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‘No perfect people allowed’ in new Wilkes-Barre church

Restored Church to hold grand opening, ribbon cutting at Downtown Arts Sept. 8
The towering pipes of a now silent organ and the colorful stained glass windows surrounding the old building are reminiscent of the place of worship it used to be. Downtown Arts, 47 North Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, hasn’t housed a church since First United Methodist Church of Wilkes-Barre closed several years ago.
Until now.
Restored Church, which began providing monthly Sunday “preview” gatherings there in July, 2012, will hold its grand opening at the same location September 8 at 10:30 a.m. Parking is available across the street. The community event will feature live music by the church’s band, children’s activities, a presentation of the church’s vision and mission, an official Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association ribbon cutting and more. An appreciation gift will be presented to Gina Malsky, owner, Downtown Arts, who allows the church to rent the space each Sunday.
All are invited to attend. The church has just one rule for those entering its gatherings: “No perfect people allowed.”
“There aren't any perfect people in existence,” said Dan Nichols, 24, one of Restored Church’s two co-pastors. “Most church sub-cultures have the expectation that everyone has it ‘all together,’ but no one does. Jesus was perfect for us. So we trust him, not ourselves.”
“We are all about Jesus,” said Tim Walker, 23, co-pastor. “To us, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or what your background is. We want you to feel welcome at Restored Church.”
That goes for people of all ages, as well. Restored Church offers Restored Kids, a program for children from infant to 10 years old, at each of its Sunday gatherings, to be held weekly at Downtown Arts beginning September 8.
Restored Kids features music, games, Bible stories and more. A specific check-in and check-out system is used and background checks are completed for all volunteers, in order to ensure a safe environment for the children.
“We’re working with a curriculum called ‘Growing Faith,’ and the kids really enjoy hearing stories directly from the Bible and participating in fun activities to go with it,” said Lacey Payne, 25, children’s director. “We also send home a paper with the story they read and a verse to memorize with their parents.”
In addition to the Sunday services, Restored Church hosts weekly “house church” gatherings in various locations different days of the week. These are community-focused groups where members and guests come together to share a meal, build relationships, talk about life, and study the Bible in a guided discussion format.
The church maintains an active presence in the community, participating in various service projects, acts of kindness, organizations and events, such as: street clean-ups, free snow removal, Wyoming Valley Rescue Mission, Third Friday Art Walk, RiverFest, Wilkes-Barre Farmers Market, Downtown Business Association and more.
Many people will recognize volunteers from Restored Church as the people who gave free water bottles to them on a hot day or paid their parking meters in downtown Wilkes-Barre. 
The group views other churches in the area as partners, not competition, and Nichols and Walker were welcomed as guest speakers at several, including Living Hope Bible Church, First Baptist Church of Wilkes-Barre, Parsons Primitive Methodist Church, City Light Church and others.
Although “Restored Church” is a fitting title, considering the history of the building in which it meets, the name was chosen before the location was determined. Nichols explained it refers to the relationships between God and people.
“Our relationship with God is broken because we're imperfect people,” he said. “Jesus was perfect for us so that we can have a restored relationship with God.”
Restored Church is a group of Jesus-followers in Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. It exists as a church in the city for the city, to give every man, woman, and child in Wilkes-Barre repeated opportunities to hear, see and respond to the gospel, or good news, of Jesus Christ. For more information, call 570.266.7675, email info@restoredchurch.org or visit Restored Church online at restoredchurch.org, facebook.com/restoredchurch.org and twitter.com/restored_church.

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