By Guest Nicole
The 35,452-square-foot building is the third location for Traders Point Christian Church
Traders Point Christian Church has bought the historic former Jehovah's Witness assembly hall Downtown for $2.7 million using a gift from a "generous person" in the congregation.
The 35,452-square-foot building at 1201 N. Delaware St. is the third location and second auxiliary location for the Whitestown megachurch. Earlier this year, Traders Point launched a Carmel location, and 750 people regularly attend services there.
"We became very regional," Executive Pastor Jake Barker said. "We've got a few hundred people Downtown that are currently driving out of Downtown to attend the north or northwest Indy Traders Point campus."
Barker declined to identify the congregation member who donated the funds for the building.
Traders Point bought the Downtown location on June 1, according to property records. The church will begin services there in January. It started hosting monthly gatherings Aug. 11.
Traders Point will spend about $2 million to renovate the building, church spokeswoman Erica Thomas said. It has been vacant since 2012, listed at that time for $2.9 million. The limestone structure was built in 1912, and the auditorium was renovated in 1995. Thomas said the auditorium could seat as many as 1,200 people.
The historic neo-classical revival building with Tuscan pillars was designed by Chicago architect Spencer Solon Beman for the Second Church of Christ Scientists. It sold the building to the Baptist Church in 1968, which then sold it to Jehovah's Witnesses in 1978.
The interior of the 1,000-1,200-person auditorium of the former Jehovah's Witness Assembly Hall, purchased by the Traders Point Christian Church in June for $2.7 million. (Photo: Photo submitted by Michelle Hay, Traders Point)
"We believe we'll be more engaged and serve the city if there's a church closer to where you live," Downtown Pastor Pete Kinder said. "We had been praying about that building in some way."
Before moving Downtown with his wife and two kids, Kinder spent three years as a pastor in student ministries at both of the suburban Traders Point locations, 6590 S. Indianapolis Road in Whitestown and 3525 W. 126th St. in Carmel. Kinder said the congregation is growing but declined to say how much.
"It's so much less about how much we're growing, and it's really about loving the city," he said. "At the end of the day, we just love Jesus so much. We're just really excited to share his love. For us, it's less about the numbers and more about loving people."
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