WEST HAVEN -- A new campus of Alpine Church will open here Oct. 9 with services for those who want to worship in a non-denominational atmosphere.
Services at the new campus will be at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sundays.
Two churches previously aligned with the Evangelical Free Church of America - Wasatch Evangelical Free Church and Christ Community Church of Clearfield - will combine with the congregation of Alpine Church in the newly remodeled building in an unincorporated area at 4433 S. 3100 West. Wasatch previously met at the location of the new campus; Christ Community is a 2002 plant of Wasatch.
The West Haven church has been closed all summer while the building has undergone the change.
"We've been remodeling the building to fit in better with the Alpine sort of feel," said Rev. Ross Anderson, previously of Wasatch Church. "We've put in the same color schemes to make it feel like it was one family."
Previously, Wasatch Evangelical Free Church members attended Alpine Church in Riverdale while they waited for the new church to open. Alpine Church currently has campuses operating in Riverdale and Layton.
Rev. Tom Koehler, previously of Christ Community, will serve as the campus pastor but members there will have access to Anderson for pastoral care.
The change came about when Anderson, who planted Wasatch Evangelical Free Church 28 years ago, wanted to alter the way he worked and ministered.
Anderson, who just last month released a new book titled "Understanding Your Mormon Neighbors," (Zondervan, $10) now is a part-time pastor at Alpine Church and is pursuing interests in writing, consulting and coaching.
He has started a group called Utah Advance, which is designed to help churches get started in Utah and to have ministries in Utah's unique cultural climate.
"They come from other states and they don't necessarily get it in terms of how to build relationships," Anderson said of those who plant churches in Utah.
In the process of meeting with the church board of directors in preparation for his desired change, Anderson and leaders of the board decided to merge with Alpine Church rather than to go through the process of hiring a new pastor.
"We were concerned that in Utah churches with long-tenured pastors have not always made that transition very well to the next guy," Anderson said. "We also began to think about what if we were to begin to partner with a like-minded congregation or congregations to do something different."
And members believed that Alpine Church was similar enough to the church they had become used to.
"Our whole philosophy of ministry and core values and sense of mission are very, very compatible," Anderson said.
Church leaders are hoping that the change will spur new people to come and look into the church.
"What we believe is that a lot of people who are not currently affiliated with any faith will come and check it out," Anderson said. "We're inviting people who don't have a church home, who feel far from God or who feel spiritually restless and who want to try something different from what they grew up with or from what they feel the stereotypes from church might be."
And Anderson wants potential church visitors to know that although Alpine Church now has thousands who now call the church their home, it is not a mega church.
"The philosophy is definitely not to be a mega church," Anderson said. "The auditoriums are not that large. They only seat a few hundred people. The leaders never had in mind to have a 15,000-person auditorium."
He said Alpine Church always will multiply to new services and new locations rather than get everyone in one building or location.
For more information about Alpine Church, visit the church's website, alpinechurch.org, or call 801-392-8000.