by Laura S. Tinnel
PURCELLVILLE, Va. (BNc) – The first and only permanent facility for the saints’ worship and Bible study in Loudoun County, VA was completed after ten years of determined labor and prayer.
The 6,100 square-foot facility, located in the town of Purcellville, includes a 150 seat auditorium, a baptistery, five walled classrooms, a multi-purpose room (also used as a classroom), and a small office.
Prior to completing the new facility, the Purcellville congregation met in a small, rented office space, which it was outgrowing. It also met in the community center, the local skating rink and member homes.
While worshiping in the community center, the church began in earnest seeking a permanent place of worship but found no suitable existing facility in Purcellville. In 2004, the congregation purchased a parcel of land in the newly planned Village Case subdivision, which included plots for three church buildings in the back of the subdivision. The church paid cash for the property from savings and began efforts towards obtaining blue prints, county permits, and securing financing.
The congregation finally broke ground on the facility in February 2008. After overcoming numerous hurdles, the church moved into the mostly finished facility in late July 2009 and continued to work on the finishing.
An official ribbon cutting ceremony and open house was held in early October of this year. The entire community was invited to the event. In attendance were Bob Lazaro, Mayor of Purcellville, and two town council members.
The town of Purcellville, population 5137, is located 52 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., near the West Virginia border, in an area considered to be a mission field. Purcellville is one of 26 cities and towns in Loudoun County.
Loudoun is the fastest growing county in Virginia and the fourth fastest growing county in the United States. According to the 2008 U. S. census, Loudoun has a population of 289,995, which reflects a 71% increase since 2000. The average increase for Virginia over the same period of time was 9.7%.
Loudoun County covers approximately 520 square miles, most of which is held by horse farmers. With a high growth rate and little land being available for building, the land that is available is costly and difficult to acquire. The median value of owner-occupied homes in 2007 was $200,500 as compared to neighboring Prince William County’s median value of $149,600.
In addition to land cost, county and city building regulations place additional costs and burdens on the builder not generally required in other areas of the country. As a result, very few religious organizations have permanent meeting facilities in the county. Almost every school in the county is presently being used by some type of church.
The Purcellville congregation celebrated its 10th anniversary in December 2008. It consists of about 38 adults and 30 teens and young children. It is served by three elders and four deacons but does not have a full time pulpit preacher. Five men of the congregation and visiting speakers from the church in Martinsburg, West Virginia share the responsibility of bringing lessons at each Sunday service.
There are only two other congregations of the Lord’s church in Loudoun County, and they are presently meeting in school houses. The Purcellville congregation counts itself blessed by the Lord to have a permanent presence in the county so it can be a beacon of the gospel to such a rapidly growing community.
For further information, visit the congregation’s website.
Barbara has been involved in missions for over 25 years, both in the field and in publishing.