During 1996, while the spiritual work of the new church continued to grow successfully, the first Reach Out for Christ Church building campaign was postponed when residency papers for Pastor Koenings expired and he was forced to return to his Australian homeland. Rev. Peter Kirk Hopper of Freeville, New York was asked by that pastor and the church elders to take over the spiritual leadership of the congregation. While waiting to renew the building campaign, Pastor Hopper and associate pastor Gene Rotunda obtained a lease agreement from The George Junior Republic in Freeville, to utilize their venerable 100 year old “Christ Chapel” as temporary quarters.
The church continued to grow steadily, holding Sunday, Wednesday and special services at The Chapel for a wide variety of Biblically based functions focused on praise, worship and the preaching and teaching of The Word of God. Many George Junior Republic citizens and staff members attended regular adult and youth services, which often featured local and global evangelists, pastors, ministers, singers and musicians.
Early in 1999, it again became obvious that the need to build a new church was important if the church were to continue to grow. In July 2000, after much prayer, planning and fund raising, ground was finally broken on the Johnson Road property to build a church building. (A portion of the property was sold off to help fund the undertaking.) The new church with almost 9,000 square feet of functional space was built.