010518-blm-loc-1newchurch

Pastor Tim Ferrill inspects the welcoming area of his nondenominational church, The Tabernacle, 1845 W. Hovey Ave., Normal, on Thursday. The church is preparing for an open house and grand opening at 10 a.m. Sunday.

DAVID PROEBER, THE PANTAGRAPH

BLOOMINGTON — After meeting for three years in leased space at Crossroads Center then six months at a hotel, The Tabernacle church is having a “grand opening” Sunday at its new home in far west Normal.

Although church members have been meeting at their new facility at 1845 W. Hovey Ave. for several weeks, Pastor Tim Ferrill said the service at 10 a.m. Sunday will be the church's “grand opening.”

Ferrill said the worship space has seating for about 70 people in addition to a children's area. However, the church already has plans for renovation of the former manufacturing site and has even placed blue tape on the floor showing where walls and the main worship area will be.

The church's formal name is The Tabernacle, but Ferrill, the founding pastor, said, “No one calls it The Tabernacle. We call it The Tab.”

The church is nondenominational with contemporary praise and worship and Bible-based preaching, he said.

It has promoted the new location through social media, mailings to about 2,000 residences within a 2-mile radius and a billboard.

“A lot of the people we are trying to reach are young adults and families,” said Ferrill. “What a great way to reach them and invite them … through social media.”

Ferrill said the church is not trying to draw people away from other churches.

“There are plenty of people to reach” who aren't regularly attending church, he said. “We're all on the same team. We're all trying to help people.”

Obtaining a permanent home for The Tab “has been quite a journey,” said Ferrill.

The church initially ran into problems because the site is zoned for restricted manufacturing and churches were not a permitted use. A request to rezone the parcel as a special public lands and institutions district was rejected by the Normal Planning Commission.

However, the town amended the zoning ordinance to permit churches and other places of public worship. That enabled The Tab to move forward with its plans.

Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter: @pg_sobota

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