Two Odessa churches are doing a “church swap.”
Last fall the Rev. Robert Thayer’s Odessa Bible Church had secured new quarters in the old AT&T Call Center at 3901 Penbrook St., and Thayer knew the Rev. Wally Schiwart needed more room at New Dawn Fellowship and called him to propose a swap.
Now Odessa Bible has set its first service in the new building June 17 before New Dawn takes possession of the Odessa Bible complex in late June or July. “This triples our floor space to 29,000 square feet and gives us five times more property and four times more parking,” Thayer said.
“We love our old neighborhood, but we ran out of room.”
Neither pastor disclosed the purchase prices.
Having averaged 240 people at 9:15 and 10:45 a.m. Sunday at 2110 E. 6th St., Thayer’s church is going to a single 10:45 service and is having small group meetings at 9:15. Seating capacity is 400.
Noting that the East 10th Street building was opened in 1972 and its worship center in 1996, he said, “It’s a beautiful building.
“The only reason we’re moving is that we have outgrown it. This has worked out well for both churches. We’re taking an abandoned building in Odessa and giving it new life. We have 265 parking spaces, so there is plenty of room for everybody. We sit on five acres.”
The remodeling was designed by Vandergriff Group architect William J. Parsons of Midland and the work done by Volunteer Christian Builders of Pleasanton and subcontractors.
Having opened New Dawn three years ago, leasing the science wing of the old AIM High School at 4803 Plaza Blvd., Schiwart said the tripling of his floor space from 3,700 square feet “will give us room to grow” and allow the establishment of Mother’s Day Out and pantry programs at the new church and a vacant lot it owns on Ninth Street. “It’s a great deal for us,” he said.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we expect God to open the door for us to purchase a new facility. It’s exactly what we were looking for, a very nice little church. Bob knew we were looking for something for the next step in our vision and he called last August or September and asked, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Are you interested?’
“They worked well with us and gave us a great deal, well below market value. We’ll start a mission outreach and see who we can reach for God.”
Odessa Bible’s seating capacity is 120, and New Dawn has been averaging 70 people at 10 a.m. Sunday. Youth and children meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“It is exciting,” Schiwart said. “We’re enjoying the thought of it. You’re always nervous making a big move and buying a building. But it was obvious that God was opening the doors, so we stepped through them.”