By JOHN FORTMEYER, CNNW publisher
CARLTON — At the invitation of its denominational state organization, a Newberg church is expanding with a second campus into this Yamhill County town 12 miles away, and hopes to have that new facility complete by early next year.
Family Life Church, an Assemblies of God congregation of between 400 and 500 in Newberg, aims to fill the gap created by the closure last year of the 64-year-old Carlton Assembly of God Church, which had struggled in its final years.
But while that small church encountered difficult times toward the end, leaders behind Family Life Carlton envision a vibrant new fellowship and are already forging ties with the community.
“We’re excited for that completion day to become a reality, and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Carlton community,” said Clint Reeves, an associate pastor at the Newberg church who will spearhead the new campus in Carlton. “The city motto is ‘A Great Little Town,’ and we believe it really is.”
Reeves said the Oregon Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God approached the Newberg church with the idea to step in and take on a second campus. The old Carlton church on Third Street near the local elementary school was demolished several months ago and initial work has begun on installation of utility lines for the new church.
According to Dave Benson, longtime lead pastor at the Newberg church, the Carlton property will transfer over to Family Life Church gradually over a five-year period, under the auspices of the Oregon Ministry Network. Reeves said the actual full cost of construction is hard to estimate at this point, because bids have not yet been called.
Reeves said the project is “one step at a time. Our hopes are to have the facility built as soon as possible, yet it is hard to put a date to that. We’re moving forward as we are able to do so, and trusting that God is leading this project and its timing. We would love to see late 2019 or early 2020 to have the campus completed, and believe that is a definite possibility, but want everything to be done well and completed correctly.”
Reeves and his wife, Kim, joined the Family Life Church staff in 2018. They previously have served twice as lead pastors elsewhere and also have done other ministry work in Oregon, Washington and Texas. Reeves atttended Eugene Bible College — now New Hope Christian College — in 2006 and he and his wife entered into vocational ministry in 2007.
Working already on being part of the community, Family Life recently donated $7,000 to Yamhill-Carlton Elementary School for resurfacing the school’s outdoor covered play area with a new colorful surface that will allow for new games and better safety. The money was raised through an annual Christmastime project at the Newberg church called The Big Give. In addition, Family Life has served in Carlton at the National Night Out event in August, the Carlton Crush Harvest Festival in September, and with an annual daylong church event called Serve the City, during which church members cleaned and worked in Carlton’s Upper Park.
“It’s been a great connection with city leaders and the community as a whole,” said Reeves.
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