The Oasis of Life Christian Church is getting a new home.
Pastor Jack Chamis made a presentation to the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday to explain the rationale for his church's special permit application to move from their current meeting place in the conference room of Porter and Chester Institute. The new space is a 4,400-square-foot storefront in Cold Spring Plaza that Chamis said will allow his congregation to hold small group Bible studies and other meetings and events, as well as accommodate the growth in attendance he anticipates in the years ahead.
Oasis of Life members packed the public seats in the council chamber to support their minister's effort. One man, who called himself a new Christian, testified that the difference he found in Oasis of Life from other churches is that "they practice what they preach."
Parishioners were not the only ones to deliver that message to the commission. Commissioners read aloud a pair of letters that had been submitted on the church's behalf, one from Chamber of Commerce president Eric Valliere and one from the town's Human Services Director, Mark Williams. Mr. Valliere and Mr. Williams emphasized the good works that Chamis and his flock perform in Rocky Hill, particularly their efforts with the Foodshare program.
Craig Saunders, owner of Cold Spring Plaza, also spoke in support of the church's desired relocation. Saunders called Oasis of Life "a great asset to the town."
After Chamis satisfied the concerns commissioners raised about increased traffic and parking in the plaza and fire code compliance inside the facility, the board unanimously approved the application. Church members stood in exultation and applauded once the vote was taken.
The commission still had multiple items on the agenda when the motion-to-approve took place, but it had to acquiesce to reality and call a rare recess after the motion carried. Engaging in a universal traditional among church-folk, many Oasis members tarried and fellowshipped with one another on their way to the room's exit. The board did not resume its session for a full 15 minutes.
The Oasis of Life Church will be moving to Cold Spring Plaza, 945 Cromwell Avenue. Until then, they will continue to meet at Porter and Chester Institute, 30 Waterchase Drive. Sunday service is held from 9:30 - 11:00 AM.