HANOVER TWP. – Closed two years ago as part of widespread consolidations within the Diocese of Scranton, the former St. Casimir Church has been given a new lease on life as a house of worship by the congregation of a Dallas Township church.
New Life Community Church recently purchased the St. Casimir property from the diocese, transferring its worship services from the Twin Stacks Center on Route 415 that it had called home the past three years.
Pastor Gideon Gaitano said the church completed the purchase of the roughly 3-acre St. Casimir property on Delaney Street in July. The $251,000 purchase price included the church, rectory and land.
The congregation had been searching for a new home since last year as it had begun to outgrow the Twin Stacks location. The church now has about 100 members. The former St. Casimir can hold 400 to 500 people.
"We wanted to move to an area where there is more opportunity for outreach," Gaitano said.
Gaitano said he's been impressed by the response of the community so far. Several former members of St. Casimir have stopped by to tell him the history of the church. One man offered to clear snow from the parking lot as he had done for years when the church was owned by the diocese. "We were talking with people in the community. When they learned another church had purchased it, they were so happy," he said.
Lea Bednarski of Lyndwood Avenue, another former parishioner, said she had been concerned about the building's future and was thrilled to learn the church would retain its religious foundation.
"We saw a picture of a church in Pittsburgh that was converted into a bar-and-grill. I almost died," Bednarski, 81, said. "This is making us much more comfortable."
New Life Community Church was founded 33 years ago. Prior to Twin Stacks Center, it was located in a barn in Franklin Township.
Gaitano said the church sold the Franklin Township property shortly after it was put up for sale, which greatly assisted in the purchase of St. Casimir.
"The first person who saw it purchased it. We see it as the hand of God opening the door for us," Gaitano said.
The church's message focuses on the Bible as being the word of God. Services are very festive and include a lot of music and singing, he said.
"We believe very strongly in the life-changing power of the Gospel. In this day and age when there is so much hurt and pain, the resurrection and love of Christ brings so much healing to hurting people," he said.
Gaitano said the church plans to introduce itself to the community with a corn roast on Sept. 16. It will begin offering worship services on Sept. 23.
New Life Community Church, 301 Delaney St., Hanover Township, will welcome the community with a corn roast starting at 5 p.m. on Sept. 16. The public is invited to enjoy roasted corn, hot dogs, hamburgers, refreshments and games. The church will open its worship services to the public starting Sept. 23.