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Five years ago, Nathan and Mary Johnson decided to plant the Freedom Church in downtown, so as to be "right where people's lives intersect." Photo by Sarah Volpenhien/Grand Forks Herald

Grand Forks church expands downtown location

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News Grand Forks,North Dakota 58203
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Grand Forks church expands downtown location
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

Though the Grand Forks’ bar district may seem like a bizarre place for a church, Pastor Nathan Johnson says the Freedom Church’s location in downtown was deliberate.


“We wanted to be right where people’s lives intersect,” he said Sunday after morning service. “There’s something really powerful about the heart of the city.”

The Freedom Church took up roots on Demers Avenue below the bar The Loft five years ago and now is expanding into the space where Ojata Records, which hosts live music and sells comics, records and hot dogs, currently resides.

Johnson said the church attracts people from “all walks” and that downtown is a good, central location for them all to convene.

“We love it,” he said of the church’s downtown locale. “We have people downtown who would not be downtown were it not for the Freedom Church.”

Though some may see the church as out of place amid the tangle of bars downtown, Johnson said the church is “for everybody,” bar-goers included.

Sarah Volpenhein
(701) 780-1125