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April 24, 2014

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Good Samaritan Lutheran Church congregation thrives at new campus

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Heather Cory

Pastor Don Lorfing stands in the sanctuary of the new location of Good Samaritan Lutheran Church on Dec. 11. Construction on the $6 million project began in October, 2007, and the church began holding services at the new location a year later.

A new church campus

Good Samaritan Lutheran Church has moved to a new location, south of the 215 Beltway at 8425 W. Windmill Lane, near the corner of Durango Drive and Windmill Lane. Construction on the $6 million project began in October, 2007, and the church began holding services at the new location a year later. Launch slideshow »

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For more information visit www.gslclasvegas.org.

As the finishing touches are being applied to the new campus of Good Samaritan Lutheran Church, Pastor Don Lorfing has often found himself taking a deep breath and a step back to look at the bigger picture.

"Sometimes I get frustrated because the electricity isn't working or I can't get signage — this is not the stuff they train you for in seminary school," he said. "But then my wife reminds me that I've only been here for a month."

Construction on the $6 million project began in October, 2007, and the church began holding services at the new location a year later.

The new campus is south of the 215 Beltway at 8425 W. Windmill Lane, near the corner of Durango Drive and Windmill Lane.

For the past 30 years, Good Samaritan Lutheran was located near the corner of Torrey Pines Drive and Flamingo Road — a building now occupied by Persian Christian Church.

"We just ran out of room at the old church," Lorfing said. "We were very cramped in worship and didn't have enough room for the kids in Sunday school. We were also having parking issues."

The 350-member congregation now has 5-acre home with four services provided each Sunday. Although Lorfing said the church has drawn members from all over the Las Vegas Valley, the majority of congregants are from the neighborhoods surrounding the previous location at Torrey Pines Drive and Flamingo Road.

"Even with a bigger campus, our goal is to provide more of a small church feel," Lorfing said.

The new worship room, which can also be used for banquets and other special events, has a sound-insulated cry room where parents and crying babies can still watch the service and hear it through a speaker system.

"Not that I don't love crying babies, but if they keep crying, they can come in here," Lorfing said.

An adjacent meeting room is already being used by a gambling support group, with other groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous also planning to use it down the road. The new church also has a full kitchen and office spaces.

Just outside of the worship room is a courtyard that features a large sculpture of a cross with the mountains of Blue Diamond serving as a backdrop. The church plans to surround the cross with plants, flowers and running water to transform it into an outdoor meditation area.

"People will be able to sit here and just look at the mountains or think about things," Lorfing said.

Adjacent to the church is a new educational center, New Hope Christian Academy, which plans to open by the end of the year. Once open, the academy will serve as both a Sunday school and a weekday preschool.

Hanging over the entrance to the church's worship room is a collection of colorful stained glass windows, which were brought over from the previous location. The windows are adorned with the church's motto — "Giving, Sharing, Loving, Caring."

"This is one of the most caring congregations I've ever been a part of," Lorfing said. "More people should put their faith into action, and this congregation gets it."

Good Samaritan Lutheran Church plans a new location celebration on Jan. 10 and Jan. 11. For more information visit www.gslclasvegas.org.

Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].

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