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Church moving to former school

Tony Alan Bates, senior pastor of Abba's House at My Church, stands if front of the former Community Christian School in Maurertown. Bates' church is moving into the former school. Their first worship service at the new facility will be Nov. 3. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

Tony Alan Bates, senior pastor of Abba's My Church, walks inside the gymnasium of the former Community Christian School in Maurertown. The area will serve as the sanctuary for the church. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

By Kim Walter

After sitting empty for more than a year, the former Community Christian School in Maurertown will soon be home to Abba's House at My Church.

Abba's House at My Church, currently based in Strasburg, has entered into a lease purchase agreement for the 20,000 square foot facility.

Tony Bates, senior pastor, said the congregation has grown so much since its 2009 beginning that a move to a bigger space had to happen.

"We started with three people at the Strasburg theater," he said. "Now we've got a couple hundred folks and several outreach ministries that just can't be housed in our current location."

Abba's House at My Church, a nondenominational Christian church, provides a food pantry from noon to 2 p.m. each Tuesday. Bates said the outreach ministry was bringing in so many people that the church was told it couldn't remain at its location at 105 Stony Pointe Way and still provide the service.

Bates said the new location will allow the church to continue offering the food pantry, but also provide space for other ministries and programs to grow.

The building housed Community Christian School from 2008 to 2012. The school faced financial difficulty and struggled to make mortgage payments. It owed about $1.5 million on the property.

About 80 students were enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.

Christine Sager, a local Realtor, was financially invested in the building. While the past year was filled with stress due to mortgage payments, she said now a weight has been lifted.

"I don't have any more fear about the building," she said. "You can see the blessing moving forward ... this is all in God's plan."

While Bates declined to comment about the possibility of the school coming back to its former home, he said the church is looking forward to some of the building's special features, including several classrooms, a library and commercial kitchen.

The classrooms will make a nice transition into rooms for Sunday school, or "life groups," he said. Additionally, the former library will be used as a bookstore and small "hangout" space for church members.

"We record a lot of our sermons and music for TV, DVDs and CDs," Bates said. "I'm looking forward to having a space to house our materials, as well as other Christian resources. And it's a nice spot for coffee and snacks."

Bates said the church is open to the idea of booking the space for community and private events. The food pantry will still be available every Tuesday.

Until the church can find someone to sub-lease its Strasburg location, bible study and other group meetings will continue there. However, Bates has confirmed Nov. 3 as the church's first service in the new building.

"That will be something special," he said.

Bates said moving into a new, bigger facility will allow the church to have a greater impact on the community.

"I like to think of us as the perfect church for imperfect people," he said. "This move will allow us to spread the kingdom of heaven to even more people in our area."

For more information on Abba's House at My Church, go to www.mychurch-va.com.

Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or kwalter@nvdaily.com

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