ALLIANCE — The Spirit of Faith Christian Center of Ohio will move to a new downtown location that will also serve as a community center ahead of the church’s seventh anniversary.
Spirit of Faith will celebrate the opening of the Family Matters Resource Center on Sunday with services at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The evening service will feature guest speaker Bishop Romey Coles of the Church of the Lion of Judah in Cleveland.
The building is located at 425 E. Market St. The First United Presbyterian Church occupied the space before moving to a facility on Beech Street in 2018.
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“What I’m most excited about is that this is going to give us access to more people to be able to inspire, empower and equip them to achieve their purpose, fulfill their passions and get training, learning and education in many different areas,” said Reverend Raymont Johnson, pastor of the Spirit of Faith Christian Center of Ohio.
Johnson and his wife, Brenda, own Family Empowerment Ministries Inc. The faith-based organization provides people with services and educational opportunities to help them find jobs and develop life skills.
The ministry was previously located in College Plaza. Johnson said the new location will allow the ministry to operate the church and house a variety of programs for the advancement of the community.
“It gives Alliance something they never had. Our Family Matters resource center is a community center,” he said.
Johnson said programs offered by FEMI include topics such as infant mortality and family relationships and communication.
The center will also focus on youth development, with an arts and nutrition program that teaches children about nutritional health as well as how to play different instruments. Additionally, the building will contain “meeting areas” filled with games and activities for boys and girls.
“This place also allows us to give the community, the young people, a safe place to be able to hang out with their friends,” Johnson said.
Funding from the CDBG Alliance to help relocate
The ministry received $50,000 in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) from the city, which was used to help acquire the property.
“This is dedicated to the community. There is a certain segment of the building that will be used as worship space, but block grant money can be invested in projects like this if a significant proportion of the project is not is not related to the cult”, Joe Mazzola , director of planning and development of the city.
Mazzola said the intent is for the facility to fill a “critical void” by serving neighborhoods that need these programs. He said he admired Johnson’s creativity and hoped the project would be able to serve the area.
“This idea of building community goes way beyond brick and mortar,” he said. “It’s all about people, and Raymont understands that. But you still need to have that physical presence, and that’s what this project will provide.”
Johnson said the building hasn’t seen many changes since First United Presbyterian moved in years ago. He said people will be able to rent the space for different events.
Johnson said the ministry plans to hold an event in August to let people walk through the building and see the different rooms.
“The center will be a hub of things the community needs,” he said.
Contact Paige at 330-580-8577 or [email protected], or on Twitter at @paigembenn.