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They know who to call to refashion a roller rink into a place of worship

ERIE, Pa. (BP)–Almost every night of the week the sounds of laughter, loud music and hard wheels slapping concrete wash over the Skateway Roller Rink in Erie, Pa.
On Sundays, however, the sounds are quite different: a pastor preaching a sermon, a congregation singing hymns and children giggling in classrooms.
Lake Pointe Community Church has held services in the community skating rink more than a year. As pastor Howard McNamara notes, it has been challenging to make the metamorphosis from a 10,000-square-foot rink to “church” every Sunday.
But he does it with lighting, staging equipment and furnishings purchased from LifeWay Christian Stores’ church supplies representatives.
“We perform a unique service,” says Bruce Baber, LifeWay’s supervisor of church sales. “It’s with confidence that we can say no store or catalog company in America provides more variety and product knowledge when it comes to furnishing and equipping churches.”
Lake Pointe’s Southern Baptist church staff arrives on Sundays at daybreak to set up chairs, a portable stage, overhead projector and screen, 36 lighting fixtures and children’s furnishings in the rink’s “birthday party” side rooms.
Auditorium seating for the 200-member church is roped off by a curtain strung across the length of the rink, and a spotlight focuses attention on the stage activity. Benches circling the oval rink provide seating for group gatherings.
“On days we want to celebrate something really special, we use the sparkling disco ball,” McNamara joked.
The church targets some 70,000 unchurched residents in the northeast Pennsylvania region, said McNamara, who sees occasional use of the rotating disco ball and brunch worship services as methods to attract visitors.
Although LifeWay doesn’t supply disco balls, it will provide Lake Pointe with furnishings and equipment for its planned 11,600-square-foot multipurpose building.
The building, to be located on property near the skating rink, will house a full-size basketball court, volleyball court, classrooms, offices and storage rooms. Ball fields on the outer edge of the 17-acre grounds should attract sports enthusiasts and provide space for day camp recreation.
“We want to get as many hooks in the water as possible,” McNamara said, referring to future plans for the growing church.
LifeWay’s church sales area has the same fishing technique when it comes to vendors.
Sales representatives undergo weekly training from more than 70 multiple product vendors on items churches might need inside and out — from steeples to playground equipment, pews to pulpits and cribs to baptisteries. More than 40,000 churches of various denominations have used the department’s services.
“There’s a lot of detail involved,” Baber added. “From time to time, we will even visit the factories on site to ensure the products we sell are not just well made, but right for our market.”
Those extra details include working with city codes when attaching signs or steeples, working with building contractors and getting manufacturers’ input on unique orders. Recently, a manufacturer provided custom-made round sheets for a nursery when the usual order couldn’t be filled.
“We’re very happy with LifeWay,” McNamara said. “They’re very missions-minded and we appreciate that.”
Baber added, “If it can go in, on or outside a church building, we more than likely have it. We are adding to our lineup monthly to keep up with demand.”
Churches can access LifeWay Christian Stores on the Internet at lifewaystores.com or by phone at 1-800-622-8610 for orders or a 100-page catalog of church supplies.

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  • Sharon Harper