Church celebrates Harbour View locationPublished 11:10pm Saturday, September 7, 2013
Suffolk’s newest church held a festive grand opening Saturday, as Hampton’s Liberty Baptist Church revealed a modern, 600-seat satellite campus in North Suffolk.
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m., folks enjoyed food, fun and games in the parking lot of the 22,000-square foot facility in Bridgeway Technology Center, 7025 Harbour View Blvd.
Children enjoyed bounce houses, a climbing wall, basketball, face painting and other fun activities, while families toured inside the facility.
“It’s just a great time to celebrate with our community and have some fun,” said Scott Payne, Liberty’s executive pastor.
Folks were eager to see the worship center, Payne said, where every Sunday at 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m., sermons delivered by Liberty’s senior pastor, Grant Ethridge, at the stadium-style Hampton sanctuary, will be broadcast live on one enormous center screen and two slightly smaller ones either side.
“We have 300 people from our Hampton campus to start off this campus,” Payne said. “Most of them live in this community.”
What Payne referred to as “soft-launch services” had been held at the Harbour View location for the past three weeks, he said.
The church has a modern vibe. One enters past a welcome desk, with $1 coffee — unlimited refills — dispensed to the side, before walking down a hall and into the worship center.
The three large screens, which Saturday carried recorded loops of a sermon by Ethridge, dominate the space. Instruments and live singers reside behind them.
“He (Ethridge) speaks to both audiences, so we all feel engaged,” said Chris Deitsch, pastor at the Harbour View campus, who lives in Carrollton with wife Rachel.
Sunday morning “connect groups,” and “a big youth service” at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, will be held in an expansive youth room, Deitsch said, and children from birth through fifth grade are catered for in a special section of the church called “Kidville.”
After a face-to-face sign in initially, kids enter after getting security badges via touch screens — “We are very big on making sure everything is secure,” Deitsch said — and are drafted into one of eight age-appropriate rooms for birth through kindergarten or a much larger room for first- through fifth-graders.
In the older kids’ room, different ages are assigned to separate patches of carpet differentiated by color. “We try to create a large-group environment and a small-group environment,” Deitsch said.
The kids’ section also includes a private room for nursing mothers, with a television screening a live feed of the service.
The multicultural, multiracial church’s mission is to “change lives, communities, and the world,” said Payne.
“This multisite is an opportunity to reach the Suffolk community,” he said. “We know there are 120,000 people within a 10-mile radius.
“We have a saying that it’s not just church, it’s life. We want to help people as they study the Bible so they can live the Christian life and live it well.”