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Church dedicated at former union hall

LORDSTOWN — Members of the Harvest Point Church said they knew they found a new home as soon as they visited the former United Auto Workers Local 1112 hall off Salt Springs Road.

“We heard the hall was for sale and a group of us visited, and we all laid hands on the building,” said Robin Romesburg, an elder of the congregation. “The next day, we learned our offer had been accepted. By the grace of God, we found our new home.”

Garry Bates, an elder and former interim pastor, said: “We’d been looking for a building for several years. When we visited, so many of us prayed and asked God for this to come to pass. We are excited about what God has done here.”

The church purchased six of the 42 acres that were up for sale for $400,000. That included the union hall, a pavilion and a ballfield. The hall has two office spaces that the church wants to rent out.

The sale was finalized in April 2020, but the church didn’t have its first service there until this past July 19. It had a dedication ceremony Saturday with about 100 in attendance.

The parishioners wanted to wait until the COVID-19 pandemic had passed for a dedication ceremony, but decided to move ahead with it Saturday. Since July 19, the church has had in-person services with an online option for members.

“Many of us have been praying for this day to occur and it has happened,” said Pastor David Cross, who preached during the church’s first two sermons when services were held 20 years ago in the garage of a Champion couple with 35 people in attendance. “I get to take the church forward. I feel like I’m home. It’s very exciting and an honor to do this.”

The congregation spent a lot of time cleaning up the inside of the former union hall. It has movable chairs, rather than pews, so people can socially distance and to allow it to use it for other purposes, Romesburg said.

The congregation plans to have dinners, carnivals and events at the new home and will rent it out for weddings and other activities, Romesburg said.

“We’re overjoyed being here,” she said.

Cross said he has memories of the former union hall and is happy it’s been turned into a church.

Before buying the former UAW hall, the church had numerous homes. Harvest Point was last at the Lordstown Plaza strip mall before this move. The congregation came to Lordstown 19 years ago from the Newton Falls Church of God.

The remaining 35 acres at the UAW site remain for sale. It is zoned industrial with access to a nearby railroad.

General Motors closed its Lordstown facility in March 2019.

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