- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) - The congregation of the Church of Christ in Hampton is considering moving to a new location, but the question of what will happen to the building that has been their home for the past century remains.

The church at 22 First St. N.E. has incredible architecture but “needs significant updates to be safe for us to be in it,” said Pastor Gary Davis.

The Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/2fMEbjp ) reports Sunday services have been held in the Youth For Christ building in Hampton since September.

Davis said it will be cheaper to construct a new building on 11 acres of land the church already owns on Highway 65 just north of Hampton than make the necessary upgrades to the old church.

The church is “not a friendly building for young families or for our handicapped population,” Davis said.

The building is not handicapped accessible, and has an outdated oil boiler which requires a lot of expense in the winter due to high cost of the fuel. The church also is not air conditioned so in the summer it is “pretty uncomfortable,” Davis said.

There are also a lot of spaces in the building where small children can get lost, according to Davis.

When families with young children are looking to become members of a church, they want something that is “inviting, warm and safe,” he said.

Church of Christ is trying to get the old church on the Iowa’s Most Endangered Property List, which is for buildings the owners can’t preserve themselves.

Davis said church officials are talking to developers that might want to do something with the old church.

He said they want to gift it to someone who can do something useful with if for the community, though whoever gets the building is going to have to do a lot of work to upgrade it.

Davis isn’t sure when construction on the new church will begin.

The church has $200,000 saved up, but that would only cover about 20 percent of the cost of a new building.

Church officials are looking at different options for financing. Davis said they are talking to another congregation in their denomination that went through a bonding process.

The congregation, which has an average Sunday attendance of around 50 people, doesn’t see the new building as being “just for us.”

“We can offer so much more to the community,” he said.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/


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