Christian Life Center buys land

Determined not to let a little rain stop them, dozens of Christian Life Center parishioners and staff just added umbrellas to an outdoor ceremony on Sunday that celebrated the church’s planned expansion.

As a way of “staking a claim” to a five-acre parcel the church is buying, the day’s second service concluded with a walk over to the site.

Pastor Paul Gamlen said since the site lies between the two parcels already owned by the church, buying it has been “heavily discussed for the last two years.

“(The church) has had its eye on it for a while, and it has just been a matter of coming up with the money,” said Gamlen, who returned to the church a year ago after serving as a pastor for several years previously.

Gamlen said once the purchase is finalized in December, the parcel — which would increase the church’s total land to nearly 14 acres — will first be used as a parking lot.

“The development will be done in two phases,” he said. “The immediate plan is to use it for parking, and later a new, (larger) church.”

The current main building will most likely be turned into a combination gym and education facility for the church, which runs a K-12 private school and a daycare on its current campus, he said.

A possible need for a larger sanctuary was certainly evident at a recent memorial service for popular shopkeeper Alan Kono, the longtime owner of P.J.’s Market, who was killed in June.

That day the church’s parking lot was full an hour before the service began, and as the main sanctuary chairs quickly filled, mourners lined the balconies several people deep.

Gamlen said while the church is not quite that full for a typical Sunday service, he said “it would be if we did not hold two services.”

He said the church has been steadily growing over the years, and attributed its expanding congregation to several factors, including its well-attended outreach programs throughout the year.

“All of the pieces contribute,” he said.

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