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Brookline's Upper Room Worship offers modern services

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Upper Room Worship was formed from the metaphorical ashes of a former church, but Upper Room is not a church, one of its founding elders said.

“We don't have a lot of the churchy stuff. We haven't got prayer groups or Bible studies. We don't have programs that most churches have,” B.J. Collins, 52, said of the Brookline-based program.

Upper Room Worship has offered modern services aimed at young, adult Christians every Sunday morning, but it will switch to evening services starting Sunday, he said.

Nontraditional guest preachers, including elders of Christian motorcycle clubs, professors from Christian colleges and Christian business owners, will present sermons, Collins said.

Upper Room's participants mostly are former musicians and members of the defunct Exalt Church, whose inaugural service was in summer 2012 in leased space at Wilson Christian Academy in West Mifflin.

Exalt was a nondenominational church with a contemporary service style that included a concert-like worship service with theatrical, colored lights and a fog machine. Joshua Bilsky founded the church with his wife, Nicole.

The 160-member Exalt ran into financial difficulties, Collins said, and it moved to leased space in GracePoint Church in Brookline in August. Exalt defaulted on its lease with GracePoint in February, Collins said, and he and two other Upper Room elders paid off Exalt's debt and bought equipment.

Upper Room, GracePoint and Exalt reached an agreement in which Exalt was freed of its debt, GracePoint received a substantial amount of the money it was owed and some of Exalt's fixtures and equipment and Upper Room set up a lease with GracePoint to use its sanctuary.

About 24 people attend Upper Room's services, but that is expected to grow with the change to evening services, Collins said. Sunday's service will be at 6 p.m. at the church, 1462 Brookline Blvd.

Zac Reitmeyer, 22, of Jefferson Hills was a drummer at Exalt who said he plays for Upper Room.

“It's a very low-stress environment. Everyone gets along. It's probably the best church I've played at as far as companionship and everyone getting along with each other,” Reitmeyer said.

Upper Room Worship's first service was Feb. 2, a week after Exalt's last Sunday service, Collins said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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