Denise Gebers/Paulding County Progress
	On Monday evening, Hope Riggenbach and Sherry Hostettler worked to clean up chairs for temporary sanctuary seating at Branch Christian Fellowship Church in the former Kiwanis building in Paulding.
Denise Gebers/Paulding County Progress On Monday evening, Hope Riggenbach and Sherry Hostettler worked to clean up chairs for temporary sanctuary seating at Branch Christian Fellowship Church in the former Kiwanis building in Paulding.

By JOE SHOUSE

Progress Staff Writer

PAULDING – After meeting in the Paulding High School auditeria since its beginning in March 2013, the Branch Christian Fellowship Church has found a permanent home.

Through a series of contacts and conversations the church will relocate to the square in downtown Paulding – specifically the Kiwanis Community Building located at 103 N. Main St. on the square.

According to Pastor Greg Cramer, the church had been looking to relocate for the past several months and after looking at six or seven existing properties, nothing seemed appropriate in meeting their needs.

“A small group of pastors meet at Susie’s Bakery for Bible study and during one of our get-togethers, Pastor Dave Meriwether asked me how the hunt for a new building was going. I shared with him that so far nothing looked that promising,” commented Cramer.

It was at that point, Meriwether asked, “Why don’t you buy the old Armory?”

Cramer was unaware that it was for sale and Meriwether went on to say that it could be. It was at that point that the ball started to roll more seriously and Cramer approached Kiwanis president Erika Willitzer.

“I talked to Erika, then toured the facility and expressed interest in a possible purchase. After talking to leaders from both parties an agreement was made to purchase the building,” said Cramer.

The church will lease the building to the Kiwanis in order for them to continue to meet at the facility.

“This is a win-win situation for both the Kiwanis Club as well as our church. They (Kiwanis) will continue to meet here without the responsibility to care and upkeep and we have a facility for our church,” said Cramer.

The church, with a membership of 70, started with just 14 attenders in the basement of Pastor Cramer’s home. A “church plant” of the Family Christian Center of Defiance, the church has met at Paulding High School and have outgrown the facility they have been renting since 2013.

“The school has been so accommodating. In a way it’s going to be hard to leave. Yes, we had to set up and tear down every Sunday and we certainly won’t miss that part of it, but renting from the school allowed them extra dollars for their budget. Our church considered it a real blessing to be able to use the school facility and at the same time give towards their budget.”

Branch Christian Fellowship is looking forward to their first Sunday service on the square but until then Cramer and the congregation has work to do in order to make the new building into a church facility.

“We know there are several issues that we will need to address and we have a plan in place as we update the building,” Cramer said. “We have already put a plan in place with an outside coordinator working on the exterior and one serving as the inside coordinator. We plan to do as much of the work as possible.

    “We feel like we are in a perfect location and although it will cost money for the upgrades, it will be cheaper than building a new facility,” he added.