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Church given property for free, no strings attached

Recently, a church congregation had its prayers answered and more.

Before the beginning of the spring, the non-denominational Christ of the Redeemer was meeting in a synagogue in downtown LaGrange that offered little space and needed many repairs.  Thanks to the donation of another LaGrange church, Christ the Redeemer has moved into a new church building.

“I pastored here until 1989 and then went to Dallas, Texas, but when we moved back in 2005 and did a small church plant,” said Senior Pastor Richard Hanner. “We moved several times and were just not able to land our own property.”

Hope Taylor, who pastored with Church of the King, told Hanner one day that he was looking to donate the church’s property located at 911 Murphy Avenue in LaGrange. 

“Hope and I go way back to the 80s,” Hanner said. “We never saw this coming when looking for a property. He approached me one day at dinner and shared he hadn’t been pastoring there or really hands-on in a while. And he just out of the blue, asked if we would be interested in that building or the property.”

Hanner said he was speechless and shocked when he heard that because the church had been praying constantly for a new building to open up.

“We had meetings, and he had meetings with some of the people that were left there,” Hanner said. “It was quite a gift. It’s quite unusual for things to happen like this.”

Church of the King gave the entire property and church to the Christ of the Redeemer with no strings attached.

The church moved in but kept the name Church of the King.

“I mean everything was left in it,” Hanner said. “It was fully equipped with everything we needed.”

Hanner said that in the synagogue they didn’t have room for more than 60 people. The new church building can fit more than 250.

“He just gifted it to us in a way that is phenomenal,” Hanner said. “It was ready made. We went into it, and I didn’t have to do anything.”

Edmund Coffee, who has been a long-time minister with the church and helped Hanner launch it, said this new location offers up many more amenities.

“Now, we are right in the middle of a neighborhood and have the facilities to evangelize the area,” Coffee said. “I can’t express enough how wonderful this is.”

Coffee added that they can also use the property for biblical education in the future.

“I was a teacher at Heritage Baptist and Lafayette Christian School for 15 years apiece,” Coffee said. “One of the real dreams of mine is that now our church has the opportunity to expand educational desires.”

On May 31, the church had its first in-person service but due to COVID-19 they have not been able to host an official launch to bring in new members.

“We are only having about 30 people each week for service so that people can social distance and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Hanner said. “Once things calm down in the future, we will hopefully bring in many more people and host events that we couldn’t do in the synagogue.”

Joe Sacco, who is the lead pastor, said he is excited to make an impact in the community with the new location.

“We prayed for this for two years and all of a sudden God broke through and gave us a miracle,” Sacco said. “This building is just beautiful. Once this COVID-19 is done, I am going to be impacting the community with this church. Before we couldn’t do that, but now, we are in a community and can be there for them.”

Hanner said all the church has to do legally is change the constitution and by-laws for Church of the King.

“We were simply amazed that God’s grace would allow this kind of opportunity,” Hanner said. “In fact, the night that he mentioned it to me, he just pitched it to me … to see if we were interested. I couldn’t really speak. It’s one of the largest miracles I have seen, and I’ve been in ministry for 73 years.”