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SAVOY — Seven years after buying land in Savoy for its new location, Cornerstone Church is preparing to build an addition to keep up with its growth.

Pending final approval of a building permit, the church plans to start construction on a 4,000-square-foot addition to add another 100 seats to its worship space, according to Lead Pastor Rev. Luke Henry.

The addition will also include a larger kitchen and restrooms, and will be able to further function as a multi-purpose space, he said.

Before the pandemic, the church could seat about 70 people at the most, Henry said.

With the need for extra distancing these days, only about 45 people can attend at any one time, he said.

“We need the space,” Henry said.

That’s not just to accommodate pandemic safety. The number of people coming to services has grown in recent years, Henry said.

The church started as Garden Hills Baptist Church in Champaign before it moved to Savoy. Henry has been the lead pastor since 2017.

Moving ahead on this building project is an affirmation that even in the midst of bad things happening, God is moving in this church, Henry said, “not only moving in our church but in our community.”

Cornerstone Church describes itself as a diverse biblical community of people seeking to love Jesus and serve their city “as we think Jesus would.”

“It’s relaxed but focused, simple and authentic,” the church’s website says. “We design our worship services to be a place for people to meet with God.”

The church strives to help people focus on “what Jesus has called everyone to be,” Henry said.

The church has been holding two Sunday services a week since its capacity has been reduced, and also has been making its services available online even since before the pandemic, Henry said.

Outdoor services were tried, he said, but proved to be a bad idea in the heat of summer.

Henry said he’d like to see the church be able to return to one Sunday worship service after the addition is completed, so the entire church community can be together at once, then likely expand to two services again once more growth occurs.

Construction will likely start about a week after the village board acts on the building permit in May, with a goal of getting the addition completed in August, Henry said.

“We’ve been praying about it, dreaming about it,” he said.

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