On Sunday, February 19, administration members from Indiana Conference, Indiana Academy, the Lake Union, as well as news organizations and community members gathered to celebrate the opening of Aboite Christian School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. [Photos by Felicia Tonga]
“This doesn’t happen very often,” says Carmelo Mercado, vice president of the Lake Union Conference and former pastor of the Fort Wayne Church. “It's been a while since a brand-new school was built from the ground up within the Lake Union territory. So, this is a huge deal and a very exciting one!"
Aboite Christian School (ACS) is supported by the Fort Wayne Church and sits on 20 acres on the west side of the city. The new 8,000 sq. ft. building consists of an office for administration, classrooms, a library, a chapel, and a gym. In addition, leaders wanted to ensure the safety of their students and staff by including a state-of-the-art security system.
The vision for this property does not just stop with the school. In the future, the campus will also house a church, a community center, and a wellness center. Emphasized throughout the ceremony was the need to impact their city for Jesus.
“This is a unique school,” said David DeRose, current pastor of the Fort Wayne Church. “Today, our country is increasingly diverse, and this school has representation across the spectrum ethnically. This allows children to see that they are indeed a part of God’s people, a worldwide church.”
“Twenty years ago, we had a vision," said Mac McAllister, who serves on the building committee, "It took seven years to find this property. We wanted land that would allow us to serve the community in a Christian way.”
Candice Hagar, chair of the building committee, thanked all involved parties saying, "What a dream! Last June, we had a groundbreaking ceremony. Then, in July, we began to dig and push dirt all over this property. Over the last seven months, we began building, and God carried us through every obstacle we faced."
Sharing in the special moment was Indiana Conference Education Superintendent Peter Cousins, who expressed his enthusiasm on behalf of his colleagues, "We are excited that Aboite Christian School will continue to be a beacon of light and hope to the community, a place where children can learn about Jesus through the hearts of our teachers and the curriculum."
As the ceremony ended, Aboite’s Principal, Gladys James, recognized the school board, church board, building committee, Indiana Conference, and Lake Union Conference for their endless effort to complete this project. Then, reiterating the school's mission, she ended by saying, "The school will help prepare students not just for this life but for life eternal by helping students understand the Christian values, fundamental beliefs, and ultimately the love of Jesus."
Felicia Tonga is assistant communication director of the Lake Union Conference.