The River Church gets new home

Posted By | August 12, 2019 12:53 pm

The River Church, which has been holding services for the past four years at Sparta-White County YMCA, will now have a permanent home at 264 Judah Dr., the former location of First Love Church.

By Rachel Auberger

The River Church, which has been holding services and conducting community outreach programs at the Sparta-White County YMCA for the past four years, recently purchased a new building that will become their permanent location.

“We are blessed to have been able to partner with the YMCA for the past four years,” said John Phillips, pastor of the River. “But with a permanent location, we will be able to serve even more people in the White County community.”

Phillips said the new building, which is at 264 Judah Dr. and had previously been used by First Love Church, will allow the River to host more events as well as youth nights.

“To get all the youth together and provide activities and events for them, we were having to meet at places around town like the skating rink or our small church office,” said Phillips. “Now we can host meetings and events and get-togethers for them right here.”

Phillips also said they plan to let groups in the community use the building for special events such as dinners.

“We had all the pews removed from the main auditorium and replaced them with chairs, that way they can be easily removed or rearranged if a group would like to borrow the space for some type of event,” he said, before jokingly adding that he and the church members are experts at setting up and taking down the chairs quickly as they had to ready the gym at the YMCA for services each week.

“We really want this building to just be an anchor for us,” he said. “Our real ministry is out in the community, and that is where we will still be. Now we just have a little more space to use to serve the community.”

Phillips said they have already begun planning medical and dental clinics as well as food drives that will take place at the new location, but that he hopes to keep other events such as the annual harvest festival and the summer sports camp based out of the YMCA.

“Our partnership with the YMCA will continue,” he explained. “They have been great to us, and we really feel that together, with their help, we can reach so many people in this community, and that is our real goal: to be here for everyone who needs someone.”

Phillips said the family feeling of the congregation won’t change with the change of locations.

“We’re here to help those who don’t have a church family,” he said. “We want to be their family. We understand that life can be messy. That’s fine with us. We’re here for the messy. Just come, and we will meet you where you are and help meet your needs.”

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