INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — After more than a decade of relocated scripture readings and nearly eight years without a place of worship, church services will return this weekend to the corner of Country Club and Highway 28.
“For a lot of people, it’s like they’re coming home. They finally have a place to worship,” the Rev. Brett Franklin said this week. “Everyone’s very excited to be a part of a church family that’s opening its doors up to the community.”
Work crews were busy Wednesday putting the finishing touches on the 17,000-square-foot Cornerstone Community Church, where services resume at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
At three stories, the building is anchored by a spacious sanctuary on the main floor that seats 300, with the capacity to hold 460.
The basement includes a large commercial kitchen — the idea, Franklin said, is to host functions and community events, perhaps even a soup kitchen — and several children and youth rooms, as well as a secure nursery area for young parents. Another classroom and sanctuary overlook areas are on the top floor.
While the parking lot holds 68 cars, worshipers can park for free at neighboring Sierra Nevada College, Franklin said, thanks to an agreement between the two that also allows SNC students to park at the church.
“We are a nondenominational Christian church, an independent, pastor-led church,” Franklin said. “Anyone is invited to partake in our Communion.”
‘OUR HOME BUILDING’
Sunday will mark a long-time-coming resurrection for the place of worship formerly known as North Tahoe Community Church.
Its congregation outgrew its 5,700-square-foot church at the same location at 300 Country Club Drive, and Sunday services moved in 2002 to the Incline High School gym, before eventually moving to the school’s theater.
“We’re thrilled that we’re moving back into our home building,” said Cornerstone Church Administrator Eileen May. “Meeting at the high school definitely had its challenges. When we were in the gym, it required an hour to two hours of set-up each Saturday, and an hour or so after each service.”
Once donations came in for a new place of worship, the old church was demolished in September 2007, making way for construction on the new building. Work ceased in October 2008, however, due to a Great Recession-aided drop in fundraising.
According to previous reports, while $2.6 million was donated to the building as of July 2009, another $3 million was needed for completion.
Franklin chose not to reveal a final price tag when asked this week, be he assured residents when services resume, they’ll do so inside a “debt-free” building that’s “fully funded by members of our congregation.”
“It was very important for us to make this a debt-free project. We might have been a little slower in our building process because of that, but we did accomplish that goal,” May added.
FROM LIFEPOINT TO CORNERSTONE
Once NTCC pastor and founder Danny Bell moved to Texas in July 2009, church leadership began examining options. After several members attended services at the nondenominational LifePoint Church out of Minden, leadership began examining the possibility of merging.
From there, NTCC officially closed and became LifePoint Church, Franklin said. However, while a merger was first explored, an official one never took place, as the Minden church merely provided pastoral support and helped the Incline church’s transition.
“Now it’s Cornerstone … it’s really just a name change and a new chapter,” said Franklin, who moved to Incline Village in 2012 from Hope Community Church in South Reno, eventually becoming lead pastor at Cornerstone in 2013. “The name ‘Cornerstone’ just has a good meaning. Jesus is our cornerstone in scripture, and at the same time, we hope to be one of the cornerstones of the community.”
While the new building features “LifePoint Church” signs on its exterior, Franklin said those should be replaced within a month to bear the new “Cornerstone” name.
Aside from Franklin and May, the church also is served by Mike Coudriet, youth director; Nathalie Sacci, children’s director; and Shelia Leijon, worship director.
Questions about the church can be directed to may at firstname.lastname@example.org.