Alabaster Church of the Highlands holds first services at new campus

Published 10:29 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – The Alabaster congregation of the Church of the Highlands gathered with newcomers and visitors alike as they held their first services at their newly completed church campus on Sunday, Aug. 27.

The new campus, located at 8495 Highway 119 in Alabaster, now allows the church to move away from their status as a mobile campus, which is a welcome change following the past eight-and-a-half years of setting up and taking down for each and every service day at Thompson Middle School.

“Portable was fun, but permanency—it means exactly that,” said Lee Martinez, the Alabaster campus pastor. “It goes well beyond our time spent here, this is our home and this is our community. These are our families, and we’re here to serve. I love that the permanent facility allows us to do exactly that. It’s to set up permanency and to set that example in the community and in the families.”

The new campus featuring an auditorium with 850 seats for adults, was filled seemingly to capacity with many standing in the back during the 8 a.m. service, and carts were run throughout the parking lot to accommodate and transport churchgoers as they arrived.

“We hope when you walk in to this place that you have an encounter with a God that loves you so very much,” Martinez said. “That is our hope and our prayer.”

The newly opened campus features not only the auditorium, but also contains appropriately sized restrooms, a kids facility intended for children who are infants and up through elementary ages, a mother’s room and a meeting room which will aid in hosting small groups services.

“We’re so thankful,” said Kaitlyn Williamson, kids director at the Alabaster campus. “We have this resource, and it’s just only going to continue to open up more doors of opportunity for God to move.”

The first service held at the new location was one surrounding the Book of Daniel, and the Book of Revelations and also incorporated how each and every churchgoer should strive to bring as many people to faith and God as possible in the time that they have remaining. Prior to its start, Church of the Highlands Pastor Chris Hodges also spoke out to all the congregations listening to personally acknowledge the importance the Sunday had for the Alabaster campus.

“Let me just say congratulations,” Hodges said. “We normally don’t take that long to get our campuses in a facility, but it is paid for, (it is) debt free. God bless you guys (the congregation). Thank you for your generosity so that could happen. We’ve got to give a big shout out to our campus pastor there, the whole campus team, to the Dream Team. I want to say a big shout out to the set up and take down team.”

Hodges went on to thank the mayor of Alabaster for the support that has been shown to the church, as well as directly thanking Alabaster City Schools for their allowing the Church of the Highlands to use the facilities at TMS over the past years.

As with all of the services at the Church of the Highlands, members of the congregations want newcomers and visitors to know that they are welcome and are considered family.

“Alabaster is special for a lot of reasons,” Martinez said. “What I think is so special about it is the close-knit community that it is, that it thrives in. It’s this family environment that’s created within the community, but within the church it also exists.”

Normal church services are held every Sunday at 8, 9:45, and 11:30 a.m., with a special service also held every first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Saturday morning prayer is also held weekly at 9 a.m.