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Charlottesville Church Opens Doors to Downtown Campus - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Church Opens Doors to Downtown Campus

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A Charlottesville church opened the doors to a brand new campus downtown Sunday morning. Hundreds came out to celebrate the grand opening of Portico Church - now located in the heart of the city.

Over the past few months, Portico Church leaders have been moving into the space that previously belonged to Play On! Theatre. They say the central location of this expansion downtown will help them with their mission.

"It's an increase in space, increase in parking, and an increased opportunity for us to be on mission in this community," said Matthew Murphy, the downtown campus lead pastor.

Portico Church welcomed a congregation of all ages into its new, larger location in downtown Charlottesville - with some sweet treats and a spirited service.

"We're a church that loves our God, loves our savior, loves his word and loves the city that we're in and so we're going to minister to people in any way they need it, as best we can," said Justin Conger, the ministry leadership pastor.

Church leaders signed a 10-year lease for their campus at the IX Building along Second Street Southeast.

"We put a stake in the ground saying we are here to be part of the city. We are here for the next decade to minister to the UVA community, to the downtown community - 6th Street, Friendship Court, Belmont," Conger said.

The facility features upgrades including an auditorium that seats about 500 people and a children's area that is triple in size from Portico's previous location.

"Our facilities also allow us to do a little bit more in way of mission, so with expanded space, expanded facilities, we can really reach into the community and we want to be a center," Murphy said.

It's an expansion the church wants to use to continue spreading their message.

"People are loving the new hype about a new facility, but we really don't want to major in the facility.  This is just a building. We're a people, we're a body - so we're a bunch of people here to love," Conger said.  

This new facility comes just nine months after their north campus was launched in Albemarle County. The church is looking to open a third location in the next 12 to 18 months.

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