Megachurch Holds First Service In New Sanctuary

Skyline Church Held First Service In New 60,000-Square-Foot, $12M Sanctuary

An East County megachurch held its first service in its new 60,000-square-foot sanctuary on Sunday.

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The new sanctuary is located at Skyline Church in Rancho San Diego.

Church officials said the sanctuary started with just 350 seats and has grown to 2,000. All seats were taken on Sunday and many were eager to hear from the nationally-known senior pastor Jim Garlow.

"It's extremely exciting for us," said Jim Garlow, the senior pastor of Skyline Church. "We waited a long time."

As well as a new sanctuary, the addition includes a 300-seat room, a 200-seat traditional chapel, a prayer wall and a fountain. The project cost $12 million to build and was nearly three decades in the making.

"We've been working on this for so many years," said Janene Kraft, the building designer. "You'll see people in there just weeping because it is really truly a day of dreams come true."

Kraft said the sanctuary is meant to invite people of all ages to come and stay as long as they would like.

"We took a traditional faith and we put it in a very relevant, today atmosphere," she said.

Stained glass is suspended from the ceiling and bricks are displayed from a chapel built in the 1700's.

"Everything that we have done represents a different person, a different voice," said Kraft.

Garlow said one voice stands above the rest.

"This church honors the word of God," he said. "I honor the word of God. I didn't write it. He did and He's made very crystal clear in the world of God what the definition of marriage is: one man, one woman."

That word has been a controversial one, but Garlow stands behind it.

A recent field poll shows a shift in California voters: 59 percent are said to approve of same-sex marriage and 34 percent do not.

"The word of God hasn't changed, so if He changes his mind then I'll change mine," said Garlow. "In the meantime, it's safer to stand with Him than the tide of public opinion that goes back and forth."

Garlow made it clear that Skyline Church welcomes everyone regardless of their race, faith or sexual orientation.

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