Though The Ridge Community Church congregation has been happy during its days at , the time to move on and move in to a more permanent home has come.
And Greenfield has welcomed The Ridge, , but twice, most recently this month when the land currently sits on .
In this week's Names in the News, Greenfield Patch got some more thoughts from The Ridge pastor Mark Weigt for this Q&A:
Greenfield Patch: The Ridge Community Church is inching closer to moving to Greenfield permanently, now that the Common Council has agreed to rezone the land. What's the next step for the church?
MW: The next step is to continue working with the Planning Commission on both the exterior and interior design of the facility. We realize that is an important corridor, so we want to make sure the building looks great both on the inside and outside.
GP: Let's say it's smooth sailing from here on out: Does the church have any target date as to when it would ideally hold its first service at the new church?
MW: We don't have a specific date as of yet. If everything goes smoothly, we hope to be in late winter/early spring 2013.
GP: How large is the congregation now, and what do you think or hope it will be in a year? Five years? Ten years?
MW: We average over 500 on most weekends. It's tough to put numbers on things like this. My hope is that internally we do our part to prepare for this move. If we do it well, the rest will take care of itself. We have a high percentage of people who attend The Ridge who are either finding their way back to God, or finding God for the first time. I think there are a lot of people looking for a church like that. Hopefully having a permanent location will only help that.
GP: There are many naysayers out there that believe the city made the wrong move, mostly because of the property tax situation. You made assurances at the council meeting that taxes would be paid on at least a portion of the property. Can you explain what you meant?
MW: I understand why there are naysayers. The assurances we made were to protect the City of Greenfield's portion of the property taxes on the commercial side of the building no matter who leases it.
GP: The Ridge has talked about being a good Greenfield neighbor. Are there any specific community initiatives the Ridge might get involved with? In other words, other than what should be an great-looking new church on a busy city corridor, what else can the Greenfield community look forward to once you "move in?"
MW: We are really looking forward to being a part of the Greenfield community in this way. We plan on partnering with local organizations that we feel are doing great work in serving the community. We want to get behind what they are doing. Moreover, we have loved being at Whitnall High School, so we hope to expand what we can do to serve the administration, teachers and kids in our surrounding schools. We want our community to be better because we are there…because that is who we are there to serve.