Grandville-based Bethel Abundant Life Center hosts church services at a former Family Fare space. Courtesy Wolverine Building Group
A church is renovating its 19,000-square-foot space, which was once home to a Family Fare.
Bethel Abundant Life Center — a non-denominational church with a legacy of more than 50 years in West Michigan — is building out its new home in Grandville, at 3075 30th St. SW.
Grand Rapids-based Wolverine Building Group is serving as the project’s general contractor.
Craig Architects in Grand Rapids is serving as the project’s lead architect and designer.
Bethel’s congregation moved from Grand Rapids, at 834 Lake Dr. SE, into the space last year.
The renovation project involves transforming the former grocery space into a church, with worship spaces, offices and classrooms for Sunday school and youth groups.
The renovation work will happen in two phases, said Dulane Coval, Wolverine Builiding Group project manager.
The first phase will focus on developing the sanctuary and classrooms, while the second phase will focus on the stage area and other finishing touches.
The first phase should be completed in about a month, and the second phase should be completed in early May, assuming Bethel’s $200,000 fundraising campaign is successful, Coval said.
“What they’re trying to do is take a grocery store and make it into space usable for a church,” Coval said. “Right now, we’ve got plastic all over the place, trying to control dust. But they are in there using it.
“They have a long-range vision, but no timeline has been put to that, because they don’t know where they money is coming from yet.”
One of the main reasons for the expansion is to expand Bethel’s programs for children and youth groups with a new Children’s Center, said Jathan Austin, Bethel’s lead pastor.
“We decided as a congregation to impact the community of Grandville and Grand Rapids by first investing in our children,” Austin said.
Austin said, for example, that the church offers a Believe to Become program, which promotes educational and parental excellence.
“We are in the people business,” Austin said. “If we fail the people, we have failed as a church.”
Austin is the grandson of the one of the church’s founders, the late Bishop William Abney, who the city of Grand Rapids honored by naming Abney Avenue after him in 1995, according to the church website.
Bethel has plans to honor Abney’s lifelong passion for the arts by including in their new facility a “top-notch” auditorium named in Bishop Abney’s honor.