‘God’s really been good’
Church buys, moves into former Wells bank building
WELLS — At first, it seemed like an odd fit for a church to be in an old bank, but after some encouragement, Brynn Harms, pastor at Wells Assembly of God, decided to check out the former Paragon Bank.
The building had been sold to the city of Wells after the bank was acquired by Peoples State Bank in 2016.
Harms said after looking at the space, the church decided to make an offer on the property, and after numerous renovations, the church opened at the building on South Broadway in November.
“We’re really excited about what we’re doing,” Harms said. “I think God’s really been good to us. He’s opened a lot of doors.”
The space has been transformed from small offices and teller stations you’d find in a bank into a large sanctuary, social space and kitchen on the main level and a nursery and youth classrooms and gathering space in the basement.
After the renovations, only a few pieces remain on the interior that are reminiscent of the building’s earlier use — such as the bank’s safe that has been turned into the church office. Even the area of the former drive-thru window is being turned into a kitchenette for when the church has coffee and rolls before church.
Harms, who has been with the church for six years, said the church did not have to borrow any money for the purchase or the renovations, and now with 5,500 square feet upstairs and downstairs, it has at least double the space it had at its old location.
He said everything with the project seemed to fall into place, noting the church never could have bought a new space debt-free without this opportunity.
The sanctuary can fit over 200 people, and Harms said the church currently averages about 90 people in attendance — up from the about 50 people who used to attend weekly when he first started.
Though much has been done already on the building, he said eventually there are also plans to expand the front of the building and add an elevator.
The old church building, a few blocks down Broadway, was sold to Mary Foley, owner of Auntie M’s, who plans to open a day care in the space.
The church still owns the parsonage.