Church outgrows facility, seeks funding for new one

Published 8:11 am Tuesday, June 24, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Old Path Church of God congregation in Niles has outgrown its facilities and is currently seeking ways to raise funds to build a new church in Niles.
The ministry is currently located at 940 N. Sixth St., in Niles, next to the Amtrak station.
Benton Harbor-based bishop Minus Thompson, who is involved in raising funds for the new church, said the ministry needs $200,000 to $250,000 to be able to build the new church.
He said the new church would be raised on the hill at the corner of Amtrak Drive and N. Fifth St. in Niles, property the ministry already owns.
He hopes the new church will be big enough to house 400 to 500 members when completed.
The ministry, perhaps most known for its summer time tent crusades over the last 20 years, started out from a box caravan with three to four families in 1979, Thompson said.
Growing out of the box caravan, Thompson said the ministry did door-to-door visits for a while, conducting bible studies and prayer services in the local community.
But the building the ministry is currently located in hasn't always been a church.
Neither does it look like a "traditional" church from the outside.
Thompson said it was built in 1903 and first used as a train depot that housed railroad workers in need of a place to sleep.
Ted and Marie Majerek eventually bought the property and rented it out to "Switchyard Coffeehouse."
Later the Old Path Church of Niles rented the building's basement.
It wasn't until 1983 that the ministry bought the property from the Majereks through a land contract arrangement.
Thompson said the congregation has worked hard to renovate and modernize the building since then
He said they have remodelled inside and are now using the second floor as offices, while the first floor serves as the church.
But the congregation has never limited their services to sermons only.
From 9:30 to 10:30 every Sunday morning the congregation has an outreach broadcast on WSMK 99.1 called "The Gospel of the Kingdom of God."
The ministry also does jail visits and nursing home visits and they have a food pantry and donate clothing to those in need, Thompson said.
Tanya Palmer, president of the outreach fundraiser for the new church, is positive the congregation will be able to raise enough money to build their new facility.
She said the ministry is asking for monetary donations, building materials and volunteer contractors who are willing to donate their time.
People who wish to contribute to the Old Path Church of God in Niles can contact Tanya Palmer at (574) 288-1627, or Minus Thompson at (269) 927-2502.
The church's address is:
The Old Path Church of God in Niles
940 N. Sixth St.,
P.O. Box 713
Niles, MI 49120