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Real Life Church opens community center

Newhall center, called ‘Savia,’ also houses three local non-profit groups

Posted: May 10, 2013 11:02 p.m.
Updated: May 10, 2013 11:02 p.m.

The exterior of the new Savia Community Center located on Newhall Avenue. The community center is a partnership between Real Life Church, A Light of Hope, Single Mother's Outreach and Domestic Violence Center.

 

Real Life Church has opened “Savia,” a 23,600 square foot community center in Newhall, Real Life Church spent more than a year finishing the interior of a vacant building in the Stagecoach Plaza retail center on Newhall Avenue that was originally slated for a grocery store.

It held the first series of services May 5 – two English-speaking and one Spanish-speaking service in the 185-seat auditorium, said Maddy Dowler, communications manager with Real Life Church.

But this church is more than a place to worship. It houses three non-profit organizations and the architect-builder of the project, Focus Buildings.

“A Light of Hope, Single Mothers Outreach, and the Domestic Violence Center are now tenants in the building, with lower rent than what they would be paying elsewhere,” Dowler said. “We’re basically the landlords.”

As the new structure was being built out, it was designed with the non-profits in mind and they helped in the design based on their needs, she said.

Real Life Church has been in the planning phase for the project since last summer, Dowler said. But it began raising funds in January 2012.

With every dollar the church receives in tithes, it gives 10 percent back to a cause, she said. The church was already providing support to the three non-profit organizations monthly but decided to support them with space as well and help them with lower rents.

Real Life Church has an income too, Dowler said. It believes in tithing its income as well.

“The church members all erupted in applause when the center was proposed,” she said. “They were so excited about making a change in their own community.”

Open five days a week, the center also houses Artisan Java and Juice — a coffee, tea and juice bar in the center which benefits the community as well.

“We give 100 percent of our profit away to a local charity that is doing good in our community,” said Lori Knight, general manager.

Translated, Savia means energy, vitality or lifeblood of a tree. In the spirit of Savia, a two-story wooden tree sculpture – the creation of SCV artist and Hollywood set designer Shane Hammond - has been installed in the lobby of the building.  

And local arts group, Nomad Lab, is working with some 35 Newhall neighborhood children on an installation that will cover one of the main walls in the lobby, Dowler said.

The center also has a Wi-Fi work lounge, classrooms and conference rooms available for community use throughout the week, she said. Or the kids can just drop by to do their homework, she said.

The church hopes to infuse the same attributes in the name Savia into the local community and is excited to see how the center will be used to serve Santa Clarita, said Real Life Senior Pastor Randy George.

“We felt God was opening this door for us and we needed to walk through it,” George said. “Real Life Church is thrilled to be able to open a community partnership down in the heart of Newhall. We decided, if we are out of space in Valencia then let’s go somewhere else and create space. Our mission is to help people find and follow God. There’s no cap on that,” George said.

Real Life member Jim Marshall attended last week’s services.

“It’s exciting to be a part of this new outreach, to be a blessing to the Spanish speaking community and to help them grow,” Marshall said.

There is an open house, free to the public, Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 23780 Newhall Avenue, Dowler said.

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