It’s an exciting time for the staff and congregants of SonRise Church in Berlin. After a 3-year capital campaign, the church has finally purchased property that will serve as the organization’s permanent location, and hopefully a center for the community in the future.

SonRise Church, which was originally founded in October of 2002, initially met in the banquet hall of Ocean Downs. Each Sunday, a team of parishioners would load and unload all the equipment necessary for the church to have service. The group expanded rapidly and moved their services to the Cafeteria of Stephen Decatur High School in 2003, where they have been meeting ever since.

Throughout those 13 years, the church has built strong relationships with the staff and students of SDHS as well as other surrounding area schools. The church and its leadership operate with the understanding that serving the community – with no expectation of return or monetary benefit – is a high priority and a main goal for their outreaches and ministries.

The Berlin campus has three services every Sunday: 8:00am, 9:30am and 11:00am. As a mobile church without a permanent location, the members are still required to set up and tear down the tables and chairs, music equipment, and registration equipment each weekend. To those participating, it is a small price to pay for the chance to meet and fellowship with each other in a space large enough to accommodate everyone.

Though soon, even that small price may not be necessary. After a long negotiation, a change in town law, and hundreds of prayers, SonRise has finally closed on a contract for the purchase of the former Merial Select facility in Berlin.

SonRise’s Lead Pastor, Pastor Daryl McCready, said this in reference to the purchase of the property:

“We would like to thank the Berlin Town Counsel, the Mayor, and the town administration for all their help in getting the necessary zoning changes needed to make this property work for us.

The whole process was clearly God.  Although it took one year of negotiations we saw God’s hand in the entire process.”

The building and property’s current state is far from the ending vision that the church leadership is hoping to achieve (see site plan below), but the purchase and beginning renovations are one step towards a safe and fun location with activities and services offered to the entire community.

Pastor Daryl gave us a brief overview of what is to come in the first two phases:

“Phase one is the office complex which is a 7100 SQ FT building in which we are developing a new office complex for mid-week ministry.  It will include 10 offices, 2 conference rooms, a kitchen, and a small worship space that seats 150.  We hope to be in this space by mid to late October.

Phase two includes subdividing the property which will include demolishing the building closest to Route 50 and selling three lots- one to a hotel and two to restaurants – which will assist us in the future development of the large worship building. That building is a 28000 Sq Ft facility that, when we are done, will include a state of the art 700 seat café style worship space, children’s ministry space, a full commercial kitchen, indoor basketball courts and more!  All this will happen as God provides.”

The church’s vision as it is executed is sure to be an invaluable asset to the community. ShoreBread is hoping to keep in close contact with SonRise as this development unfolds.