Church leaders hope to move in by mid-September.
By JULIE A. WAGNER
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- A Warren church is buying the former Solid Rock Church building at 2642 Glenwood Ave.
"We've been wanting to buy a church for some time," said the Rev. James Gaskill, pastor of Our Way Home Ministries in Warren. The congregation has been looking for a year, he said. Currently, it operates Our Way Home Christian Center in the former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital, 1400 Tod Ave., Warren.
The Rev. Mr. Gaskill said the church is in the process of buying the property for an undisclosed price and hopes to close the sale and occupy the 7,000-square-foot building by mid-September. The property includes 11/2 acres of land.
The perfect building
The congregation had looked at several buildings in Warren, but either the prices were too high or meeting zoning restrictions would have been too costly, Mr. Gaskill said. About three or four months ago, Mr. Gaskill said he was driving on Glenwood Avenue, saw the church and admired its exterior. A few days later he drove by, saw the "for sale" sign lying in the grass, stopped and called the agent.
He and his wife, Rose, viewed it a few days later.
"I was really impressed," he said of the interior. "I didn't know what it was going to look like inside." Other church members visited, and the congregation decided to pursue the purchase.
Mr. Gaskill said he expects that parishioners from Warren will continue to attend the church after the move. The church offers transportation to its members.
The former Solid Rock Church building has a sanctuary, a chapel that will be used for the youth, a nursery, a fellowship hall and classrooms, Mr. Gaskill said. The former owners also left behind many things including furniture and supplies. Other than cleaning and painting, the 14-year-old building is ready to be occupied, he said.
Open to all
Mr. Gaskill noted that the church is in a residential area of Glenwood Avenue, and he plans to provide activity areas for children including some basketball hoops and a place to play kickball.
"We want to come [to the church], and provide these things for anybody who wants to use them," he said. "We're a friendly bunch."
He said the congregation is informal, laid-back and very active.
"We want people to get to know us," he said.
The Gaskills began the nondenominational church in their attic, and it has occupied various rented buildings in the Warren area. Though there is no formal membership number, Mr. Gaskill estimates that 3,000 people attended the church last year and 5,000 have attended during its existence. Its ministries include a food pantry, visiting hospitals and nursing homes, counseling men leaving prison and women who have been abused, and providing used vehicles for families in need.