New Sanctuary Church on West Broadway is set to open mid-November
By Kenzie O’Keefe | Editor
After over a decade of conducting worship services in several Northside schools, Sanctuary Covenant Church is wrapping up construction on a $5 million home of its own. By mid-November, the building, located on the corner of Aldrich Ave. N and West Broadway Ave., will be open to the public.
The new church, designed by architecture firm Station 19, will serve both the church’s 500 congregants and the surrounding community. “We want to make it clear that we see buildings as a resource for our community. We wouldn’t need to build if we were just a Sunday-only type of place. We see groups in our community being able to use our space,” said Senior Pastor Dennis Edwards, who has been with the church since 2012.
The brand-new building boasts seven classrooms, a kitchen, a 500-seat auditorium, and state of the art technology. Its raw, industrial aesthetic is both stylishly modern and cost effective. By leaving the ceilings exposed and not painting them, “it saves money. We try to think about how to efficiently use resources,” said Jeremy Scheller, the Church's Director of Communications.
Scheller says the church has been thoughtful about even the building’s smallest details. “I’ve been trying to resource from individual makers for things whenever possible,” he said. The church’s lights were handmade by an artist on Etsy, and the tables are going to have legs handmade by a steelworker.
In addition to the new building being constructed, Sanctuary has acquired and rehabbed part of the building next door to be their administrative headquarters. Eventually they plan to bridge the two buildings with an outdoor patio and walkway. The church is also exploring opportunities to eventually connect their operations to commercial happenings on West Broadway Ave.
Part of the administration building’s rehabilitation has been done by dozens of congregants through the church’s regular “Sweat Equity” days, led by Executive Director of Operations, Andrea Lee. “We invite congregation members to join us in the labor to save money and allows us a greater sense of ownership by getting our hands dirty in the process,” said Scheller.
Sanctuary was founded in 2003 by Pastor Efrem Smith, a North High School graduate, and it was seeded by suburban evangelical churches. Dennis estimates that 25%-35% of the current congregation is made up of Northside residents. “There’s a growing number of us attending who live in North,” he said.
“We hope the space will be a catalyst for growth for the church,” said Scheller, who added that half of Sanctuary’s staff, including himself, is comprised of Northside residents.
The church plans to host their first public Sunday of worship at the site on November 19. Until then they will continue operating out of North High School.