After years of hard work, the Gateway Seventh-day Adventist Church in Grants Pass, Oregon hosted an opening celebration of its new worship center on Sabbath, August 12th. Pastor Kip Bradford was joined by two former Gateway Pastors for the celebration––Pastor Nick Jones and Pastor Randy Hill, who both took part in leading the service and sharing fond memories.
As Pastor Nick began the opening song service along with the Gateway music team, he said, “I pastored here from 2013 to 2015, and I remember this room being full of stuff! A lot of you who have been here a long time probably remember that. It’s definitely nice to see it full of people!”
Although the new worship center provided the opportunity for celebration, the focus remained on the work God has done in the Gateway community, and on the people He used to bring it all together. “This is an excellent day,” Pastor Kip Bradford began as he shared the Sabbath message that morning, “and what makes it special for me is not that we are in this nice worship space, but that you are all here. Because when we are part of the family of God, that word ‘family’ means something! I am so grateful that in the process of building this worship space the family has responded to this project without drama, without strife, and without difficulty. It’s common for a pastor to move churches shortly after a building project because of all of the pressure, but I’m sorry to say I’m staying!” he joked.
Making one of his last stops as Oregon Conference assistant to the president, Pastor Randy Hill also shared a few words and prayed a blessing over the congregation and its community. “I’m here because I’m a friend of people that go to church here,” Randy began. “I’m also honored to be here because I am a former pastor of this church. And I am here because, for a few more hours, I am a member of the administrative team of the Oregon Conference. That’s another way of saying I’m here because all the churches of the Oregon Conference are celebrating with you today, and I get to represent them.”
After the dedication church service ended and the congregation headed to the fellowship hall for potluck, a stack of bulletins remained on a table in the entryway. Toward the bottom of the front page the words read:
“May this worship center be a place of love, hope, and transformation for all who walk through its doors. Welcome home!”
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