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Stow -- A former church used as office space for the last few years is being returned to its roots.
The building at 1981 Graham Road, which was last occupied by Bill Monbeck Realty Inc., was purchased earlier this month by the Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church of Western Reserve -- a church that has been operating without its own facility since its inception in 2009.
Pastor Laurel Bobb, a Stow resident since 2001 and the church's founder, said she couldn't be more excited to have a place for her congregation to call home.
"We're just thankful to God, and as we have been, we're going to pray about where God wants to lead us in the future," said Bobb. "We're excited to see what else God has dreamt up for us."
According to Summit County property records, the building was sold Dec. 7 for $175,000.
The site belonged to Covenant Christian Church Inc. before it was sold to Monbeck Realty in 2004, according to property records. Prior to Covenant Christian moving in, the building was occupied by Calvary Chapel of Praise.
Mayor Sara Drew said the building, which is located next to City Hall on the Stow City Center campus, was vacant for approximately two years before Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran moved in.
"I'm just really happy that congregation is going in now so it's not empty," said Drew. "I'm happy the congregation has found a permanent home, and I'm really pleased the church is going back to being used as a church."
The move does, in fact, bring Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran to its first true home.
Bobb said her congregation has been has been meeting in various locations over the last three years. The group began meeting in Bobb's home at Pambi Farm Estates and moved to a friend's basement when the group began to grow.
Most recently, she said, the group has been meeting every Sunday in the Stow Safety Center Community Room.
Perhaps serendipitously, that room features a window facing the church building the congregation now occupies.
"There's a big window the whole congregation has been looking out, and we've been praying for months for God to show us where he wants us to be," said Bobb. "We had our eye on that building when we were still meeting elsewhere, but the price was just out of our range at that point."
After a recent drop in the asking price, the church made its move.
"It seemed meant to be, and it must have been," Bobb noted.
Growing steadily since its founding, the church now has nearly 30 official members, Bobb said. The move will accommodate further growth, which Bobb said she's optimistic will continue.
"Now that we have a building, we can be more visible and have a location to have people to come and have programs where we hopefully can reach even more people," she said.
Drew confirmed the church and the city have an agreement to share the surrounding parking lots on Sunday for the congregation's overflow parking since the church has a relatively small lot of its own.
Even though the interior is undergoing some renovations, the church will be meeting in its new location Dec. 16. Sunday school begins at 9 a.m., and that is followed by worship at 10 a.m. and then fellowship.
"We're currently in the process of reconverting it into a 'churchy' building," Bobb said.
Bobb said the church will announce a grand opening of sorts will all renovations are complete.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church of Western Reserve, the services it offers or any upcoming events is encouraged to call the church at 330-689-1045 for more information.
Phone: 333-541-9400, ext. 4179