Cornerstone Chapel, one of the largest churches in Northern Virginia, opened the doors on its new building Sunday.
The church held a public open house that evening to let its congregation and the community at large see the new digs, an expansive 100,000-square-foot facility set on 28 rolling acres at the corner of Sycolin Road and Battlefield Parkway in Leesburg.
It includes a sanctuary with space to seat 2,000, as well as children’s classrooms, auditoriums for middle and high school students and an open gathering area that includes a coffee shop and fireplace. Future phases include plans for a student center, wedding chapel and administration building.
The new building has been a years-long vision for the church’s leaders. Cornerstone Chapel has occupied a 30,000-square-foot building on Miller Drive south of Leesburg since 1997. As the number of people attending each weekend surpassed 4,000, it got logistically tricky to get everyone in and out of the small building.
The church, under the leadership of Pastor Gary Hamrick, has held a Saturday evening service and three services on Sundays. In the past year, as many as 400 people were guided to overflow rooms to watch the service via video feeds because not everyone could fit in the sanctuary.
Dave Silvernale and his wife visited Cornerstone Chapel in 2001 and found it was the “perfect church for young families.” He said parking got to be difficult in the previous building.
“This is really great,” he said, standing in the foyer of the new building. He sees the new campus as an opportunity to “be open and inviting” to the community at large. “That’s our goal: for more people to know the love of Christ.”
Hamrick is expecting more people to find their way to Cornerstone Chapel and that the new space will fill before long. Many of the roughly 1,000 people who watch services from home via live webcasts have told him they will start attending in person once the new building is open. “We were told to expect 20 to 30 percent growth in the first few months,” Hamrick said.
He stressed that Cornerstone Chapel’s focus will continue to be on serving those inside and outside of the building’s walls. “I think the greatest problem facing the church is becoming ingrown. Our main objective is to be community minded,” he said. “We’ll continue to teach the truth, and the truth will do its work in the hearts and minds of people, but we are focused on reaching out to the community.”
Cornerstone Chapel holds its first services at its new campus on Sunday, at 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. The building is at 650 Battlefield Parkway, Leesburg.
The county government is finalizing plans to purchase the church’s former building, at 742 Miller Drive SE, to most likely house the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.