The church, which is located at the intersection of Peerless Road and Raider Drive, has seen many changes over the years.
Prior to moving to its current location, the Church of God of Prophecy congregation met at locations on Wildwood and Central avenues dating back to 1924, when the denomination was first started.
Brian Sutton, lead pastor of Peerless Road Church, described the mortgage burning as an opportunity to mark a happy occasion. However, he said it would also be an opportunity to thank God for what the church has been able to do with divine help.
“The last thing I want to do is promote the church,” Sutton said. “I want to promote Jesus Christ and what he’s done.”
He described the church’s various ministries, including activities for children, youth and senior adults. The church also offers “Life Groups,” small group Bible studies with about 20 people meeting in members’ homes or at various locations on the church’s property.
Sutton said reaching out to the community was something he had been emphasizing many times lately.
“We feel like everyone needs to serve in some way,” Sutton said.
Other ministries include ministering to the North Lee neighborhood, which the church “adopted” by offering things like food and transportation to church for those in need of those things.
It also holds regular events like a back-to-school event in August, during which the church was able to give away free backpacks full of school supplies.
Still, Sutton said the building plays an important role in the goings-on of the church.
“Even now, we have a great need,” Sutton said. “Our current building is not big enough.”
Back in 2002, renovations to the church that added to the building’s classroom space were completed. However the number of people attending the church has swelled, making the space seem tighter than originally anticipated.
Today, the church has between 500 and 550 attendees on an average Sunday and up to 700 on special days like Easter, Sutton said.
He said the church has had an increasingly hard time finding space for all they want to do at the church.
The pastor said he and fellow church staff members are in the process of looking for modular buildings to provide extra space for children’s ministries.
While Sutton said he and the staff had been “praying over” which step to take next, he said he was not sure if adding another new addition to the building would work well for them.
“It would take so long to build,” Sutton said.
For now, he said the focus is on the possible modular buildings and possibly building a “serve center” in the North Lee area that would provide space for things like adult education classes and tutoring for children.
Sutton said all would depend on where the church believed God was leading them and what resources they would have at their disposal.
He stressed that building impressive buildings was not the church’s goal.
“We want to be the church that has left the building,” Sutton said.
The church’s special mortgage burning and homecoming service begins at 10 this morning.
The event will include visits by several former pastors, songs by a choir made up of “alumni” from throughout the years and a mortgage-burning ceremony that will involve people ranging in age from children to seniors.
With its current renovations, the building was dedicated on Sept. 29, 2002, and symbolic burning of the $1.5 million mortgage is set to take place exactly 11 years after that day.