Monroeville's Grace Life Church plans grand opening in new location
By Megan Guza
Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
A Monroeville congregation with a history of uncommon housing will hold a grand opening for its new — and equally unorthodox — new home next week.
Grace Life Church, after renting space in everything from an empty movie theater to a technology center, has laid down permanent roots in a former Levin Furniture store on Route 22 in Monroeville.
“We're not in the business of building buildings, but helping people,” executive director Marianne Finch said. “Now, we have a permanent presence in the Monroeville area.”
The April 7 grand opening comes after months of remodeling to turn the long-vacant furniture store into a functional, up-to-code church. The nondenominational church was founded in 1997 and had been meeting at the former Destinta movie theater in North Versailles. The church has about 500 members.
“We basically gutted the (Levin) building and had to pretty much start from scratch,” Finch said.
From rewiring and replumbing to replastering and repainting, Finch said, the building needed all the love and care the congregation could give.
“It's been a lot of work — a lot of donated time and talent,” she said. “Folks within the congregation have been amazing.”
The congregation landed at the Levin location after the church's pastor, Bruce Shafer, began looking for a permanent home for his church. After stumbling upon a Levin location for sale outside of Monroeville, Shafer was given an even better offer: the vacant Levin Furniture on Route 22 — that Levin's management was willing to donate.
“It was our desire to have a permanent home,” Finch said. “And Levin's — they wanted to release this building, too. It's a win-win.”
The new church location includes a top-floor sanctuary, where services are held, and a children's center. A youth center, for teenagers, is in the works. The center will include a snack bar, lounge areas, a fireplace and video games.
“It will be just a fun, safe place for teenagers to come,” Finch said.
Finch said the church's aim is to deliver a contemporary message.
“There's no pipe organ or stained-glass windows,” she said. “We don't want to be some old staunchy church; we want to be appealing to young people and people of all ages, really.”
While services have been held at the new location since December, the church will welcome the community at a grand-opening event April 7. The 9 a.m. service will be held as usual, and the 11 a.m. service will be abbreviated to accommodate the event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Finch said there will be food and activities, but most importantly, it will welcome the community to the church's new location.
“Looking back, I just think, ‘I can't believe we're really here. How did this happen?' Finch said. “We're actually sitting here. We're in the business of helping people, not building things, but through the grace of God, we're here.”
Megan Guza is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitcairn drug bust yields 36 arrests
- Moody’s downgrades Monroeville debt rating to Aa3
- Budget vote delayed until new Monroeville council takes office in January
- Monroeville manager suspended by council, could be fired in January