Members of a Meridian-based church have repainted the exterior of Kuna’s Old 4th Street Gym.

Over several days last week, volunteers from the Friendship Celebration Lutheran Church gave the gym a fresh coat of paint to prepare the recreation center for the church’s new Kuna services beginning this fall.

Friendship Celebration has about 600 members in Meridian and is looking to expand to Kuna, where it serves a few dozen people at home-based worship meetings, according to Tom Hausch, the church’s pastor.

Hausch, who will lead Friendship Celebration’s Kuna congregation, called Friendship Lutheran Mission, said services will be held at the Old 4th Street Gym until the church finds a permanent home.

Friendship Lutheran Mission — the first church plant of Friendship Celebration, which Hausch founded 25 years ago — will rent the gym from the Kuna School District. Hausch said he cut a deal with Ben Gleaton, facilities coordinator for the school district.

“(Gleaton) said we could knock off some of our rent by painting the building,” Hausch said.

Friendship Lutheran Mission will rent the gym for $125 per day, according to Allison Westfall, a spokeswoman for the Kuna School District. The church invested between $8,000 and $10,000 for the improvements, Westfall said.

Hausch rounded up volunteers — members of Friendship Celebration and its GRUNTS (General Repairs Undertaken by Nominally Trained Seniors) group, the majority of whom are not professional painters.

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Roger Hilliard, 72, was painting the bottom of the gym last week. Above him, professional painters on a loaned mechanical lift, focused on the top.

“I’m not a painter by trade,” said Hilliard, a GRUNTS member. “I’m supposed to be retired. But it’s for a good reason. This church is fabulous.”

The painting occurred alongside Friendship Celebration’s first Kuna-based Vacation Bible School, a weeklong summer camp for youth to study religious texts, participate in activities and socialize.

Hausch said the church was expecting 15 to 20 kids to enroll in the camp. Actual enrollment was 34.

“We were really happy when we had that many people,” Hausch said.

Friendship Lutheran Mission’s first worship service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 6. All are welcome to attend worship services, which will be contemporary, rather than traditional Lutheran services, Hausch said. His goal is to host 50 to 60 people.

Friendship Lutheran Mission needs a dozen or more musicians and vocalists to provide music at its services. To volunteer, contact Hausch at 208-860-1274.

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-922-3008. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.

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