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Connection Center cuts ribbon
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The New Life Connection Center on Congress Boulevard boasts classrooms, exercise rooms, an auditorium, coffee shop, full-service kitchen, formal dining room and a full-size gymnasium. - photo by Photo by Reed Vanderpool
New Life Pentecostal Church on Congress Boulevard on Smithville held an open house for their New Life Connection Center Saturday, revealing an impressive facility.The center, located in the old Pamida building, boasts several classrooms, exercise rooms, an auditorium, coffee shop, full-service kitchen, formal dining room and a full-size gymnasium.The center has a day-care operation up and running, and members hope to have a fully operational school facility eventually.The church took possession of the property and 36,000 square-foot building in August 2011, and immediately set to work finding ways to use the facility.On Oct. 31 of that year the first event at the new facility, a Fall Harvest Fest, was held in the parking lot. The festival, an alternative to Halloween, boasted games, food, trunk or treating, a bounce house, a kiddie train, silly action songs, and a candy rain.When the event was held at the church building in 2010, around 300 people attended.Though the event committee anticipated more participation for the 2011 event, and added more candy to the coffers, the sweets ran out 15 minutes after the gates opened at 6 p.m., making several trips to restock necessary.Around 600 people, both young and old, turned out for the 2011 event, and attendance rose to more than 700 children alone in 2012.Organizers were prepared for the 2012 festival with plenty of candy on hand.Refuge student ministries and “Rooted” college and career classes operated a Walk of Destiny, a 30-minute walk through reality house that opened the week before harvest Fest, and continued through the night of the event.More than 1,500 people attended Harvest Fest and Walk of Destiny last year.New Life Connection Center is used in many different ways to connect with the community.In the Kids Connection early learning center children from 12 months-five years are taught and cared for.The daycare has the ability to care for up to 99 children with four teaching classrooms, an administrative office and teacher resource room.The main portion of the building has a large commercial kitchen, dining area, nine ministry classrooms, a 130-seat student auditorium, student lounge, gymnasium, men's and women's exercise rooms, and a place reserved for a future christian bookstore and coffee shop with wi-fi. The shop will be open to the public to visit, purchase books and cds, and enjoy coffee or other refreshments.

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