360 Church of Petaluma has met its goal, if not its full potential. The church, which started in a rented room at an elementary school with a congregation of 10, is expected to welcome close to 600 for Easter Sunday Services.
The services are being allowed at the church's new home at 879 Lindberg Ln. under a special permit issued by the city. The grand opening on a nearly nine-acre site located off Payran Street near the Sonoma-Marin County Fairgrounds won't be until late June or early July, when the renovation of the former headquarters of Northbay Construction is nearer completion.
When it is completed, the religious complex will be one of the largest of its kind in the city with a church that will seat 800-900 parishioners, church offices, a prep-school, a playground for kids, meeting rooms for outreach programs and a sports complex.
The property was purchased in October, with the hope of having it opened for Easter services — ambitious, since the renovation is being done primarily with donated materials and labor. The church offices have already been relocated to an existing building on Payran Street. The church itself, which will be in a warehouse-style building that was originally used as a maintenance facility for the construction company's vehicles, will not be completed until later in the spring.
This has not deterred church pastor Colton Irving, his five-person staff, and a multitude of volunteers from proceeding with plans to hold Easter Services in their new home. A stage, complete with a big-screen, has been built, new chairs purchased, parking marked off and a temporary entrance built.
"We are going to hold services here and the whole community is welcome," Irving says. "We'll have students from Sonoma State helping with parking and other things, and we expect to have a lot of kids."
There will be an outdoor Sunrise Service at 6 a.m. with regular services starting at 10:30 a.m. Irving will speak on the story of the Resurrection.
Meanwhile, good things, bordering on the miraculous, keep happening to the church.
The company cutting the trees for the Highway 101 widening project donated the cuttings to the church, and Irving located a mill that will turn the logs into wood for free. "That's more than $15,000 worth of wood," Irving notes. "It will take care of most of our exterior construction."
Kelly-Moore Paint has donated paint for the church, and mixed it to color.