FLINT, Michigan — With a focus on restrengthening its mission and commitment to the city, Woodside Church expects to open in its new Carriage Town location next month.
“We’re moving back to a neighborhood we grew up in,” Rev. Dr. Deborah Conrad said of the downtown Flint area.
Renovation is almost complete on the building that previously was home to Hoffman’s Deli and the Carriage Town Antique Center on the corner of Garland Street and West Second Avenue.
Mott Community College purchased the previous home of Woodside Church along Court Street and directly adjacent to the college campus to house a new Family Life Center. The purchase allows the college to expand its Early Childhood Education Center, which already was housed in a portion of the church building, to include care for infants and young toddlers.
Mott officially took ownership of the church building in October. Woodside took up temporary residence at Court Street Village, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing and healthy neighborhoods.
Come early June, Woodside parishioners will be able to move their services into their new space and can get back to their mission to impact the community, Conrad said.
The church will share its new space with the M.A.D.E Institute and the Genesee County Hispanic Latino Collaborative.
“This neighborhood, this area, if you were to draw a 1-mile circle around this spot, you would see a microcosm of the entire city,” Conrad said.
The worship space will emphasize the industrial, blue-collar history of Flint and the building itself, which previously was an auto garage. The bay doors will remain and create an open-door worship space when weather allows.
They plan to use a former workbench as the new pulpit. The property also includes large windows, an expansive central courtyard and a greenspace that will allow the church to host welcoming, outdoor community events.
The priority now is on developing the worship area and making the first floor ready for services, but additional work is planned to add more bathrooms, storage space, and eventually a lift to the second floor. Phase 2 of renovations also includes adding office and meeting space to the second floor.
The move also allows for a return of Wildroot Coffee, a coffee shop that focuses on high-quality grinds with no price tag, just at-will offerings. It will be in the open window area of the building and also display local art.
Conrad said the move to downtown feels natural and has been embraced by the congregation, which prides itself on being open-minded and forward thinking.
“I think Woodside is an important counterbalance,” Congrad said. “We are the more progressive Christian community in the region, and I think we’re an important counterbalance to a lot of conservative theological stuff that happens in the city.”
All are welcome at Woodside, Conrad said. Services are 11 a.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit www.woodsidechurch.net