by Stephen Dafoe
The sun and the Son rose on local Christians June 17, 2012, as they gathered to celebrate the word of God just like they do each and every week in Morinville. But that particular week’s services had an extra level of celebration for members of Morinville Christian Fellowship. Pastor Greg Fraser told his congregation the church would from that point on be called The Father’s House.
“For many years our motto has been, ‘Welcome home to the Father’s house,’” Fraser told Morinville News in 2012.
Appropriately enough, Pastor Fraser chose Father’s Day as the perfect day to announce the name change and to gather his congregation onto the then new property, located just west of town next to Heritage Lake.
A few years later, the Church, now with a congregation or more than 300, continued to fundraise and began levelling the land in the hopes they would soon be able to build a church and school. About $1 million was spent on dirt work alone.
The church had raised enough money to build the foundation, but Pastor Fraser said they decided to wait because they did not know how long it would take them to raise the rest of the money to raise the building.
Donated church building
But then their prayers were answered figuratively and literally. St. Albert real estate developer Landrex Inc. gifted the Father’s House with the former King of Kings Lutheran Church building at the north end of St. Albert.
Fraser said beginning last summer, he and his wife Betty began looking at the Lutheran Church.
“I said, ‘What do you want to do with it? We can’t move it,” Fraser recalls.
But it turned out they could.
The 10,500 square foot building will be cut into four pieces and moved to the Father’s House’s land in Sturgeon County, west of Morinville, hopefully, this summer.
“We have to deconstruct the building, cut it into four pieces, move it, and put it back together,” Fraser explained. “We had to ask ourselves if this was even fiscally wise to do.”
Fraser said he and the church have been working with Lorraine Bodnarek from Landrex Inc. on the ambitious project to see the former Lutheran Church building repurposed.
“They [Landrex] really didn’t want to see it torn down, which was kind of the next step for them,” Fraser said, adding the Lutheran Church had sold the building and land a year before.
Fraser said the church was looking at approximately $6 million to build their proposed church. Being gifted one by Landrex will allow them to complete the project for about $2.6 million.
“Basically, God had a plan — picking up a building and moving it,” Fraser said. “It’s an unbelievable story. What it will allow us to do is consolidate all of our sites.” The church currently meets at the cultural centre on Sundays, has a Christian School at the west end of town, and houses their administrative offices in the hotel across from the post office. “The ultimate [plan] will be to consolidate those three sites into one.”
Fraser said foundation work would happen in early spring, with the moving of the building in July. Although there is much work to do, Fraser is hoping to hold Sunday services by January of 2018.
“Part of it for us is the repurposing. Part of this journey will be meeting with the King of Kings Lutheran Church. It’s very difficult for them, we’re sure, but we want to celebrate with them,” Fraser said. “This is still a church, and they [Lutherans] had a big part in this. The parties that are going to happen are going to be epic.”
And an epic party is what the Father’s House has lined up for the end of March—a 1920s gangster-themed gala at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre that will serve as part of the ongoing fundraising efforts to complete the church.
The event—called God-Father: A Moving Love Story—takes place Mar. 25 with doors opening at 5 p.m. and dinner, catered by The Green Bean, served at 6 p.m. Tickets for the semi-formal or 1920s clothes are $50 per person.
The evening is open to the entire community and will feature a live and silent auction.
The church is currently seeking donations for auction items but has one major item up for bid that night – a bright red 1966 Ford Mustang.
For more information on the event, contact the Father’s House at 780-939-2992 or visit tfhchurch.ca.