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2nd Street moves into the cultural center

The church holds its first service and honors former pastor Greg Lamm Nov. 23

After spending the past 16 years at the Chehalem Armory, 2nd Street Community Church has found a new place to call home.

The church held its first service at the Chehalem Cultural Center Nov. 23 and congregants couldn’t be happier about their new digs.

“We really enjoyed using the space. We fit there,” elder Debbie Dingman said. “It’s just great. The windows and lighting in there and the future electronics that we’ll have, it all fits really well with our mission and what we want to be in that neighborhood. We’re really enjoying it with more to come.”

Considering she attended Central School in first through sixth grade, Dingman said she may feel more at home at the cultural center than anyone.Photo Credit: SUBMITTED - New home - The congregation at 2nd Street Community Church began meeting in the ballroom at the Chehalem Cultural Center on Nov. 23 after having met at the Chehalem Armory for more than 16 years.

She says there are lots of good memories for her of the bricks and floor in the ballroom, which used to be the gym and will play host to worship services for 2nd Street.

“The remodel that they’ve done is wonderful, but I can go back to the different rooms and say, ‘This is Mrs. Barnes’ room. This is Mrs. Morton’s room’ and so on,” Dingman said. “One of the coolest things is the old boiler room door is still there, just like when I was a first grader, only I’m much bigger and the boiler room is a lot smaller.”

Having used the armory for so long, 2nd Street has a well-established relationship with the Chehalem Park and Recreation District, owner of the building and a stakeholder in the CCC, so it was pleased to become an anchor tenant, so to speak, for the relatively new community resource.

“One of the main reasons the church is excited about moving to the cultural center is because we don’t own our own building, we’ll be paying rent to someone and they really loved the idea that our money would be going into something that benefits and blesses the whole community,” missional activities pastor Marta Sears said.

In exchange for a 10-year lease, 2nd Street paid for the labor to build an extension to the armory, but has been paying rent since that agreement ended in 2012.

The church began discussing a move to the CCC around the time it opened and earlier this year signed a three-year lease that allows both parties to opt out after one year.

The church will have access to the ballroom, several classrooms for its nursery and youth groups, the foyer and entryways. The CCC even purchased 2nd Street’s stage and purple curtains for use in the ballroom and will use some of the church’s sound equipment until it purchases its own.

Dingman reported that the first service was so well attended that more and more chairs had to be set up to accommodate everyone. The church also honored former pastor Greg Lamm, who suffered a stroke last fall, and his wife for all their service with a special ceremony.

With minimal storage at the CCC, the move forced the church to downsize its equipment and supplies to the bare minimum, but Dingman said she also felt that was a worthwhile exercise.

Sears said the congregation is both excited to move into a more beautiful space, but concerned about maintaining its earnest atmosphere and approach.

“People say it feels like people don’t wear masks here,” Sears said. “Sometimes in some of their other experiences at churches they felt like they had to feel or look a little bit more put together. That’s something they really value about 2nd Street, that you’re not putting on a façade.”

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