Congregation finally dedicates property for new church after waiting 13 years

Pastor Jim Vasquez speaks to his congregation Sunday during the property dedication and groundbreaking at the site for the new Sonrise Fellowship Church, Iron County, Utah, Dec. 4, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY – The slight wind chill didn’t change the spirit of joy and gratitude in the air Sunday for those who attended a groundbreaking where the new Sonrise Christian Fellowship Church will soon be built.

Church members break ground Sunday during the property dedication and groundbreaking at the site for the new Sonrise Fellowship Church. Iron County, Utah, Dec. 4, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George News / Cedar City News
Church members break ground Sunday during the property dedication and groundbreaking at the site for the new Sonrise Fellowship Church, Iron County, Utah, Dec. 4, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George News / Cedar City News

More than 50 people came out to the property dedication ceremony, all of them rejoicing in the knowledge they will finally have a place to call their own.

The property located at 1771 Iron Springs Road will soon be home for the 150-member congregation that has been without a church building for 13 years.

“We hear about, ‘OK, we worked real hard and we built this building,’ but it wasn’t us – it’s God,” Pastor Jim Vasquez told the congregation Sunday. “God made this possible. And we can clearly see this because we were at the end where we were, ‘OK, we can’t build,’ and then God in his infinite wisdom and grace and mercy and his timetable – here we are. And it’s been a long journey, an exciting journey.”

For the congregation members, the property dedication marked a milestone as they look forward to watching the construction of the church and ultimately having a place to hold their services.

“This is exciting,” said Steve Inlow, who has been a congregation member of Sonrise for four years. Inlow is also a part of the design team for the new church.

“I have been in construction for 42 years, and I believe God led us to Cedar City so I could help with this,” he said. “This will be so exciting to watch it grow and to see it be built. It’s definitely been a long journey for us, but we’re finally here.”

The pastor’s wife, Kathy Vasquez, said they hope construction will be finished within six to eight months.

Church members pray as Pastor Jim Vasquez dedicates the property where the new Sonrise Fellowship Church will be built. Iron County, Utah, Dec. 4, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George News / Cedar City News
Church members pray as Pastor Jim Vasquez dedicates the property where the new Sonrise Fellowship Church will be built, Iron County, Utah, Dec. 4, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George News / Cedar City News

For many years, the nondenominational group paid the Iron County School District to use the two high schools for their Sunday church services. However, they moved to Gateway Preparatory Academy about four years ago after the fees became increasingly unaffordable, Kathy Vasquez said.

The church also has an office building located in Cedar City at 603 S. Main St. where they hold weekly worship services such as their youth group and women’s Bible study.

“It’s been 13 years we’ve been setting up and tearing down for church services,” Kathy Vasquez said. “This is so wonderful for us because it means we’re going to finally have a home that we’re going to be able to come and worship at and we can socialize before and after services. This is just freedom for us because we will be able to meet any time, any day we want to. This way, everyone and everything will be here in one place. We can have our service, our parties, our fellowship and our potlucks.”

The five-acre piece of land was a gift donated by a developer who also owns the surrounding 2,000 acres. The pastor told the group Sunday the anonymous donor has also agreed to allow a cross to go up on the hill behind the church building – big enough for all to see.

“He (the land donor) wants to put a big white cross up on the hill,” Jim Vasquez said. “We’ll be able to see it from all over the valley.”

The church had previously purchased another 6-acre parcel a few years ago located near Cross Hollows Event Center from the sale of their first church. That property, however, was quickly becoming a nightmare to develop, Jim Vasquez said. Between the city impact fees and the fact that the land is situated on a flood plain, which forced the church to have to jump through federal mandates, it was becoming less financially feasible for the group to build.

“But the Lord took care of all of that and blessed us with two properties,” Jim Vasquez said, “which gives us the ability to sell one to help supplement the costs of building the church on the other property.”

Sonrise services:

When: Sundays at 10 a.m.

Where: Currently at Gateway Preparatory Academy, 201 Thoroughbred Way, Enoch, Utah

More info: For information on other weekly services, activities or to get involved, call Pastor Jim Vasquez at 435-586-3640.

Directions

  • Traveling north on Interstate 15, take exit 62.
  • Travel west as the road curves to a traffic light.
  • At the light, the bowling alley will be on the northeast corner. Travel north on Minersville Highway
  • You will pass an LDS church on the left.
  • Continue traveling north approximately .25 miles and make a left on Thoroughbred Way.
  • Turn right into the school and the parking lot is in the back.

 

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Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • .... December 6, 2016 at 6:36 am

    This is absolutely fantastic news and I’m sure this will result in a positive reaction from the community and I would like to thank all those involved in making this possible. and now they have a place to meet and engage in their religious beliefs

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