Oct 302012

St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church (via scabc.org)

After 12 years at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Henry Clay, Redeemer Presbyterian Church is moving nine blocks up the road to share space with St. Charles Ave. Baptist Church in a sanctuary that is twice as large as their previous home.

This Sunday will be the first service in the new location, and with the new space-sharing arrangement comes a new time for services: 9:30 a.m. For details, see the following letter that Rev. Ray Cannata sent to the congregation last week:

October 25, 2012
Dear Redeemer friends,

It is with great thankfulness to the Lord that I announce to you that Redeemer will be moving to new worship space (7100 St. Charles Ave. cor. of Broadway, 9 blocks upriver). This news is probably surprising to many of you, so let me explain.

This month marks the 12th anniversary of Redeemer’s first Sunday service in our current space, and during this time we have seen great things happen, and the Lord glorified. But we’ve also realized that this building was not ideal. I don’t primarily mean the lack of heat, etc. More importantly, we will soon need more room to continue our mission.

This a result of God’s blessing! When our family first arrived at Redeemer, average attendance in the spring of 2006 was 35 people. By 2008 — 110; by 2010 –139, and this last spring — 166. Often we have 180-200. Easter was 238. Our current sanctuary can seat 270 (functionally 240). We will run out of seats soon.

Another issue is the nursery. In 2006 we’d sometimes shut the nursery down when no kids showed. Now we average about 15 and can have over 20. That room is simply cramped and increasingly inhospitable to visitors.

Similarly, we currently have two children’s church class rooms, but we’ll eventually need three or four.

Beautiful things have happened at 6200 St. Charles. We laughed and cried and sang and prayed together. But this could not last there forever.

Therefore last April, Pastor Shane, Ken and I (and our spouses) reluctantly began looking for a new facility. We immediately enlisted the help of the eight members of the leader training group, plus their spouses. Eventually Pastor Will Tabor, Michelle, and Abigail Lee were involved. What we needed seemed impossible to find: Uptown, on a
main drag, seating 325, available Sunday mornings, affordable. At times we almost gave up.

But the Lord provided! Today we signed a lease. Starting Nov. 4, we will worship in the beautiful sanctuary of St. Charles Ave. Baptist Church. Our group all agreed that this move, while not without challenges, is the right one. Every vote through the process was unanimously in favor. Through countless meetings, emails, calls, prayer and study,
there was no division among us. Personally, it was hard for me — I am nostalgic by nature, and I fear rocking our ark or messing up a “good thing” God has been doing.

But we all knew we were making the right choice.

Here are some FAQs:

7100 St. Charles Ave at Broadway, nine blocks upriver of our current spot. It belongs to St. Charles Ave. Baptist Church.

When do we start?
Sunday, Nov. 4, 9:30-10:30am.

How large is the new facility?
The sanctuary seats about 500, plus the balcony. The nursery is four modern, bright, connected rooms with two bathrooms. Children’s church will be two great rooms. The lease also allows us exclusive use of two other rooms for children’s church. The fellowship hall is very pretty and has a full kitchen, stage, and tables and chairs for 200.

Why is the time of worship changing?
9:30 worship was probably the biggest drawback we had to accept. The Baptist Church worships at 11am and we will need to be done shortly after 10:30. It is still later than most people go into work, families with kids tend to be up much earlier than that anyway, and we will now be done by 10:30, giving people plenty of time to fellowship, go to lunch together, catch home Saints games, etc.

Coffee time after worship?
We’ll need to move out of the sanctuary immediately after we end at 10:30. But we’ll actual have far more time for fellowship and more inviting facilities. We’ll now have a usable kitchen and up to 90 minutes of fellowship if we desire (instead of 30-40).

What’s parking like?
Like our current space, plenty of on-street parking on Sundays, but with about 6 additional off-street spots. And unlike Henry Clay, the streets do not flood as easily. Some of you live close by and will choose to walk or ride your bikes (as many do now).

How does this move impact our mission?
More room for growth and hospitality, opportunities to partner with this host congregation, etc. Instead of squandering the new comforts, we hope that we will use this firmer ground to move out more boldly in mission to serve our neighbors.

How should we respond in prayer?
Whenever God’s people are blessed in ways they know they did not deserve, there is a regular pattern of response in Scripture. First, they GATHER in worship together! There they usually CONFESS — “Lord, we did not deserve this kindness! We have sinned…..” And they THANK him! And they’d ASK him to use this in his mission!

I am very excited for us!

In Christ,

The tower at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church (via scabc.org)

  • Can’t wait to attend services in the new sanctuary.

  • Beautiful sanctuary – exciting news.

  • Chris

    Exciting move for this great congregation!