January 16, 2013 - From an outsider's perspective, the old 72,000-square-foot warehouse at 4640 S. Lapeer Road in Orion Township appears to have been renovated into a concert and mini-convention center.
And for the past few Sundays about 4,500 people have jammed into the center's auditorium and surrounding areas inside the building to listen to a live band and watch video. But, what they also are receiving is a religious message.
The building is the new home of the Kensington Orion Church, a so-called mega-church, that is devoid of crosses, a steeple or even stained glass. But, the church delivers messages that obviously resonates with members who pack the 1,500 seat auditorium for three services each Sunday and for a mid-week service on Wednesday.
For the past four years members of the congregation have attended services at Lake Orion High School or Rochester Adams High School or at other locations of Kensington, in Troy, Clinton Township or Birmingham.
That was before the church members purchased the old warehouse for $1 million in 2012 and renovated it into a large and useful structure for church members and the community.
To say the church and its services are unconventional would be an understatement.
Inside the building is an outlet for Great Lakes Coffee which will also soon include a drive-up service by the end of January. The outlet is open to the public.
The church is led by Pastor Dave Wilson who entered the church's grand opening service recently by riding onto the stage on his Harley Davidson motorcycle as the church's band, including keyboards, electric guitars and percussion, played the rock band Journey's "Don't Stop Believin."
Even though its trappings might seem a little odd, Nancy Wurm, who is a co-director of the Orion campus, said the church's message is rooted in faith in God.
"Our mission is to help people who think God is irrelevant to become fully devoted followers of Jesus," she said.
Wilson's messages are peppered with modern views of faith and includes such things as a video message about finding God in unusual locations.
During services in the auditorium, there are separate areas for children where they can attend Sunday school to learn about God in a fun way.
The church's mission is furthered by its commitment to becoming a hub where people are trained to be advocates for God. Part of that plan is to provide assistance to families and to help others in the community.
The church provides programs for nearly every age group and need. There are marriage support groups, youth groups, programs for singles and programs to assist families in need.
Other offerings are expected to include Yoga, children's art programs and drama clubs.
Learn more about Kensington Church at KensingtonChurch.org or by calling 248-786-0600.
Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.