- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

PECATONICA, Ill. (AP) - For years, the Rev. Don Knoup drove by a historic Main Street church and figured it was taken.

Ownership of the former Lutheran church changed several times during the more than a decade Knoup spent discovering a religious calling and then founding the Connecting Point Church in Freeport.

Then he saw an official “for sale” sign in front of the building in Peatonica.

He decided the church could afford the $25,000 asking price. The non-denominational, Christian-based church finalized its purchase in Pecatonica in mid-November.

His congregation of about 45 members, mainly from Pecatonica and Winnebago, received an early Christmas gift when it celebrated its first service in its new home on Christmas Eve.

“We’ve been able to return it to its original use,” Knoup said. “It was no small feat. We’re still working. We’ve accomplished a lot in a really short amount of time. We’ll be doing some construction for a couple of years because there’s just so much to do.”

The lower level was gutted for fellowship and Sunday school space. Bathrooms were added. Plaster was repaired. Carpet is being installed, and there are plans to do exterior work once the weather turns.

This is the third home for Knoup and his congregation. He and about 10 others began meeting in May 2009 at the Lindo Theatre in Freeport. They continued worshipping there until 2010, when the church purchased property another Freeport location.

Connecting Point Church did thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs before selling the location to the Senior Resource Center for about $100,000 in December. By then, the church was committed to its new home in Pecatonica.

“We have no plans to leave,” Knoup said.

According to his research, the Evangelical Lutheran Church built the church in 1875. It remained a church until 1974, when St. John Lutheran Church moved to Jackson Street. Knoup said the church sat vacant for about a year before new owners tried to turn it into cake-decorating business.

Knoup and his wife, Stacy, live nearby. Along with others in the congregation, they like the shorter Sunday commute.

“I was excited about the move,” said Dustin Webb, 27, of Orangeville. “There’s new people here, (and) a lot of new faces already. It’s looking really promising.”

Pecatonica residents Lynn and Donna Boomer have been impressed with the renovations.

“We thought it was really nice that we were able to return this old church building to being a church again like it once was,” Lynn Boomer said.

“It was quite a transformation,” Donna Boomer said. “They gave it a whole new look. It’s small. It’s intimate. I feel God’s presence when we meet.”


Source: The (Freeport) Journal Standard, https://bit.ly/2jh1SWT


Information from: The Journal-Standard, https://www.journalstandard.com/jshome.taf

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