AUGUSTA — After nearly eight years of wandering from one rental space to another, New Life Christian Fellowship Church is finally home.

The church has been meeting for the past three months at the former Kennebec Mennonite Church building at 187 Sewall St.

“We’re awfully glad to own our own building,” said Paul Dibden, the pastor. “It helps us to feel more established.”

Easter will mark New Life Christian Fellowship’s eighth anniversary. Before buying the Sewall Street building, the church rented space throughout the city, including the Augusta Civic Center and Gilbert and Buker schools.

Dibden counts among his close friends the Rev. Glenn Metzler, pastor of Faith Christian Church, formerly known as Kennebec Mennonite Church. Dibden has helped Faith with renovations at its Gardiner location.

“People have a picture of churches being against each other,” Dibden said. “That’s largely disappearing. I see a great amount of church unity coming. This is a celebration of that.”

Church Elder Jackie McConkie said the church has always had a terrific relationship with landlords, but renting space used for purposes other than a church posed challenges, such as having to pack up sound equipment and the pulpit each week.

“It’s taught us a lot about patience,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing the Lord has done for us.”

The church averages about 40 people for its Sunday service, but Dibden believes having a permanent location will help increase that number.

“When you’re renting, the numbers go up and down,” he said. “People are not sure you will be around.”

The church had been eyeing the Sewall Street building, which was on the market for five years, for a long time, but it couldn’t buy it, Dibden said. “The time came to be right,” he said.

Dibden said members have been hard at work renovating the building.

“The whole church has put a lot of work into it,” he said. “When I called a work day the problem wasn’t people not showing up, the problem was keeping everyone who showed up busy. I’m honored to be their pastor.”

The church is a member of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, a southern denomination that holds theological views identical to the Assemblies of God.

The church has tried to foster a family-friendly ministry.

“To be in a neighborhood like this is wonderful for us,” Dibden said. The neighbors have been very welcoming, he added.

Settling into a permanent home has gotten members anxious to move forward with new ministries to reach out into the community. They hope to eventually host suppers, vacation Bible school and look for teen service projects to help neighbors.

“We want to be a blessing to the Augusta community,” Dibden said. “We want to help as many people as we can serve the lord and worship him.”

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