Church embraces Memorial Hall as Easter Sunday venue
Regulars and unfamiliar faces alike came to Memorial Hall for Impact Life Church’s Easter Sunday service. They came by foot, on bike and by car. They sang and raised their hands and introduced themselves to the new faces in the room at the non-traditional church venue, and it’s exactly how lead pastor Howie Nunnelly wanted it.
“Open the doors, throw the doors wide open for anybody who wants to come and doesn’t have a place to celebrate on resurrection Sunday. That’s kind of what we wanted to do,” Nunnelly said.
Impact typically worships in two separate services on Sunday mornings at their church building at 23rd and Annie Baxter in Joplin. But they wanted to be all in one place this year and reach out to those who do not belong to a church, noting that it is intimidating to begin.
“Well we really wanted to make a central location for anybody and everybody who wanted to come and celebrate the resurrection of our king. We figure, Memorial Hall, it’s a historic place so why not do it here,” Nunnelly said.
Michelle Phillips, a regular church-goer at Impact, greeted guests with goody bags, bibles and a smile.
“You don’t feel like you’re actually going straight to church, and it gives you a more comfortable, open feeling,” Phillips said.
Memorial Hall has played host to boxing matches, a ping pong tournament and a music festival. This church service was not a first of its kind, but definitely a rarity.
“This is kind of a heart location of Joplin, so it’s just awesome,” administrative pastor Treven Davenport said.
Just as the church had hoped, unfamiliar faces came.
“Also people we haven’t seen in a long, long long time that maybe have stepped away from going to church or organized religion, but they see this as a day to celebrate and we can all do it together and it’s also a chance for people to get plugged back in who might have been out for awhile,” Nunnelly said.
Several hundred were in attendance.