Maze Boulevard Christian Church began in 1956, a satellite of the First Christian Church in Modesto. Over the years, the church added two more buildings; in 1994, it used land behind the church to build affordable senior housing.
At its height, the church had about 300 members. But a few years ago, as in many mainline churches, there was a split over theological issues. Many people left, and the Rev. Ed Miller, who has pastored the church for the past seven years, found himself with a flock of about 25 evangelical believers.
"We were thinking about closing the church," he said. "It's a congregation that's up in years, for the most part. But they decided they wanted to keep the fellowship together. Some of these people have been together 50 to 60 years or longer. They have a wonderful, loving relationship with one another. I've been a pastor for 42 years; I've never seen a congregation that's so loving."
Finding a smaller location and selling their large property made sense, just as purchasing the property was a good move for the growing St. James Orthodox Church. It was a win-win solution.
Miller and the rest of the congregation began a new church, New Covenant Church. They meet on Coffee Road in the office space once used by Visiting Nurses. The space has been empty for about two years.
"It's really fantastic. It's great," Miller said. "We remodeled when we came over here. We have a large space that we use as our sanctuary. We really like it here."
New Covenant Church, 1905 Coffee Road, Suite 6, is on the northwest corner of Norwegian and Coffee avenues. The church has a 10:30 a.m. Sunday service and a 6:30 p.m. Wednesday Bible study. For more information, call 524-7543.