Albion church moves into new sanctuary built by volunteers

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Rev. Tim Lindsay, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion the past 33 years, stands in the church’s new sanctuary, which was used for the first worship service this morning.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 December 2020 at 11:38 am

Harvest Christian Fellowship moves into new space with room for 250

ALBION – A church that started in Albion 33 years ago has completed construction of a new sanctuary where church members did nearly all of the work.

Harvest Christian Fellowship this morning held its first service in the new sanctuary. The church worked 3 ½ years to build the 5,000-square-foot space. They did it without incurring debt.

“We’re just looking forward to it, to finally be in it and be able to worship,” said the Rev. Tim Lindsay, the church’s pastor since Harvest started 33 years ago.

Church volunteers did nearly all of the work themselves on the 5,000-square-foot addition. The church is located on Route 31, across from Bullard Park.

The church is located at 560 East Ave., across from Bullard Park. The new sanctuary has space for about 250 people. The previous sanctuary had a capacity for about 140 people. That space will become a fellowship hall and also will be used for youth programs and community life.

Harvest set a goal to have the new addition done by 2020. It met the goal, despite the challenges of pushing the project to completion during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“One of the biggest testimonies of this whole project is 90 percent of the work was done by volunteers in the church,” Lindsay said on Friday. “God provided people with skills, with willingness, the energy and money.”

The church volunteers brought a range of skill sets, from construction to cleaning, to get the project done.

“It has been really positive for the church,” Lindsay said. “It brought the church together whether physically, through donations or praying for the project.”

The project includes an indoor café and fellowship area. Before, people were crowded in the foyer after services. Now there is more room to congregate and fellowship, Lindsay.

Lindsay has been with Harvest Christian since day one. In the early days, the church used space at what is now the Elk’s Lodge building on West State Street. It was the recreation hall for the Albion Fire Department in 1987, when Harvest started.

The Fire Department used to have Bingo on Saturday nights at the building. When that was over, Harvest Christian Fellowship would start setting up for the church the next morning.

After three years at the recreation hall on State Street, Harvest Christian purchased the former Kingdom Hall on East Avenue after the Jehovah’s Witnesses constructed a new building on Route 31, next to Mount Albion Cemetery.

The building on East Avenue was cramped for Harvest Christian with the sanctuary serving as multi-purpose space. The musical equipment, chairs, pulpit would have to be moved for other events and then reset again.

The sanctuary has room for 250 people. It has more space for social distancing.

The church during the Covid-19 pandemic has been doing two services to allow for more social distancing. With the new sanctuary, nearly doubling the space, Harvest will go back to a single service on Sundays at 10 a.m. The services are also streamed on Facebook.

Harvest will have a bigger celebration and grand opening sometime in 2021, Lindsay said. For now, the church is grateful to be in the space by Christmas.

Lindsay, 63, has been a part of the Albion community since he was 30, raising his family in the village.

“God put this on my heart from the earliest days,” he said about his ministry in Albion. “This is where God planted us.”

During the Christmas season, the church remains focused on discipling people in the community, and welcoming them to Harvest Christian Fellowship.

“This will be a special Christmas celebration for us,” Lindsay said. “My message will be there were so many people involved in the Christmas story. They all had an encounter with Jesus and they were never the same. This will be a place where people can encounter Jesus and never be the same. That is what we hope and pray.”