Church to occupy former rescue building

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 22, 2005

For years, the small white building standing off U.S. Route 17 housed the Bennetts Creek Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Soon, the 8,200-square-foot building behind the Bennett’s Creek Farm Market will be rescuing souls.

On Tuesday, the Suffolk Planning Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit allowing Grace Harbor United Methodist Church to make its new home in the building.

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The church will add an 840-square-foot portable classroom to use for its children’s ministry, said city planner Kirk Baker.

The growing church would be able to accommodate up to 80 people regularly using the building, he said.

Moving into the squad building will be a temporary stop for Grace Harbor, said the Rev. Greg West, the church’s pastor.

&uot;There are a lot of challenges to starting a new church in north Suffolk,&uot; West said. Making it particularly challenging is the lack of available land in the northern end of the city, he added.

&uot;We’re a small congregation with just 45 members,&uot; West said. &uot;We believe God is doing a good thing and that we’ll grow.&uot;