STURGIS – For years, members of Foothills Community Church have had a vision for a new church building to accommodate their growing congregation.

That vision came to fruition on Sunday, Nov. 24, when the congregation held a groundbreaking for a new 10,000 square-foot church building off Avalanche Road west of Sturgis.

The day began with the congregation celebrating a service of Thanksgiving highlighting God’s faithfulness to the church and his provisions for the new building, said Foothills Community Church pastor The Rev. Jeff Neikirk.

Following the regular worship service, the members gathered around the building site with building committee members holding shovels in hand.  

Although the “real” digging had begun two days prior, the groundbreaking ceremony was carried out with great joy, said Neikirk.

After introductory words and prayers, members of the congregation sang: "The Church's One Foundation," its lyrics heralding – “the church's one Foundationis Jesus Christ her Lord.”

Foothills Community Church comes from humble beginnings. About 25 years ago, a small group of Sturgis families decided to begin gathering together for Sunday morning worship.  The families met in living rooms in their homes until they grew large enough to need more room.  

They soon found themselves worshipping in a chapel at the Fort Meade VA Medical Center campus, but continued to pray for a church building of their own.  Then, in 1995, a small, old church building which had been vacant for years came up for sale. The small group secured a loan and bought the church and adjacent land. Foothills Community Church was born.  

“Over the years, much growth has taken place in the little church and time has taken its toll on the little, old building,” said T.J. Loftus, head of the church’s building committee.

So fundraising began and plans were envisioned.  

“The congregation was waiting for God’s timing to begin the building process,” Loftus said.  

The building committee invested time and research into finalizing drawings and plans for the new building. Bids were sought and finances were discussed.  

Finally, the day came for the congregation to decide if moving forward was the correct decision. It was announced that fundraising had exceeded expectations and the congregation voted unanimously to move ahead with the new building project.  The congregation hired Travis Towry and RGD Concepts to make their vision a reality.

With a new church building comes much-needed additional space.  

Loftus said there are Sunday mornings when there are few places left to sit in the pews.  And on Wednesday evenings, church youth are crowded into classrooms and around tables.  

“There are fellowship meals when those at the end of the line sit down with food after the first few are done eating and have cleared their spot,” he said.

A new sanctuary will bring seating for nearly 300; enough room for regular attenders with seats to spare, Loftus said.  

The number of new classrooms will be almost double the number of the old church building, leaving space for the Wednesday night youth activities to grow.  

“And the new fellowship hall will have plenty of room for everyone to sit and eat together,” Loftus said. “It is our hope that the building we build will be a place of worship, and ministry that will serve Christ and the town of Sturgis for years to come.”

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