Feel the light.
When you walk into the new home of Reformation Lutheran Church now located at 601 Madison Road it’s like stepping inside a new car or freshly painted room. The space is open, airy and so light filled.
Whether in the entryway, the sanctuary, the conference room, chapel or nursery, light floods in from the windows. If there are shadows, they are warm ones.
He comes around the corner beaming his own aura, his steps have a spring to them and his walk seems a swagger.
Pastor Brad Hales is giddy these days. Arriving some 12 years ago to accept a call in Culpeper, he has seen the congregation grow from 32 in a week to numbers soaring to several hundred. For this man of faith, it has little to do with him and more to do with the God he serves but it’s hard to deny his personal energy, enthusiasm and contagious personality.
Hales recounts the early history of the church when in 1983 a small group of people wandered from homes to the old Holiday Inn finally settling in the old Clore Funeral Home on Main Street.
Now, culminating a vision that started three years ago, the congregation is in their own permanent structure.
“The church can be renewed,” said Hales, “look what can happen when you focus on God’s word…it’s a powerful story what Jesus can do.”
While some might see it as a challenge to bring a building to life, Pastor Hales basks in his blessings. “The people are hungry for the word of God…Culpeper is a wonderful community that is open to many faiths…I love it here.”
The congregation at Reformation Lutheran Church represents a range of ages from young families to seniors.
The Place, a space for seniors to drop by for coffee, conversation and connecting, continues in the new location offering ample space for weekly gatherings of the prayer shawl, a group that gets together for knitting and crocheting and sewing quilts for nonprofits like SAFE.
“Imagine, these were donated,” said Hales opening the door to their conference room with a long table and boardroom style chairs. “We enjoy having staff meetings here but it’s open for people to use.”
A nursery is also used for preschool classes and has its own bathroom eliminating the need for treks in the hallways and adding to security.
A chapel/library room affords more quiet space. Grooms and brides rooms are available for weddings.
Accommodating upwards of 170 people, their fellowship hall has a full kitchen in the works.
“I see future mission work here,” smiles Hales. “We’ll be able to do some serious cooking in here when it is finished.”
As Pastor Hales proudly shows off the new rooms and added spaces for the congregation he settles in the sanctuary which truly is that. While it can seat up to 200, it is a reflective area. Pull down screens are available and the room is enhanced with a good audio/visual system.
The altar is elegant in its simplicity and functionality. The ambiance welcoming.
Pastor Hales gets up and turns off the main lights. The light around the cross remains casting a soft glow.
“I find that so beautiful,” muses Hales, “the way the light hits the cross…looks like an angel.”
It will be 23 years in June when Pastor Brad Hales celebrates his ministry. For him, the call came early. “I knew at a very young age that this is what I would be doing.”
For him, he has found his best pastoral experience to be here in Culpeper. In addition to Pastor Hales, the church has a part-time secretary, part-time church administrator, part-time youth director and part-time musician.
Growing pains are coming easy for Pastor Hales.
“It’s a really beautiful and functional space,” said Hales, “so full of natural light.”
“We’ve gone from roughly 8,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet,” said Hales, “and it is all testament to the power of Jesus Christ.”
A ribbon cutting is scheduled for Friday, April 29, at 2 p.m. followed by a formal dedication Sunday, May 7, at 10 a.m.
For information about Reformation Lutheran Church, call Pastor Brad at 540-825-1376 or email PastorHales@hotmail.com
Anita Sherman is the editor of the Culpeper Times. You can reach her at email@example.com