Vineyard Church expanding in a multitude of directions

URBANA — The Vineyard Church in Urbana is growing again, and so are some of its vines.

The city of Urbana recently issued a building permit for $3 million of work at Vineyard's campus at 1500 N. Lincoln Ave.

Happy Leman, the church's senior pastor, said the expansion and renovation comes as part of a $12 million initiative, with about $7 million of the work planned at the Urbana campus.

The project — known as the Crescendo initiative — also includes work at the church's four other campuses:

— Construction of a new church building on the south side of Sullivan.

— Buying the former Poolside Health & Wellness building on Danville's north side from Carle. The church had formerly leased that building.

— Enhancing the church buildings in Paxton and Bloomington. Worshippers in Paxton meet in a downtown storefront, while Bloomington worshippers gather at a building on U.S. 51 south of the Interstate 74 interchange.

Each of the campuses has its own pastor but also gets video feeds from the Urbana location, Leman said. The church is part of an international Christian denomination that began in California 30 years ago.

At the Urbana campus, the work includes adding children's space, youth space, new offices and a community gathering room.

The church is adding new offices to the north of its existing building. Current offices will then be converted for children's space, the gymnasium will be renovated for youth space, and a covered patio will be transformed into a community gathering room, Leman said.

The new offices and converted patio space will add about 20,000 square feet to the 80,000-square-foot building, Leman said.

Plus, about half the existing space will be "repurposed" as a result of the renovation.

The work is to be done in phases, with the new offices expected to be completed in May. The children's space is targeted for completion this summer, and the youth space and patio conversion are due to be finished by the end of this year, he said.

Leman said the Urbana campus is still likely to have a gymnasium once the work is done, but it will be "a whole lot different."

The church is in the midst of a monthlong capital campaign to support the work, he said Tuesday.

The $12 million initiative involves not only all five campuses of the church, but also plans for more campuses in central Illinois.

Most immediately, the church is planning a new campus in Charleston near Eastern Illinois University's administration building, Leman said.

The church also plans to support new missionaries in Mexico, Taiwan and China, he said.

A plan outlined in 2008 called for planting 10 churches, starting 10 campuses and supporting 10 new missionaries over 10 years, Leman said. So far, four churches have been planted, and five campuses are in place.

The Vineyard Church has about 3,000 members across its five campuses, he said.

Leman said about a third of churches with more than 1,000 members have more than one campus, and another third are planning to establish an additional campus.

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