It was a picture perfect day. The sun glowing in a blue sky dotted with white popcorn clouds, a refreshing breeze and rolling acres of green surrounded by woodland. A day that was fourteen years in the making. The occasion was the groundbreaking ceremony of the Far West End church at their new property in Rockville, Va. Actual earth moving began one week later.
The church began in 2003 with a small group meeting in the home of Chris and Shuganti Caradonna. “As we grew, our meeting places were moved from their home to a hotel to various schools, a Presbyterian church facility and, lastly, to a community church building,” explains Junnie Pagunsan, pastor. “During those years of growth, we hauled tables, children’s chairs, teaching and audio equipment from our homes to our meeting place, always longing for the time when we would have our own church building.”
The search for property culminated in a chance meeting on a country road. “A gentleman was getting his mail as members of our building committee were looking for land for sale nearby. A committee member approached him and asked about selling some of his acreage,” recalls Pagunsan. “At first he was reluctant, but after much prayer and several social visits to discuss their personal experiences with Christ, he agreed to sell.” As the congregation worked to secure that property, God lead them to safety through a wiring fraud, in which a large sum of money could have been lost.
The Far West End Church is made up of about thirty nationalities, so part of the ceremony involved a parade of flags carried by the church’s youth. Dave VanderVere, Vice President for Finance for the Potomac Conference, addressed the gathering and was joined by the church’s project manager, architect, the seller and several others to turn the earth with golden shovels.
The program included music by the youth and adult choirs and concluded with a light lunch and fellowship. Small glass bottles filled with earth from the property and bearing a tag with Exodus 25:8, Let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them, were given to attendees.
“These are to serve as reminders for us to pray over our efforts to share Christ within the community,” explained Pagunsan. “Names of people we wish to gather into the love of Christ and fellowship were written on wooden construction stakes and placed along the perimeter of the future site of the church building. Please join us as we pray that the Far West End Church will be a light for Christ and His Hands here on earth until His coming again.”
Completion of construction is anticipated for June of 2018. The church currently meets at 11801 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, VA 23059.