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Taking on new life . . . Columba Church Management Committee treasurer Bob Avis (right) hands the keys to the church to new owners House of Breakthrough pastors Jacinda and Damien Goodsir. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

When House of Breakthrough pastor Damien Goodsir walked into Columba Church for the first time, he felt a whisper saying “you’re home”.

After a two-year search for a new place of worship, House of Breakthrough Church officially became the new owner of the 1883 Columba Church in Wansbeck St at 2.25pm on Friday.

A special handover service was held to mark the occasion at 4pm and Columba Church Management Committee treasurer Bob Avis handed Mr Goodsir the keys to the building.

“This will allow your church family to come in and continue to worship God, as has been the case since 1883,” Mr Avis said.

Mr Avis’ wife Pat gave the new owners a copy of a Bible which had been carried into Columba worship every Sunday.

“May the faith, hope and love it contains continue on through your worship family,” Mrs Avis said.

On behalf of House of Breakthrough Church, Mr Goodsir presented flowers to Mr and Mrs Avis, who have been involved with the church for the past 40 years. Mr Avis had been treasurer for nearly 30 of those.

“We’ve been on a journey as a church looking for a place to call our own and it’s been probably a couple of years that we’ve been seeking – we’ve knocked on many doors, we’ve persisted and pestered the council,” Mr Goodsir said.

“As soon as Bob showed me through the front doors, I felt a whisper saying ‘you’re home’.”

It was an emotional service for Mr and Mrs Avis, but they were pleased the building would continue to be used for its original purpose.

“Their form of worship is so different to ours .. but it’s all for the same purpose,” Mrs Avis said.

“One of our biggest worries, when we knew we were going to have to sell the church, was what would happen to the stained glass window. Now it can stay and it will be safe, so that’s just wonderful.”

Mr Goodsir said it was an “incredible” privilege to take over the heritage building and he welcomed the old congregation to attend House of Breakthrough services or visit any time.

“It’s still your church, because it’s God’s church – we’re just looking after it for the next wee while,” he said.

The move was driven by the needs of its congregation, as numbers continued to grow.

“We have sort of outgrown where we are. This is the perfect place for us for the next stage as a church.”

All of its activities, including its youth group programme, will be run from Columba.

The final service in House of Breakthrough’s original home in Severn St was held on Sunday and its first service at Columba will be this Sunday, April 7.