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Burlington congregation finds new home - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington congregation finds new home

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Tucked away on The University of Vermont campus sits a small church with about 50 members.

"We were in originally what was a converted TV store out on North Avenue in the New North End," said Ken Wolvington.

The Christ Church Presbyterian was founded in 1955. Wolvington and his family joined a year later, and have been there for the ups and the downs along the way. "From the first day we were not what you'd call a conventional church, and as a result we didn't grow dramatically," Wolvington said.

The congregation is now facing their biggest challenge yet -- a lease that expires at the end of the year. "It's difficult to say goodbye to a place that you've been thinking of as your spiritual home for 35 years and to go somewhere else. On the other hand, that's always been the story of God's people," said Christ Church Pastor Mike Brown.

But as the word spread that the church was looking for a new home, doors began to open. "We are in the process of signing an agreement that will be for two years, but our hope is that it will have no end," said church member Sue Brooks.

The Cathedral Church of Saint Paul has agreed to open the basement of their church to the members of Christ Church Presbyterian. "It's a new endeavor in its scope and size but in terms of the spirit behind it, it's been part of Saint Paul since the beginning," said St. Paul Reverend Mark Hatch.

Moving into a new home in never easy but Christ Church Presbyterian members say they're excited to be able to welcome visitors from the downtown area. And the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul is more than thrilled to be opening their doors."They have been so incredibly enthusiastic and welcoming about this. And what that says to me is that there will be all kinds of ways that we can collaborate," said Pastor Brown.

"We're confident that it's going to be a win-win for everybody and beyond," said Reverend Hatch. "They've got one or two young kids, we've got a very active youth ministry -- maybe they'll want to be part of that. They have a very active feeding and food and social ministry -- we can be part of that."  

And as the two congregations prepare to come together for the first time on January 5th,Christ Church is reminded of the past decades spent here at UVM -- and the journey ahead. "You don't really know what to expect, you don't know what's around the corner -- Reminds me of a Westside Story song -- around the corner, you never know what it's going to be," Ken Wolvington said.

One thing both churches are sure -- this move will be an opportunity for growth and the coming together of two congregations with a similar mission.

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