Dumfries Leaders Allow Church to Worship in Commercial Building
– February 4, 2014 8:30 pm
A church congregation will move from Stafford County to Dumfries, and it will worship inside of a commercial building.
The Dumfries Town Council approved a conditional use permit, or CUP, for the Grass Roots Christian Fellowship church who will become the newest tenant of the Elwey Center building on U.S. 1. The special permit was required because, prior to the Council’s vote, the building was zoned for business use only.
“We started in Stafford, and when we expanded we started to look in for new places to worship in Stafford and doors kept shutting and, so I began to pray, and while looking for a new place kept driving to Dumfries and I felt like this is the place where we are supposed to be,” said Pastor Herschel Chenault.
Supporters of the church packed the town’s Council Chambers Tuesday night prior to the vote leaving standing room only. There, church officials were met with questions from town officials as well as business owners whom didn’t support the issuance of a special permit to the church.
“I’m not a fan of CUPs, either you conform or you don’t,” said Councilman William Brewer.
Additionally, building tenant Caldwell Consultants cited security concerns. They feared a building that was unlocked afterhours could pose a threat for their employees who regularly work after 5 p.m.
“I’m hearing this and its not making sense to me… we’re not talking about an organization that sells crack, we’re talking about a group of people who will be worshipping god here,” said Councilwoman Helen Reynolds.
Other members of the Council welcomed the church to Dumfries, and said they liked a plan from Chenault who said his church would partner with community service organizations like ACTS to help town residents in need.
“Thank you for considering Dumfries, for as small as we are, and just driving by it, sometimes you can miss this place, and it’s great that you are going to bring people here from Stafford and Fredericksburg,” said Councilman Derrick Wood.
The church is made up of about 60 members in their congregation and currently meets at a hotel off Garrisonville Road in North Stafford. When they move to their new 4,300 square feet space in the Elwey Center, Grass Roots Christian Fellowship will join 14 other churches that call the town home.