Monday, February 27, 2006

New home nearly ready for Suisun church

From Daily Republic // Feb. 25, 2006
By Ian Thompson

SUISUN CITY - It is the Lord's work and a congregation's faith that got the new home for the Macedonia Church of God in Christ as far as it is.

"He has multiplied whatever we did," the Rev. Kenneth Martin Sr. said of his congregation's years-long effort to get their church built on Walters Road. "The Lord has opened so many doors for us."

Parishioner Nardra McLean agreed, calling the church's progress "the miracle that we are waiting on."

"I feel really good about this," McLean said. "I am excited. We have been through many places, outside the base, different homes, shared places with a couple of other churches, been in the Marina (Center)."

McLean had been with Macedonia Church of God since 1963 and prays to be there when the first service is held in the new church.

"Just let me walk in this miracle," McLean said.

Workers should complete building construction by late April and the congregation could start moving into its new home by late May, Martin predicted.

"Then the exciting part starts," Martin said of plans to start growing the congregation.

Standing in the expansive church, Martin said the size is almost frightening after holding services in Macedonia's storefront home in the Marina Center for so long."We have a lot of work to do to prepare ourselves for this new location, for this new community," Martin said.

It has been a long road for Martin, the Macedonia Church and its congregation.

The church was born in 1960 when the Rev. Henry Simpkins started it in Old Town with its parishioners meeting in homes and storefronts. It moved to Fairfield in 1962 and back to Suisun City 20 years later to a renovated home on Louisiana Street.

Not long after, the Suisun City Redevelopment Agency moved to raze the area in which the church was located as part of its campaign to eliminate the blighted, crime-ridden Crescent neighborhood.

The church leadership received $175,000 and six months rent for space in the Marina Center in return for losing its home. That was when Rev. Simpkins got the vision came to build a new church on Walters Road.

"This will be a dream that will be fulfilled for Rev. Simpkins," McLean said.

That effort kicked off in 1998 when workers broke ground for the 18,000-square-foot building.
Tithings from church members and offerings garnered enough funds to get the church's frame up and a loan was secured to finish it off.

A series of delays kept the church from getting a building permit until November 2002.

Construction started in mid-2003 and work has pushed forward in jumps and starts since then.
It has been a trying several years. Some are still skeptical about the church finally getting done.

"The neighbors, they will be amazed that there is a church here finally," Martin said.

Jose Martinez, one of those neighbors, doesn't mind seeing a church near his home, saying "churches bring good people and it's is a good use for that land."

Martin talks about the choir room, library, multipurpose room, dining area, kitchen, offices and daycare area that will be part of the church as he walks through the building.

"There will be a prayer room that will be set up like a chapel," Martin said of one yet-to-be-finished part.

Macedonia's congregation is still small, only about 100 people, "but with a lot of room to grow now."

The present Marina Center church has only two main rooms, one for a sanctuary and one for a multipurpose room. Many times, Martin had to double up on most activities with a Bible group studying while the choir is practices.

With the church finally nearing completion, Martin compared himself to a child waiting for Christmas Day to come.

"You've been exciting and dreaming about what you will be getting," Martin said. "Now that the day is approaching, you wonder if you are up for the challenge.

"I know that the Lord is preparing us, preparing the church for the big intake. We want to be capable of leading them to Christ," Martin said.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

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