More than a warehouse
In the late 1980's, a small group of people began to gather for the purpose of knowing God's will for a new church in the Tri-City community. By 1989 CLC had grown to a point where it met regularly for worship and education at the local YMCA. Eventually the lease with the "Y" ended, requiring CLC to relocate to a different site. Covenant Life's present day facility was found unoccupied, but its condition and appearance as a warehouse was far from how the facility looks today.
The facility was originally built as the third of a three building complex for the production of pianos by the Story & Clark Piano Company. This third building consisted of four phases of construction: the first phase was the South end three story facility, built around the 1920's (it consisted the space currently occupied by the Loading Dock Coffee Shop, the Ministry Center, the church offices, the kitchen and the West Wing meeting corridor.)
It was built around free-standing wooden posts and beams. The second phase of construction took place about a decade later. It was built on the North end of the three story building from mostly steel. Lacking construction integrity, this building was torn down as part of the major renovation project, with many of the materials salvaged and integrated into remaining parts of the facility. In its place there is now a parking lot and a beautiful green space. The third phase was built adjacent to the two three-story buildings and was fitted with a rail track where the finished pianos could be rolled onto the train car. Today this marks our Main Street. The East part of the current facility (now housing Upstreet and the Worship Center) was built in the sixties.
Originally, CLC leased unfinished space in the S. W. corner of the three story building for $1.50 a sq. ft. Relying on member's skills and resources, a section of the building was built out which contained three classrooms, a nursery, a church office, a bathroom, a small kitchen and a small fellowship room. Worship was held in a portion of the facility which is now Main Street. On Sundays, the worship services often resembled musical chairs with people changing seats due to an often leaky roof.
With growth in numbers came the need for expanded space which was not a problem since the building back then contained 120,000 sq. ft. A few walls here and a few doors there was all that was needed until the next expansion phase was called.
Over time, members became convinced that God wanted to have CLC stay at its current Columbus location. Negotiations for the purchase of the building began in 1992. After several years of prayer, patient diplomacy with a colorful landlord and persistent faith in God, the building was purchased for $300,000 (a bargain even by real estate values back then). One minor and one major renovation later, with the help of a creative design & building team, an energized fund raising committee and many financially generous people the facility is now the permanent home of Covenant Life Church. The building has maintained its turn-of-the-century look and integrity while becoming one of the more functional facilities in the area. The facility is used extensively by church ministries as well as many outside groups looking for the kind of atmosphere and functionality the building offers.
The facility stands as a reminder to everyone that if God can take a run-down warehouse like this and renovate it for His larger ministry purpose of worship, healing and hope, then certainly He can transform people into becoming more fully devoted followers of Christ.