Faith in Numbers: Maranatha Fellowship Church Expanding

By: Will Jones
By: Will Jones

It's not unusual for a church to add on to keep up with its growing needs, but Maranatha Fellowship in St. Albans is going through an extreme makeover. The church has grown a great deal since it first started in 1976, and now, it attracts more than 1,600 people each Sunday.

The Maranatha Fellowship Church's population rivals a small town. It has more than 1,600 members.

It's one of the biggest churches in West Virginia. In fact, it’s so big, the church has a security team and a book store. It has shuttles to transport people from its several off-campus parking lots to the church.

The Maranatha Fellowship Church started in the living room of a Dunbar home in 1976 with 100 members. Today, the church's location in St. Albans may soon be too small for its growing congregation.

Associate Pastor Jamie Wright credits the church's growth to what it has to offer.

“We do that by using a Wal-Mart, if you will, mentality,” said Wright. “We offer everything we can under one roof, and we got children services, youth services, and a nursery.”

The church also has a control room, camera operators, and the Sunday service is broadcast on the internet.

“Some of the people right now that are sick, they had to work last night, that couldn't make it to the service, so they're watching us,” said Wright. “We also have other states in the country watching us right now."

For some a church of this size could be intimidating, but its members say the church doesn't feel that big.

It takes $47,000 dollars each week to run the church, and that number is growing. The church broke ground on Saturday for a new 20,000 square foot family life center. The center will have some new additions as well, including a full-size basketball court and a track.

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