Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Growing Church Expansion 2 Years after Last One

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Growing Church Expansion 2 Years after Last One

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

Mandarin Christian Church will be growing again next year, two years after it outgrew its original sanctuary and moved into a new one on Greenland Road.

Church members officially kicked off an $8 million building campaign Sunday for a new 78,000-square-foot Family Life Center, which will be built next to the present worship center at 6045 Greenland Road.

The new center should be under construction by January and will include big meeting rooms, a theater, two kitchens, a gymnasium, two floors of classrooms and other facilities. It is already needed only a few years after moving to a bigger new home, said Senior Pastor Dennis Bratton.

"Since we moved out here, our congregation has doubled. The current facility is wonderful, but we knew coming out here that it was going to have to expand, and we wanted to provide more opportunity for more people ," he said. "The planned building has four large meeting spaces, sort of the Swiss army knife of church buildings with an auditorium seating 650 for weddings, funerals and children's services."

Mandarin Christian Church was founded 27 years ago, starting with a 150-seat sanctuary. The church grew, and a 1,000-seat sanctuary was built in 1986 at 10850 St. Augustine Road, But the church grew so much that by the late 1990s, the original sanctuary was home to four services a weekend -- one Saturday and three Sunday -- to fit the average 1,500 worshippers in.

That is when plans for a new $13.6 million sanctuary four miles away on Greenland Road were finalized, Bratton said. The move to the current 2,500-seat, 100,000-square-foot facility at 6045 Greenland Road was made in June 1999.

Since then, the church has grown to about 3,200 members, and plans to build the proposed second phase -- the two-story Family Life Center -- proceeded in September, followed by A Season of Growth2 building campaign kickoff Sunday with an estimated 3,500 members attending an outdoor service under a giant tent. …

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