After leasing various locations for 13 years, Coastal Community Church has finally found a place to call its own and hopes to be moved in by Thanksgiving.

The Wesleyan church purchased the former Knights of Pythias building on Route 1 in Scarborough earlier this summer and has been working to renovate it ever since.

“It allows for a community identity,” said Pastor Dwayne Hopkins about the building’s purchase. “It allows us to give our vision and ministry. It allows us to be more involved with the community.”

Since the closing, Hopkins along with members Steve Thibodeau and Mark Maroon have been doing as much work as possible and then bringing in subcontractors to do certain areas.

Once completed, the building will have a sanctuary, several handicapped restrooms, a nursery that will be used during services, an office, a teen center, an area for youth services, and a large meeting room.

Pastor Bud Fancy formed Coastal Community Church nearly 15 years ago. The church has been very active in the community since then and Hopkins continued that tradition when he took over seven years ago.

“We’re in the community and we take this seriously,” he said. “We don’t want to leech off the community, we want to contribute to the community.”

That is one reason why Hopkins, who is a Scarborough police reserve officer, also serves as the department’s chaplain. He has spent his life studying and working as a religious leader and feels he should volunteer this skill.

“I believe we should try to give our best back to the community,” he said.

Interest in the church has been increasing over the years. When it started there were about 70 people attending services and although there has been some ups and downs in attendance it has increased today to about 100 people.

Church revenues also have increased from about $1,200 a week to $2,500 a week. Finally the church also has been helping increase people’s interest in spiritual growth.

“In all three of those areas we’re really stable and growing,” Hopkins said.

By purchasing its own building, the church will be able to better serve its expanding membership, continue its current community work, and expand its role.

One area that Hopkins will begin focusing on is youth ministry. He envisions offering less-traditional services specifically targeting youth try to attract and keep their attention.

The church also will begin focusing on senior citizens, which is a growing portion of the church’s members.

“We’re not looking for people who go to church, we’re looking for people who are not going to church,” Hopkins said. “Our competition is anything that keeps people from not going to church.”

He also is planning to offer an 8:30 a.m. Sunday service in addition to the regular 10 a.m. service. The earlier service may better fit into people’s busy schedule and encourage more to attend church.

“The church has to help be part of the solution and not be part of the problem,” Hopkins said.

These changes and others in the planning stages are the church’s attempt to become relevant in people’s lives and remain important, Hopkins said.

The church also incorporates technology into its weekly services using PowerPoint presentations that display music, words to songs and other pertinent aspects of the sermon.

Each service is videotaped. For those who are watching the children during the service it is televised live in the nursery.

The services last about 90 minutes, but Hopkins said he does about 30 to 40 minutes of preaching and the rest of the ceremony is filled with singing and music. He figures that he spends about 10 hours per week preparing for a Sunday sermon.

“We’re upbeat, we try to blend the contemporary and the traditional,” he said.

Pastor Dwayne Hopkins, of Coastal Community Church, with his son Nathan at the church

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