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One Brick at a Time

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on November 23, 2010 with No Comments

By Mike Siroky

There really is a circle of life after all.
A Hobart church with no permanent home was given one. In turn, the church has decided to give back to its community.
The East Campus of Sunset Christian Church has been renting Sunday space in a Hobart mall movie theater for its services.
Another church, First Christian, closed its doors at 625 Lake Street in Hobart.
It makes sense for one church with a home but no further congregation, to donate the building it called home, to a church with a congregation but no physical home.
Suncrest is a St. John-based Christian church, with campus homes in Highland and Walkerton as well, whose members spend much of their time helping others. They build ramps for the otherwise homebound, and they have been known to do indoor renovations as well.
They reach out constantly using the Youth For Christ Campus Life ministry to reach the youngest members of their hometown.
The international organization helps teens as transition to college life, as they face all of the challenges of being on their own and away from home.
With all the talented volunteers who have done carpentry, wiring and other physical renovations, it seemed natural that the East Campus folks could undertake and complete the renovations at their new home.
But they wanted to do more.
Daniel Albrecht, a recent addition, has worked with the Campus Life organization no matter where he has been.
Their hot topics range from food you can cook in a college dorm room, to dealing with pregnancies and depressions. Mostly, they help teens keep from being bored.
“So we were working on the building,” Suncrest Pastor Doug Gamble said. “And Daniel was talking Campus Life as he had just moved to the area.
“As we worked, we started daydreaming. Both of us, really independent of each other, started thinking of how to use our new home.”
As their work ended, so did class time at the Hobart Middle School. Lake Street is a natural pathway for students walking home or heading to hang out at the nearby Dairy Queen.
So, suddenly Suncrest’s new neighborhood was flooded with all these students flowing past.
“The talking turned into a real conversation as to how we could use this new space for something redeeming to the community and the children,” Gamble recalled.
“Our sister church had given us this opportunity.”
As Hobart is famously known as the home of the Brickies, the new name for the church became irrevocably known as the Brick. The mission of the location was immediately defined as a community youth center, a place to meet the needs of teens through both casual and structured events.
Gamble made it clear that this is not a members-only place.
“Everyone is welcome; you don’t have be a church family member,” he said.
And, as with all volunteer-driven projects, the church is not shy when it comes to accepting any adult who has something to offer.
For instance, the church has plenty of music in its services, but they will not turn away the next guitar player with something to share.
The Brick is a place where caring adults will seek to cut through the cultural noise, according to part of the new mission statement.
Gamble expects to offer art classes, computer classes and anything else that comes up on the teens’ requests lists.
“We’ll offer several different things,” Gamble said. “We want programs specific to the ages of middle school and the same for high school. On weekends, I can see an Open Mic competition, a battle of the local bands.”
Gamble said they want the place to be a community connection, open to everyone. He said it is all about making progress, and they continue to make progress in the renovation. They are looking at early 2011 to be the official start for the location.
“We’ve done most of the demo,” he said. “Now is the time to get the rest done.”
Some hometown businesses have already stepped up to aid in the completion of the renovations. Von Tobel Lumberyard donated paint and another company donated lights.
For more information, visit www.suncrest.org, call 888-850-4519 or e-mail doug.gamble@suncrest.org.

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About Mike Siroky

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the chronicleNWI.com

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