For years, members of Centreville Presbyterian Church were squished into a small, old church at Route 28 and I-66 in Centreville. But Sunday, their new house of worship on Route 29, just west of Pleasant Valley Road, fit them just fine.
And no one was happier about it than their pastor, the Rev. Rob Bromhead, at this weekend's official dedication of the building.
"IT'S LIKE walking through a dream and walking on air," he said. "After 20 years of waiting for a new building, what an honor it is to minister to and be a part of this community. And it's more than the church celebrating today; it's also Centreville."
The $5.1 million project entailed construction of a 27,715-square-foot building on a 20-acre lot. For now, it has a 400-seat sanctuary, 15 classrooms, nursery and childcare facilities, offices, a library and a multi-purpose room. The parking lot holds 158 vehicles.
More is eventually planned, said Carl Rosene, chairman of the church's building committee, but this is a really good start. "The big thing is that we moved from a much-smaller building seating less than 250," he said. "And there's a lot more classroom space. It's great to be in here because we're offering classes and programs here that we had no space for at the other building — and this one is beautiful."
The congregation actually moved into its new home in early December, and already, said Rosene, every room is being used. Some 300 people attend each of two Sunday services, and there's a Saturday service, as well.
So an eventual addition is on the horizon. It will bring even more classroom and office space and turn the current sanctuary into a fellowship hall when a new sanctuary with even more seating is added. That's still a long way off; meanwhile Centreville Presbyterian has a marvelous, new home.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to see it go from a drawing and an empty piece of land to this," said Fred Hills, the first chairman of the building committee. "It is magnificent." He said the committee's initial goal was to move into a new facility by January 2000. But seeing the finished product, said Hills, "Every delay was worth it."
During Sunday's dedication service, the Rev. Peter James of Vienna Presbyterian Church said he and Bromhead attended Gordon Conwell Seminary together. So in 1983, when James was serving on a committee to plant a new church in Centreville, Bromhead came to mind and he called him about the pastor's job.
"AND DO you think Rob was God's choosing for this congregation?" asked James. In response, everyone in the entire room stood and enthusiastically applauded.
"For 20 years, you've been wandering in the suburban wilderness," he continued. "Now you're home, and welcome home." However, said James, "God does not live in a church built by human hands. God dwells in these living stones through the spirit, and God is the foundation."
He said a church is not a building — its greatest resource is its people. "God is about the business of making people whole in this church and in this community," said James. "And I believe the greatest days of Centreville Presbyterian Church are before you."
In his invocation, the church's Associate Pastor, Neil Craigan, asked God to "make this structure your dwelling place. Send through these windows your cheering light. As we lift our eyes to the roof, may our spirits soar from earth to heaven."
Bromhead said Sunday was both "a day of fulfillment [and] also of new possibilities." And he prayed for God to "enrich the joys of those who bring their happiness here, ease the pain of those who bring sadness and hurt, give hope to the despairing and reassurance to the perplexed."
Ellen Hom of Cabell's Mill, said she's experienced "phenomenal spiritual growth," being in this congregation, and she's delighted with the new building. "The spirit of God dwells in the hearts of the people of this church," she said.
Lisa Halterman of Gate Post Estates described Centreville Presbyterian as open and welcome. "Pastor Rob is awesome," she said. "He's so dynamic and caring, he reaches out to everyone and he's been a dear friend. He's helped us in times of trouble and is always there for us."
Chantilly's Jeanette Budd said Bromhead relates to people of all ages, and she recalled the first time she walked inside the old building and heard him preach. "I felt it was the Lord speaking to us," she said. "I started crying, and I thought, 'This is home.'" Added her husband Fred: "We have lots of friends here. And we feel fulfilled being in this church with this minister, staff and congregation."