STILLMAN VALLEY – The Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley has broken ground for a new 7,000 square foot multi-purpose building at an estimated cost of $1.5 million. T
he building will feature a large open space as well as a kitchen and classrooms.
“Prior to the pandemic, our children’s ministry in particular was bursting at the seams,” said lead pastor Rev. Dr. Chris Brauns. “In recent years it is not uncommon for our Vacation Bible School or AWANA programs to serve more than one hundred children at a time. And we simply don’t have the space in our basement for that much energy. The new space will give us the opportunity to share the good news of Christ with more people of all ages.”
“The ‘pandemic pause’ has made us more aware than ever that we live in a broken world and people are tired and weighed down by the demands of life,” he said. “We can’t wait to be in this new space and to be able to share Christ’s words: ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is heavy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).’ I am privileged to serve at a church where so many people are motivated to share in the adventure of telling others about Christ.”
In addition to adding space, improved accessibility was also a major goal.
“Though we already added a ramp onto our church, our original building is above grade and we are limited in how much we can do to make it accessible. The new building will be entirely accessible,” Brauns said.
A conservative financial approach was a central priority.
“We have known for a number of years that we need additional ministry space,” Brauns said. “But it is important to our congregation that we incur minimal long-term debt. We did not conduct a capital campaign until we had paid off the debt for the additional houses purchased for the building site. In the capital campaign, our congregation pledged $1.55 million dollars over a three-year period, the approximate price of the new construction. One year into our campaign, we are thankful to have received 60 percent of our pledges.”
The Red Brick Church worked with Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects (Rockford) to design the new space.
“Our architects did a beautiful job designing a facility that fits with our existing building,” he said. “Even though the buildings will not be connected, it was important for us for the new structure to aesthetically fit with our existing building.”
Brooke Adams, Brad Baker, Pastor Chris Brauns, Terri Carby, Clyde Gelderloos, Dan Houston, Matt Rhodes, and Randy Stukenberg all served on the Master Plan Committee.
Brad Baker and Dan Houston co-chaired the Brick by Brick Capital Campaign. Rebekah Anderson, Jamie Brauns, Deb Bonne, Phil Guske, Clayton Midtsem, and Tom Stahl also served in leadership roles.
An independent evangelical church, The Red Brick Church (theredbrickchurch.org) is one of the most historic churches in Ogle County. The church was officially formed May 5, 1858. The main building was constructed in 1892. An addition was constructed on the west side of the original building in 1958. In 2008 the church moved offices out of the original building into the house that had functioned as the church parsonage. Pastor Chris Brauns has served as the lead pastor since 2005. Pastor David Bogner began as associate pastor in the spring of this year.
Schmeling Construction is the general contractor for the project. The goal is for the facility to be completed in January of 2021.