The practice of Christianity has been in decline for several
decades in Europe. For example, a recent news item reported that
the average member of the Church of Norway attends worship services
only once per year.
The practice of Christianity has been in decline for several decades in Europe. For example, a recent news item reported that the average member of the Church of Norway attends worship services only once per year.
Falling church attendance results in surplus church buildings that are no longer needed to house congregations. On a visit to Britain and Ireland, I discovered church buildings that have been converted to:
– The “world’s largest” indoor climbing venue (Edinburgh, Scotland)
– A tourism center (Dublin, Ireland)
– A mosque (London, England).
In contrast, the United States seems to be keeping its place as the most religiously active of the traditionally Christian nations. And the increasing population in South Valley combined with the weakened economy and high land prices have come together to create a shortage of church buildings for worshipers.
One solution has been for mature congregations, – those that have owned buildings for some time – to share space with new congregations of other denominations. Local examples include the United Methodist Church in Gilroy and Advent Lutheran Church in Morgan Hill.
Recently I was sitting at the traffic light at the corner of West Dunne Avenue and Monterey Street, across from the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center. The lighted billboard in front of me announced the worship times for four churches that meet every Sunday in rented space in the complex, seemingly ideal location because it is little-used on Sunday, has rooms of many different sizes and features ample free parking.
Acts Revival Center
Acts Revival Center has been holding worship services there for seven months. The founder is Michael-John Toste, who has a background in the music industry that includes performances on “American Bandstand” and MTV. He has also been a business consultant.
Toste describes his church as non-denominational and family-oriented. There is a childcare center adjacent to the worship space, and at least two adults provide supervision throughout the service.
“Although we focus on the Bible as the Word of God, our messages are very practical, exploring such topics as family finances, relationships and careers,” he said. For more information, call 998-4371 or visit www.actsrevivalcenter.com.
Sunrise Christian Church
Sunrise Christian Church meets at the Community Playhouse, also part of this complex, at 10 a.m. Despite repeated attempts to contact a spokesperson, I was unsuccessful.
The church’s website identifies the pastor as Manuel Carlos. After working as an “inner-city missionary” in East San Jose, “Carlos served as an Elder at Morgan Hill’s South Valley Christian Church for four years before being sent out by SVCC to start a multi-cultural Bible teaching church” in South Valley. For more information, visit sunrisechristian.com.
Oakridge Church is a congregation affiliated with Oak Grove Baptist Church (with its main facility on Blossom Hill Road in San Jose). It meets at the Community Center (considered its “South Campus”) at 9 a.m. In a recent mailer to the community, Pastor Max Hudson described services as having “great music, a relevant Bible message and exciting children’s and nursery programs.” For information, visit new.oakridgechurch.net or call 575-7729.
The Cathedral of Faith Morgan Hill
The Cathedral of Faith Morgan Hill congregation meets at the Community Center at 10 a.m. This is the first expansion effort of the well-known ministry founded by the Rev. Kenny Foreman, which draws as many as 7,000 worshipers to its San Jose Campus on Canoas Garden Road each week and is numbered among the largest churches in the nation.
The Morgan Hill service features its own worship team, multimedia, worship band and campus pastor, the Rev. Gary Palacios. However, the main message (sermon) is transmitted via video from the San Jose campus. The church describes itself as “a community of people led by Christ to bring hope, strength and change to the world – one life at a time.” For more information, visit www.cathedraloffaith.org/morganhill or call 267-4691.
Speaking for the Morgan Hill Recreation and Community Services Department, Maureen Drewniany characterizes churches’ use of the facility as “wonderful and a good use of our space.” She points out that other religious organizations such as the South Valley Islamic Center and the Jehovah’s Witnesses also use the Community Center regularly. However, more space is available at the nearby Centennial Recreation Center.
For more information about rental opportunities, email [email protected]