God is Growing His Church in Gardner, MA
Mission of Grace Church, formerly Mission Street Congregational Church, began a new chapter on February 3rd when it relocated to newly renovated buildings, having outgrown its former one. David Bodanza, who has pastored the church since 2013, indicates “this has been a long time in the making, and we are thrilled to celebrate with the CCCC what God has done here …” Renovations include the installation of an elevator, children’s classrooms and multimedia presentation system including projection and sound.
Rev. Dr. R. Gary Heikkila, who pastored the church for 35 years until his retirement in 1997, delivered the message along with Rev. Terry Shanahan of the CCCC at the February 24th dedication service. “It’s the miracle on Pleasant Street,” said Dr. Heikkila. “I believe that this church will explode with fruitful ministry in the months to come. This is an answer to many prayers.” Long time parishioners Claude Bourgeois and Walter Mikas agreed. “… a wonderful opportunity for both the church and the community. A beautiful building is preserved as a church, and the church has a great opportunity to grow and serve more people,” added area Pastor David Tralongo.
The church began in 1894 and has been at 15 Mission Street in Gardner since 1914. Nicknamed the “little church around the corner,” Pastor Bodanza said that the church has come to be known as a church with a big heart. Pastor Bodanza observes, “The people of this church are a very friendly, down to earth group of people who want to serve Jesus Christ together. I am thankful for what God has done and excited about what God will do in us and through us as we grow and seek to be faithful to him.”
The CCCC Cornerstone Corps assisted in the purchase of the sound and AV system for the new facility. This will help the church to maximize the use of its new facility. The church has been a member of the CCCC since 1970.