A growing ministry

Published 10:54 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

A local church that has yet to reach its second birthday is hoping to bring new life to an old funeral home.

CrossPointe Freewill Baptist Church is under contract to purchase the old Sidney F. Harrell Funeral Home, located at 2460 Pruden Blvd. The church’s conditional use permit request was recommended for approval by the Suffolk Planning Commission this week.

“It’s been a situation where the Lord is closing doors and opening doors,” David Sexton, pastor of CrossPointe, said this week. “This building is laid out perfect for a church.”

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The church began meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn downtown in September 2008 with only a few families, and has grown to a weekly attendance of between 80 and 100 people.

“The Lord’s giving us a lot of new families,” Sexton said.

The church has been renting four conference rooms every Sunday morning to hold services, he said. However, members never know who will be meeting next to them, and they will be able to do more community service from their own building.

“There were a lot of distractions from time to time,” Sexton said. “We’re excited about getting our own building. Once we get into our own building, we want to do a whole lot more.”

CrossPointe initially began looking for a building several months ago, Sexton said. Members passed up a building on Murphy’s Mill Road because of the proposed alignment of the new U.S. Route 460. They then began looking to lease the funeral home, but again ran into a problem.

“They didn’t really want to lease,” Sexton said. “They wanted to sell.”

The church will convert the interior of the funeral home to suit its purposes, using the old arrangement room for a children’s wing and the back of the building for a teen wing. The congregation will meet in the chapel.

CrossPointe has only one more hurdle to clear before it can officially use the building as a church — City Council approval in June.

“I don’t foresee any problems,” Sexton said. “We want to be a blessing and be a help to our community.”

The church will have its first service in its new building in June, but will not hold a grand opening service until Sept. 26, which will be near its second anniversary.

“Hopefully, our church won’t be dead,” Sexton joked. “Ours will be alive.”