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Church Renewals and Railroad Escapes

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Great Lakes

By Kim Ousley

The Church at Broadway Park, a Church of God congregation in Alexandria, Indiana, recently pursued a do-over, of sorts. The original Alexandria Church of God, established in the early 1900s by Paul and Louise Haas, held its ground for 117 years. Due to declining numbers and economy, folks decided to close their doors in October 2018 and prayerfully consider how to re-align and re-establish the congregation into a new, vibrant, and community-oriented church.

Pastor Mike Snyder shares how they managed to make that happen: “With the help of Jeff Matas, Indiana Ministries, and Paul Strozier (former pastor of Madison Park Church of God), we took time to be in prayer, train, and re-tool to prepare to become a new congregation with a new name and new vision.”

That vision was realized when The Church at Broadway Park opened the doors within the downtown area of Alexandria, Indiana. There’s a park adjacent to the church where neighbors congregate and kids play. Community, and meeting their neighbors right where they are, was important to Snyder and the congregants who shared in the vision of small-town community.

“The biggest focus we have is to understand and develop the heart of hospitality by offering ourselves and our assets,” said Snyder. “This is risky to invite strangers to come into our lives and share their lives with us.”

Railroad Escapes sign as a train passes through Alexandria.

The history of Alexandria was more of a mono-ethnic tradition for years. But now, there’s a growing diversity of people and ideas. “We would love to celebrate all the cultures that are present.”

Snyder would love to see the local downtown area thrive again, as it did years ago. That includes seeing more mom-and-pop businesses, nonprofits, and other creative endeavors come into the old buildings and breathe new life into them, drawing outsiders to come and see what a great community Alexandria can be once again.

There were a few members in the congregation that were really into the latest craze of escapes rooms. They decided it would be fun to rent out part of the church building to create a permanent fun entertainment space for families and visitors to enjoy. Thus, Railroad Escapes was born.

“A group of people travel to surrounding states to go to escape rooms, so why not draw them to Alexandria?”

If you don’t know what an Escape Room is, it is a theme of puzzles, clues, hints, and other brain-teasers to be solved in a sixty-minute time frame by a group of people in order to find the secret code to “escape” the room.

The grand opening was April 1, 2022. To find out more, go to www.railroadescapes.com. This became an idea that may lead to other tenants wanting to share the space in the building, also.

Since February 2019, the church has renewed and re-opened its doors with faith that God is in the midst of all their plans, ideas, and community outreach. So, what’s next for the church?

“We are utilizing the park for an Easter Egg hunt and other outdoor events in the park,” said Snyder. He also would like to see staff grow as the congregation grows. For now, God is in the details, including the people who have a love for those in their neighborhood.

Kim Ousley serves as a freelance writer for Church of God Ministries.

Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

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