Dozens of members and supporters of the groundbreaking for the new Northside Institutional Church gathered at the same spot where the fire destroyed the church Jan. 25, 2009. This time they came together to celebrate the $2 million-plus project that will include a family life empowerment center, a venue that will assist the needs of the California-Kirkbride community and North Side.


“I feel excitement and renewal for this right now,” said Chris Thorpe, church administrator. “This transition has not been easy but the church has worked together with the community and politicians to make everything come together. One thing that we’ve also been able to do is develop partnerships around the community to make sure our plans unfold the way that we want them to.”


“I am excited about what is going to happen,” said William Scott, financial manager. “We would have liked to have made it earlier but the weather did not cooperate. It was interesting to learn the process of building a new structure from the ground up. There is a lot that goes into it.”

“It was a wonderful honor working on this project,” said  Susan Tusick, principle architect. “I was extremely happy to see the moment in which we finally broke ground. It has been a hard road, an emotional road, but everything is ready to go and that is great to see.”

The general church sanctuary will be replaced by the church’s insurance. However, the congregation is still seeking assistance for funding of the new FLEC community addition. The total size of the building plan for the FLEC is expected to be around 20,000 square feet. It will include a full-size gymnasium, training area and classrooms for workshops, seminars and a computer literacy center. A designated quarter for child care is also projected to be a part of the plan, according to the church’s official groundbreaking release.

In addition, the NSI leadership hopes to take on new job assistance initiatives, such as informational meetings for job skills development, finding educational scholarships and financial aid, as well as homeownership support. Other activities will include mentoring children of prisoners, basketball leagues, health and wellness classes, and family support services.

“It was a tremendous thing to see that everyone that has worked together on this project is a believer in God,” Thompson said. “It was a joy to prepare this as a place in which God’s work will be done.”

We prayed together and worshiped him together throughout the entire process. I am excited to see that this is finally happening.”

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