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Triumph Baptist Church's new location starts to take shape

| Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 8:52 p.m.
Sewickley Herald
Work continued at the site of the new home of Triumph Baptist Church on Mt. Nebo Road in Ohio Township Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald

After eight years of planning and fundraising, the roof and walls finally are going up.

Triumph Baptist Church, now located at 210 Frederick Ave., Sewickley, soon will be moving to a newly constructed building at the corner of Mt. Nebo and Roosevelt roads in Ohio Township. Members are hoping to have their first service at the new location on Easter, March 31.

The $3.5 million project, which will include the new, 18,000-square-foot church, 10 acres of property and furnishings, began when the church bought the property in 2004.

Members have been working with Ohio Township to get permits and approvals and have been conducting fundraisers ever since.

Jim Jackson, deacon board member and project manager, said church members raised about half of the funding for the project, and the church borrowed the balance. Ground was broken in April this year.

He said although work was hampered in the fall because of weather, the target date to host the first church service still is Easter.

“That's if all goes well, and God decides,” Jackson said.

Cassidy Haus, a church member and Northwood Realty agent who worked with Triumph Baptist throughout the process, said Random Precision LLC is under contract to purchase the church and a house beside it that is used for offices, Sunday school classes and youth activities. Haus said the church and home were listed at $525,000.

“We are all very excited about this. It's sad to leave our old church, but we are literally bursting at the seams,” she said.

Dave Murray, owner of Random Precision LLC, said his ultimate goal is to demolish the buildings and construct townhouses similar to the ones he built across the street from the church.

He said he is working on renderings for the project to present to the borough. He expects to close on the properties sometime in the spring.

Earlier this month, Random purchased another home for $100,000 at 357 Ferry St. that also was owned and rented by the church. He said he now is renovating the home and will sell it.

Jackson said right now, the roof and the outside panels are going up for Triumph Baptist's new building so that utility work can continue inside during the winter months.

The nearly 30 ministries within the church all pitched in the help raise funds, he said, with activities such as dinners and bowling outings. Each member also was asked to make a contribution.

The church also received corporate donations of materials and equipment to furnish the church.

Jackson said church officials wanted to build a new church because they were running out for room in the present facility.

“We are in a neighborhood. There is almost zero parking. The neighbors allow us to use their parking, but, once that is exhausted, there is no place to park. People who want to come and visit us, just turn around and go someplace else. It has hampered our growth,” he said.

Jackson also said the facility is not modern and has no elevator for senior citizens, and it is difficult for the many ministries of the church to find room to function in the church.

The pastor, the Rev. Craig Giles, first had the vision for the new church. “This is such a blessing, and the members have been fantastic. We did this all with about 230 families,” he said.

The church will provide more room for the youth, who often meet in the other facility next door. They participate in many programs, such as purchasing coats and hats with their own money to help out the homeless and people at the Jublilee Kitchen, where they plan to volunteer on Christmas Day.

The church also hosts a youth program every Wednesday night that Giles said members want to open up more to other young people in the community.

“We want to be an epicenter for the community, and want it to be a place where families can come.” said Giles, who also would like to add more multicultural worship programs.

“We want people to come and worship and realize that our differences are a good thing.”

He also wants to restart a program with Robert Morris University students that connects them to the church's senior citizens when they sit, talk and have a meal together.

“We want to come out of the church a lot more into the community.”

Giles also would like to concentrate more on programs to help people get healthier, and the gym in the new church will help to do that, he said.

“It you're healthier, you have more energy to serve God better,” he said.

Giles said it is amazing how everything worked out with the architect, buyer, lender and real estate agent.

Members have been permitted to occupy the present church until the new one is ready.

“Clearview Federal Credit Union loved our vision. They were fantastic. I think they were more excited than we were,” Giles said. “We did try to sell to another church, and that didn't work out, and then the buyer came out of nowhere, and the Realtors did miracles.

“It all lined up perfectly. Everyone worked together.

“I had the vision, but if God doesn't make it happen, it doesn't take place.”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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