The Abundant Life Assembly of God Church has undergone a metamorphosis during the past year, from the vacant and decaying Larry Scott health spa to a remodeled, freshly painted, bustling religious center.
The picture of the muscular athlete on the side of the building at 410 N. Main, which for years was a landmark on the three-acre site near I-15, has been painted over. Cracked walls have been refurbished and attractive landscaping has taken the place of tall, scraggly weeds.Inside, dramatic changes have also taken place. The spa's swimming pool has been filled in, and gymnasiums and locker rooms have been turned into a 150-seat chapel and auditorium. Walls have been torn out, put in and remodeled, and floors and ceilings refurbished.
The North Salt Lake City Council thinks so highly of the church's renovation that they recently awarded the church a top prize in a city beautification drive.
The Rev. Clive Shryer, who is the church's minister, said construction inside and out is still going on, and a great deal of work remains to be done. "Mostly, we wait on manpower and money," he said, smiling.
"The Assemblies of God, formed in 1914, is one of several church groups that form the present-day Pentecostal movement, which grew out of an international religious awakening in the late 1800s.
"The denomination now has more than 25,000 ministers and about 10,400 churches in the United States, with nearly 2 million members in this country and 10.5 million members overseas," the Rev. Shryer said.
The Abundant Life church started in Bountiful in January 1985, with six students from Trinity Bible College, Ellendale, N.D., under the direction of the Rev. Gary L. Royer, who was an unsalaried extension Trinity Bible College professor. They held their first meetings in Protestant church buildings, the Lindquist Mortuary and Servus Drug.
The students were soon joined by a few local Assemblies of God families who had been driving long distances to attend church. On Sept. 16, 1985, it was recorded that 130 people attended at least one Sunday service.
Today, the church has a congregation of more than 120, including 80 active members. It also has two offshoots. Grace Assembly of God Church, established in January 1986, meets in the Airport Holiday Inn, Rose Park, and Faith Assembly of God Church, established in September 1987, meets in Clearfield Community Church.
The Rev. Royer oversees all three churches and directs the work of the Rev. Shryer and the ministries of his brother, the Rev. Danny Royer, in Rose Park, and the Rev. Brad Dorsey in Clearfield.
Children are at the center of the North Salt Lake church. The Rev. Shryer said he has more than 50 young people in his congregation and many of the church's programs are directed toward youth the Royal Rangers for boys 6 to 18, the Missionettes for girls and the Rainbows for preschool-age children.
Sunday's schedule includes Sunday school at 9:30 a.m., morning worship at 10:45 a.m. and an evening praise service at 6:30 p.m.
A breakfast Bible study class is held at Servus Drug at 8:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Evening services are held at 7. Thursdays and other special events and services are held throughout the week.
Someday Shryer hopes to build a daycare center at the North Salt Lake church. "We are building a kitchen in the church now."
This weekend, April 23 and 24, church members will participate in a variety of special events around the valley.
A Bible seminar, "Coping with Reality While Counting It All Joy," is scheduled April 23 from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 1:45 to 3:15 p.m. at Southeast Christian Church, 1881 Vine St., Salt Lake City.
Family Christian Skate Night will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. April 23 at 9151 S. 255 West, Sandy. A $2 fee includes skate rental.
On April 24, composer and musician John Mandeville will perform at 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Grace Assembly of God Church in the Airport Hilton Inn.
On April 30, a Christian Youth skating party will be held at Classic Skating in Bountiful from 5 to 7 p.m. The $1.50 fee includes skate rental. Dinner and games will be held at Grace Baptist Church afterward. Also April 30, Terry Talbot will give a concert at Ogden High School at 8 p.m.
May 8-14 church members will attend the Lowell Lundstrom Crusade, part of the Wasatch Crusade for Jesus, at Weber State College.
For more information about church events, call the church office at 292-8617.