2009-10-24 / News

God’s living room’ opens Oct. 24 in Hebron

By Kim Garee

Pastor Brian Harkness surveys the New Life Community Center that opens Saturday. Beacon photo by Kim Garee. Pastor Brian Harkness surveys the New Life Community Center that opens Saturday. Beacon photo by Kim Garee. HEBRON – For years, Brian Harkness has envisioned a welcoming place where people could gather to have fun and build relationships with one another ... “sort of God’s living room,” Harkness, pastor at New Life Community Church, says with a smile.

It opens Oct. 24.

The New Life Community Center at 130 W. Main Street occupies what used to be the front showroom of Bowman’s Chevrolet and fills a need in Hebron.

“We’re hoping to serve everyone from babies on up,” said Community Center Director Tom Ellis. “The kids needs something, but, really, the adults do, too.”

“We talked to police in town about this, and one of the problems they face is kids wandering the streets with nothing to do,” Harkness said. “They thought a place of connection would be helpful .... A lot of kids walk past here. It’s amazing.”

The community center will feature regular events like video game nights and aerobic classes. A study room has been set up with computer equipment and Internet access for After School Hours from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and a Baby Pantry will be ready in a few weeks to serve parents in need of baby essentials like diapers and formula.

“It’s really open-ended, for anything the community needs,” Harkness said. “Self-defense classes, programs through Jobs & Family Services, scout meetings ... wherever the need is.”

It was spring when the body of believers at New Life actively started looking for space for a community center, and most people thought of the vacant dealership right away, Harkness said.

Three months, a lot of donations and volunteer hours later, the front of the building is ready to go. It includes a large central area with a living room corner and plenty of table and chair space, a video game room, a kitchenette, bathrooms, a room for the Baby Pantry and an office.

Other churches have pitched in, as well. The Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church sent volunteers and donations to help prepare the space, Jacksontown United Methodist Church is throwing a baby shower for the center, and volunteers will also be provided through the Hebron Christian and Hebron United Methodist churches.

Donations are welcome to support the work of the center. Baby Pantry items needed include baby and toddler food, cereal, baby juice, formula, all sizes of diapers, wipes, and new bottles and pacifiers. Other items like computers, software, video games and video game equipment are also needed.

The Oct. 24 Grand Opening will take the form of a Tailgate Party, beginning with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. The OSU game will be on the big screen televisions throughout the community center, and food will also feature a tailgate hot wing contest.

“This has really always been our dream, to be a center for the community,” Harkness said. “It just took awhile for us to find a place in the heart of things to minister to folks.”

Harkness expressed thanks to the Village of Hebron for being so supportive of the project.

“I can’t wait to get the doors open and let the community see we have something for Hebron,” Ellis said. “That’s exciting.”

New Life Christian Church meets in the Lakewood Middle School on Sunday mornings at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Find out more about the church and the center by visiting newlifevideos.com

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