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Abundant Family Life Church expands in new location

Pastor Doug Brunell of Abundant Life Family Church stands in front of a display case in the children's area at the church's new location, 500 S. Oak St. The items within the case are used as a reward system for the children who attend services and Bible study for actions such as good behavior and remembering to bring their Bible.
Pastor Doug Brunell of Abundant Life Family Church stands in front of a display case in the children's area at the church's new location, 500 S. Oak St. The items within the case are used as a reward system for the children who attend services and Bible study for actions such as good behavior and remembering to bring their Bible.

Abundant Life Family Church has settled into its new home, 500 S. Oak St., and as of Sept. 2, services will be held at its new location.

The congregation, which Pastor Doug Brunell describes as “laid back,” is growing and needed room to expand. It was for this reason that Brunell purchased the former Franklin School building at auction in 2013 with the goal of renovating it over time to meet the church’s needs.

“We just had some long-term goals and we’ve been working on it,” said Brunell.

Brunell said the location was ideal, because prior to Brunell purchasing the building, another local organization who owned the building had started gutting the building, but that the building has good bones, which helped the process.

“We had to go in and do sheet rocking and ceiling tiles,” said Brunell.

Brunell said he misses the high ceilings of the former church his congregation used to meet at, 500 S. Birch St., but that they have gained so much more in the new building. At its new location, the church now has a nursery, a larger foyer, large preschool, private nursing rooms for mothers, a children’s space and a family room for parents to console upset children during services. And, eventually, a teen space will be added.

“We don’t have everything finished now but enough that we can start having services,” said Brunell.

Brunell said he had hoped that the gymnasium would work for services, but after holding a few in the space, the space didn’t feel quite right.

“What I found out was that people really did not like it,” said Brunell. “It just didn’t have an atmosphere that they liked. So, CrossFit came along and that seemed like a better fit for them, so we just went in that direction.”

CrossFit TYL is a health and fitness gym owned and operated by Chris Doster of Mount Ayr. The high-intensity fitness program occupies the north end of the campus, while Abundant Life Family Church meets and has offices on the south and east ends of the building, hosting its services in the auditorium.

As for the the former building, it is still owned by Brunell and is now occupied by Church of Christ Ebenezer, a Hispanic ministry, according to its Facebook page, Ebenezer Creston.

Abundant Life Family Church services are held 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday. For additional information on Bible study or program times, visit www.abundantlifefamilychurch.net.

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