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Journey Church/ U-Turn Closing Their Doors

Posted at: 04/08/2013 9:40 PM
Updated at: 04/08/2013 10:17 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) --  A Rochester church is shutting its doors, after serving the community for 10 years. Journey Church's last service was Sunday, but that's not all that's closing, so is U-Turn, an alcohol free event center started by the church and others in the community.

"I knew that this was coming. I’m just having a hard time with it," said volunteer Heidi Brown. She and her family have been volunteering at U-Turn for years. "My family and I are all very involved and this has been a big part of our lives,"  said Brown.

She had been working at events and attending church services. She said it was like a second home for them. "I didn't make friendships, I made a family," said Brown.

Which is why Monday was so  difficult. They began packing up the place, for good. "My heart is here, I'm here tonight packing up my heart, “sobbed Brown.

"People that we've touched, that's really the hardest part of all this. They are really great people," said pastor Rich Bontrager. He says it started out as just a non-denominational church, but grew into a recovery center for many. "Eighty percent of our congregation is now recovery ex-cons," said Bontrager.

He wishes they could continue to change those lives, but just couldn’t stay afloat during these tough economic times. "Being a totally volunteer organization, that made it tough," said Bontrager.

Though he says, they're not giving up on those who've relied on the church "We are going to help them find some other churches that can help them out," said Bontrager.

However, adjusting to something new, isn't going to be easy for some. "We're going to be kind of lost for a little while trying to figure out where we fit again," said Brown.

U-Turn was still open Monday night for the March Madness basketball games and has one more event Tuesday. After that, it'll be closed.