The Burlington Beacon
What once was the home of Sunday editions will now be the home of Sunday services.
Crossroads Community Church finally has its own building, and the first public worship gathering will be this Sunday, Sept. 3 at 10 a.m.
But instead of being on a four-acre lot at the corner of Agency and Curran Streets, as was the original plan, it will be at 800 S. Main St., in the former home of the Hawk Eye newspaper.
Crossroads was founded in November 2007 as a church plant of the North American Baptist Conference but is now non-denominational. The members met at several locations through the years, starting with the Howard Johnson Banquet Room and ending with the Peterson Building at 315 Jefferson St.
“We enjoyed renting because it is low overhead,” Pastor Jason Unzicker said. “But we got to the point with our size that all the places for rentals were either large, open spaces that could be used for a sanctuary and then no office space for children’s ministries, or vice versa, maybe all office space but no open space.”
In 2014, the congregation purchased a four-acre plot of land on the corner of Agency and Curran Streets to erect their own church building, and the church began setting aside its annual surplus giving into a building fund.
“God was really watching after us on that,” Unzicker said. “We got to the point where we were ready with the design and everything was ready to pull permits and go. But right then, COVID hit, and everything shut down.”
A year later, the church talked to the general contractor. With a large increase in construction costs, it was deemed not prudent to build.
“For that amount of money to build, we thought we could probably buy something and renovate it,” Unzicker said.
That’s when the former Hawk Eye building came up for sale.
“We looked at it, and it seemed like God was opening up that door,” Unzicker said.
In 2022, the church was able to sell the property they owned at Agency and Curran Streets when Des Moines County placed the winning bid. Providentially, their bid was the exact amount needed for the church to buy the Hawk Eye building.
Renovations began immediately, Unzicker said, and the church used Specter Build as the contractor.
Everything but the press room and a garage was gutted.
The large area that was the home of editors, reporters, ad staff, and other newspaper personnel became a church sanctuary on one side with a fellowship center complete with a kitchen on the other side.
The pastor has his own office, and several rooms were made for children’s ministries and Sunday School classes.
Unzicker said they couldn’t get any takers on the printing press.
“We would have really had to cut the garage door and drag (the press) out for people willing to scrap it, but we couldn’t find a buyer for it. So we’re just going to take it down piece by piece,” he said.
The church started with about 70 parishioners and has seen between 70 and 120 at the services over the years, Unzicker said.
As for the overall financing of the project, Unzicker said, “We felt like God didn’t lead us to do any capital campaigns or ask for any pledges. We felt like God will provide everything to do it if we just tithe, and our people are faithful tithers.”
Unzicker said in the last couple of months, they had to take out a small loan. But they’re trusting God to provide the finances for that debt.
After the first week, the services can also be viewed on the Crossroads Community Church Facebook page or online at crossroadsburlington.com.