New digs for Northwoods church: Bemidji church relocates to renovated 100-year-old building downtown
BEMIDJI--A church congregation that started in a rented room at Beltrami Electric Cooperative is settling into its new home in downtown Bemidji. Northwoods Baptist Church, which originally opened in 2012, is relocating to 216 Beltrami Ave. after ...
BEMIDJI-A church congregation that started in a rented room at Beltrami Electric Cooperative is settling into its new home in downtown Bemidji.
Northwoods Baptist Church, which originally opened in 2012, is relocating to 216 Beltrami Ave. after months of looking for a new building.
The church started after the Rev. Preston Hoiseth, who grew up in Crookston, graduated from Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City and served at a church near Tampa, Fla., for about five years.
"After some time, the Lord began stirring our hearts to go back toward our roots," Hoiseth said. "We had relatives in the Bemidji area, and it's always been a place near and dear to my heart."
After moving back to Minnesota, Hoiseth and his family rented out the community room at Beltrami Electric Cooperative for Northwoods Baptist Church and the congregation was able to meet and grow there for a few years.
"Starting out, Beltrami Electric Cooperative had everything we needed, the seating, the podium and sound, it was ideal. But we had to set everything up every Sunday morning and tear it all down every Sunday night," Hoiseth said. "It was always part of our plan to get a place of our own. I think we all knew that it wasn't sustainable in the long run to just rent that space forever."
Hoiseth said last fall was the point where the church needed to make a move. The congregation kept its eyes open for a vacant church building, however, that plan wasn't working and the church didn't have the funds to build a new facility.
"That's when we started to shift gears and began looking at renovating an existing building," Hoiseth said. "When we took that step, we had a donation come within the congregation for $50,000 and we received a grant from Jehovah-Jireh Ministries, which helps new churches get into a building."
Northwoods Baptist eventually bought the building on Beltrami Avenue in May, which had been unoccupied for about a year. Despite being an office building, the facility fit the needs of the church in terms of space. After renovations, Hoiseth said the building now has a sanctuary, nursery and classrooms and offices on the second floor.
"The renovations were about making it suitable for the church services," Hoiseth said. "Structurally, it's been kept up well through the years. We found out there were a lot of things we could do, but not a lot of things we had to do and that was very appealing."
The building now home to Northwoods Baptist dates back more than 100 years. According to Hoiseth, who did some research on the facility, the building was constructed in 1913 and has served multiple purposes from having county offices on the second floor and a saloon on the ground level to a dentistry business.
"It was originally only built back about 25 feet and everything back was put in with a later addition," Hoiseth said. "There's quite a bit in the records about the construction of it."
The century-old building will likely be a home for years to come for Northwoods Baptist, too, as the space will allow for future expansion.
"The core of what we do is preach and teach the Bible and this facility works really well for that," Hoiseth said. "As we grow, we're going to continue adding in more classes for teens and seniors. What's nice is that we have that room available upstairs to facilitate that growth."
To celebrate the new church location, Hoiseth said a service will be held there at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 30 followed by a lunch. During that time, people will have a chance to look around and see the renovations in the building.