Church finds ‘good vibe’

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times The Rev. Kenneth Brown explains how interior windows in the new Marietta Community Church location allow for natural light and an open feel in the small building on Colegate Drive.

After unanimous approval by the Marietta City Planning Commission Thursday, a longtime church will have its own site for the first time later this summer.

Marietta Community Church, which has existed in town for the last two decades, is bidding adieu to Sunday meetings in the gymnasium of the Marietta Family YMCA and its office space on Putnam Street.

“They use it during non-open hours,” said Ronnie Lott, membership director at the Y. “So we only staff the building for them to meet and have their service. We normally open at noon on Sunday. Our staff would set up the chairs the night before and then after their service they would help clean it up.”

But now, with the special exception concerning commercial zoning, the congregation plans to open its doors in a new space on Colegate Drive in August.

“It has a good vibe,” explained The Rev. Kenneth Brown. “It was designed by a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright and so it has that minimalist style and a lot of natural light. It’s so bright which is one of the things I really enjoy, even without any lights on.”

The building at 416 Colegate Drive sits between the Elks Lodge and the drug addiction treatment center, SelfRefind, formerly the Veteran’s Affairs Clinic.

“Our building was once a specialty printer then very briefly a vape shop for a season,” said Brown. “But now we’ll be in a space where we can hold not only our service but offer more ministry and Christian education.”

The climate control, abundance of windows and funky angles also contribute to the light feeling of the building.

“We’ll keep to that minimalist style and a lot of these rooms will be multi-use so we can focus on the point,” said Brown. “We have a small but diverse group and it’s cool to have a baby up to senior citizens and different socio-economic backgrounds.”

The planning commission heard Brown’s brief reasoning for moving to Colegate Thursday, noting that only 12 parking spaces are actually on the leased property.

“But the drive up to it is a private drive and the owner has said we can use that for additional parking as well,” he explained. “This allows our office and our meetings to be under one roof.”

It was an easy approval for the commission without any objections raised.

“Today was more perfunctory because almost nothing in town is zoned for a church, this is a C-3 zone, which states assembly, which is what we do, but it doesn’t state church,” explained Brown. “But now that that’s covered we won’t have to set up and tear down every Sunday.”

In addition to a meeting room and church office, the church is also seeing four classrooms, bathrooms, a small printer room and a nursery space.

“We’ve toured two or three buildings since I came to town three years ago, this wasn’t just my decision,” explained Brown. “It’s their church, I’m just delighted to be part of that.”

He said the church hopes to hold an opening in August after it completes the move and small updates to color in the building.

At a glance:

¯ Marietta City Planning Commission unanimously approved a special exception for the Marietta Community Church to assemble at 416 Colegate Drive, next door to the Elks Lodge (which sells alcohol) and waived the parking requirement.

¯ The church plans to be open in its new location in August.

Sources: Times research and The Rev. Kenneth Brown.

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