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This one's for the children
When the Rev. Rick Beaudry and his church, Calvary Chapel, purchased the historic Roxy Theater to start a worship and performance space in downtown Bremerton four years ago, he knew it was missing one thing.
There wasnt enough space for the children, Beaudry said.
As his church has grown from 30 to 250 members, he has fielded numerous complaints from parents saying he needs to find an adequate space for their young children to go, especially while they attend the popular Sunday service. About 70 children regularly attend that session with their parents.
After years of renting small places nearby or next door, Beaudry finally found a permanent solution. His church, Calvary Chapel, just purchased the old four-story Sears building on fourth street for $295,000.
Long vacant since Sears moved out in the mid 1980s, the 34,000-square-foot building will serve as a day care facility, recreation space and eventually, a preschool.
Beaudry hopes the doors will be open by Sept. 1.
The daycare facility is the final link for a man dedicated to helping young people in the downtown area.
What makes the Roxy Theater unique is that its stage doubles as both a place for bands to jam and as Beaudrys pulpit for the Calvary Chapel.
Occasionally, some members of the church say he should stop having secular performances because the Roxy needs be a sanctuary.
Still, every Friday or Saturday night, he hosts rock n roll shows, allowing local high school bands take the stage until midnight comes around.
About 200 kids show up to every show. They often can be seen spilling outside the building onto Fourth Street, chatting on the sidewalk while the rest of downtown is closed down.
Other than the Roxy, only Coffee Oasis and Discordia Games actually cater to young people in downtown Bremerton.
There are very few places for the young people to play their music, Beaudry said. The vision is to provide these young kids with a place to play their music in a decently organized manner.
When the Roxy opened, the policy used to be Christian bands only. Then, Beaudry started an experiment. He started mixing Christian bands with secular bands, and the kids have kept coming back.
My daughter spends half her day everyday booking bands, Beaudry said.
Beaudry also started another unique tradition: He reads passages from the Bible during every show.
It is a little controversial for some of them, he said. Some of them start heckling, some of them yell, There is no God, Beaudry said. He lets anyone leave the theater who is not interested in the message. But, more often these days, the kids stick around and hear him out.
When efforts begin to renovate the Sears building, Beaudry expects much of the work will be done by volunteers. He knows at least 30 members of the church who are professional construction workers, but he also says some of the kids who come to hear music on the weekends have expressed their interest to help as well.