Now, the 350 people who regularly attend Watermark will have a permanent house of worship.
Watermark moved into the former Waypoint Boat sales building, 13040 U.S. 31, just south of Ferris Street, late last week. The church’s move is not far from the cafeteria space it formerly rented inside Grand Haven High School.
While the church celebrated the move with morning services last weekend, it will officially begin serving the public in its new “hub” on Sunday.
“We want this new building to be utilized in the community rather than just for Sunday morning services,” said Watermark Lead Pastor Steve Deur.
The nearly 13,000-square-foot building has remained vacant since the boat store closed in 2008. Watermark officials purchased it July 2011.
The renovated space includes the main room for church service gatherings, as well as a kitchen and rooms for nurseries and children’s breakout groups. It also includes the “laundry hub,” a room with several washing machines and dryers that are free for those who need it — typically about 20-25 families a week, Deur said.
Offices are planned for the loft-style second floor, which remains under construction.
In addition to the extra space, “Watermarkers” — as they call themselves — will no longer be confined to space availability beyond its 9:15 and 11 Sunday morning services.
“We loved being in the high school — it’s been an incredible experience,” Deur said. “The nice thing about this facility is it gives us the flexibility to add another gathering time.”
Deur explained that church officials spent more than a year looking for a permanent facility and said the former boat dealership building met the criteria “we were looking for.”
To keep costs down, Watermarkers volunteered much of their time and talent to help renovate the building.
“We’re just so pleased with how it turned out, and with all the hard work of the people who served and volunteered,” Deur said.
Jan Zimmerman of Grand Haven Township has been a Watermarker for seven years, and said she is thrilled with the new facility.
“It’s such a new building and we didn’t have to do a lot of maintenance to it,” she said. “... We’re not just a church with a steeple, we’re a hub for the community.”
David Gignac, also of Grand Haven Township, has been attending Watermark with his wife, Angela, for seven years as well. He said it’s nice to have a kitchen, and no longer have to pack and unpack all the supplies for Sunday morning services.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said from behind the church’s kitchen counter. “It’s a great change for us.”
Mike Takas, who helped start up Watermark with Deur eight and a half years ago, said church staff would have three trailers full of chairs and other equipment they would have to load and unload each week at the high school setting.
“This building is a great place,” he said. “But we don’t want to be all known for our building — we want to be known as a group of people who love Jesus and others in the community.”
For the past five years, Watermark has also held Sunday worship services at local parks, including Mulligan’s Hollow in Grand Haven and Pottawattomie Park in Grand Haven Township. Deur said that is something the church will likely continue.
Last weekend’s services brought droves of Watermarkers eager to worship in their new “hub.”
Deur expressed his appreciation for the support during the church’s transition into its new space.
“This space is the right tool for us,” he said during the morning service. “This home of ours is going to make an impact.
“This is the hub — our home,” Deur added. “We are the church. ... We invite people into our home and we want it to be welcoming.”
To see a photo gallery from the new Watermark Church, click here.