BAXTER -- As general superintendent of all Assembly of God churches in the United States, the Rev. Thomas Trask has seen his share of church buildings.
Trask, a Brainerd native, heads up 12,227 Assembly of God churches nationally and visited Baxter's Heritage Assembly of God last Sunday. Trask, along with a number of others, spoke at a service to dedicate the new church building.
"This is a gorgeous facility," Trask said of Heritage, but he was quick to point out the building is just that, a building.
"The church is really the people," he said. "The building is to house the people."
The purpose of the dedication service, Trask said, was to set apart the building from the reason it was built, to touch people's lives and minister to them.
"We're dedicating it to the Lord," he said.
Trask lived in Brainerd until age 7. His parents owned two downtown Brainerd bars, the Ransford Cocktail Lounge and The Dutch Room. After converting to Christianity, Trask's father became a deacon at the Brainerd Assembly of God Church.
Since his parents both have died, Trask said he hasn't been to Brainerd in years. He was surprised to find many church-goers remembered him from when he was a boy, attending Brainerd Assembly of God more than 60 years ago.
Trask currently lives in Springfield, Mo., home of the Assembly of God's national headquarters. He constantly travels, speaking to congregations around the world.
"In 52 Sundays (per year) I spread myself thin traveling around the nation and the world. It makes it difficult to get back (to Brainerd)," Trask said.
The Rev. Mark Boone of Heritage said he felt honored to have Trask at the dedication service. Pastors from other local churches also attended the service. The Rev. Dan Werthman, of Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter, said it's important for churches to work together to reach different groups of people.
"I'm appreciative for the fellowship with other pastors and churches from this community," Boone said.
The church formerly known as Brainerd Assembly of God changed its name to Heritage Assembly of God upon relocating to Baxter. Trask was shocked to see how much the area, especially Baxter, has grown since he last visited.
Darrel Olson, Baxter mayor and member of Heritage, spoke to the crowded church at the dedication service.
"It took 85 years for us to get this church in the right city," he said with a smile. "I'm honored to welcome this great body of believers to the city of Baxter."
HEIDI LAKE can be reached at 855-5879 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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