An elementary school turned house of worship will have it first church service this weekend. The old Franklin Elementary on Fairyland Road is now home to the Bethany Wesleyan Church's third location.
Final touches are being made for Sunday's 10:30am service.
We're standing in the ministry center which was once a gymnasium. It takes a lot of work to convert a school into a church. Both contractors and the congregation have come together to bring new life to this building.
"A lot of our contractors, a lot of our specialty trades are from members of our congregation and so they've donated time and labor and materials. That's been wonderful and exciting." said Pastor Casey Spencer
A lot of work for the new Bethany Wesleyan Church is being done by the people who will come here on Sundays. Pastor Spencer said some renovations were made such as new carpeting, new technology, and removing some walls to open up for a cafe. But the layout of the elementary school is actually conducive to a church including the wide open space, and using old classrooms for kids rooms.
"Just trying to freshen it up. Parts of this building were built in the 50s, others in the mid-90s. So fresh coats of paint, some cleaning went a long way." Spencer said.
Holly Haydt is the children's ministry director. Today she's painting some children's tables while other members are cleaning the window sills and walls. It's been a journey watching the church transform, putting sweat equity into the place she prays in.
"It's been very overwhelming to see what it looked like as an elementary school, an then seeing where we're at today." Haydt said, "Over the weeks, over the months there's just been so many changes."
Maybe the biggest concern for Pastor Spencer is to make sure it's safe for members to come to church due to COVID-19. Aside from making the building extra clean and providing hand sanitizer, members can stream a service at home through Facebook L;IVE, or sit in the parking lot and listen to the service through an FM transmitter.
"We have masks available for people who need them as they enter, hand sanitizing stations." Spencer said, "We're just doing our best to provide people with as much opportunity as they can so they can worship safely and comfortably."
The Bethany Wesleyan Lehighton church will also serve as a preschool. They're hoping to open this fall or in the spring of 2021.