) 295-8333.