In their 40-plus years as members of Trinity Church, Nancy and Rick Noda have watched their children get baptized and married in the church.
On Sunday, the Papillion couple took part in a type of christening ceremony for Trinity’s new location, near 90th Street and Nebraska Highway 370.
More than 150 parishioners made the short pilgrimage by vehicle to the brand-new building after the final service at the Family Life Center and brought a wooden cross from old sanctuary to new sanctuary. They formed a long line in the parking lot outside the new building and passed the cross to one another to reach the church’s blue glass front doors, adorned with a large white cross above.
“It’s really symbolic,” Nancy Noda said.
Rick Noda added that the church is highly visible on a hill, which he hopes can bring in new members.
“It gives us a sense of location, where we can be part of the church’s outreach,” he said.
The new building is the culmination of 25 years of church growth, said the Rev. Erik Boye. Church leaders determined that the Family Life Center site, at 520 W. Lincoln St., wasn’t large enough for their plans, even with renovation, and decided to purchase land from the Archdiocese of Omaha several years ago.
At the end of the final service, Boye told his masked parishioners that they can look forward to the joy the new facility will bring.
“Remember what God has done here,” he said. “We go from this place with gratitude in our hearts.”
One member remarked that it was the largest church attendance since the pandemic began almost a year ago.
Immanuel, which owns the next-door senior living facility, has purchased the Family Life Center and the land, Boye said.
Boye said the cross has been with the church since it was at its previous building on West Halleck Street. It was positioned behind the sanctuary on the wall and “was a constant reminder to the congregation of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Church leaders planned to deliver the cross from one place to another on foot — like an Olympic torch passing. But after the slight snowfall Saturday, they decided to have a slow motorcade procession instead, with the cross displayed in the back of a pickup truck.
Services will now be held at the new church, which has 400 seats in the sanctuary, plus an additional 120 in the nearby chapel.
Alex Strehle, 21, who has been with the church for six years, said it’s great to see the finished project.
“Now it’s come to fruition,” he said. “It’s been really cool to see.”