The landscape at the corner or Pitts School Road and Roberta Road is about to change.
Within the next few weeks, a transformation is coming for the future of Rocky River Church, its members and Harrisburg residents. Throughout the years, the nondenominational Rocky River Church has taken a large interest in people, organizations and groups in the community, as well as outreach in other states during tragic times.
But according to the pastor, Jimmy Britt, now, is time for the church to focus on the matter at hand, the construction of their own building. From its beginning with eight people meeting in a home to 400 meeting in a school, "we can collectively say we have seen the church flourish," he said.
"It all started with building 'the' church, not 'a' church. We put our resources into people, not property," said the family life pastor, Travis Bush. Rocky River Church began in 1999 as a church for people who have given up on "church as usual."
In 2004, Rocky River Church purchased 12 acres of land at the corner of Pitts School and Roberta Roads. Although people and funds were not sufficient for construction at the time, the church believed that in God's time the resources would come. Six years and 12 acres later, Rocky River Church and the community of Harrisburg will break ground for what will become the new and permanent location of Rocky River Church. The building is expected to cost $1.5 million.
"Our goal is to build a sense of community among all peoples, not by building a place to worship only, but by building a place where the community can gather for weddings, parties, learning, recreation, exercise, encouragement and more. Should the town of Harrisburg implement the plan for sidewalks in the town, we would like to continue them to our property to create a lighted walking track that the whole community can use," said Bush.
"We are going to focus on using this building to give people the best opportunity possible to become fully committed followers of Christ. The building will be a tool for what is to come for the Kingdom of God," he said
The benefits of having this building are many according to Donnie Icenhour, pastor of operations. "We will be able to use our volunteers more efficiently. Instead of an eight-hour day spent on set up, we will take all of those hours and transform them into reaching our community for Christ," he said.
The building will have a modern contemporary look and will be approximately 14,500 square feet, constructed of metal, with a brick and stucco finish. Construction will be by Choate Construction of Charlotte and will begin the first week of June with completion scheduled for October 2010. Financing is secured with Cabarrus Bank and Trust.
As with most projects, funds were a hurdle, but through offerings, pledges, and a Cannon Foundation grant, Rocky River Church is another step closer to reaching its goal.
"We have been ready to build for a while, but God was not ready, and neither were the banks," said Icenhour.
But, in October, 2009, Rocky River Church celebrated not only their 10th anniversary, but a connection between Cabarrus Bank and Trust and the church's vision for the community.
The ground-breaking service on the corner of Pitts School and Robert Roads will be 10:30 a.m.-noon May 23. Rocky River Church with be hosting their Church and ground-breaking service all in one.
"We want the community to be involved and we want them to be a part of it," said Bush. "We are inviting everyone to bring a shovel to get the ground ready, because it was not one, two or even three people that made this thing happen, it has been a team effort."