The church, which was founded in 1945 by Oakdale Free Church, used to be located on the corner of 3rd Street and Main Street until the move to their current location in 1964. In 1989, Ostercamp came on board and has watched the church community grow since.
In 2000 the congregation approved and added on an 84x70 foot gym on its south side. The gym was mainly added because of the church's affiliation with the Awanas program that uses the space. Awanas have been meeting at the church since the start of the program in 1989 and it needed the space to accommodate the size of the program.
Then in 2008, the congregation decided to add on a new foyer space, offices, nursery and meeting space to better serve the people attending worship there.
"Had we added office space the same time as the gym it would have been a third this size," he said. "But our growth has made it larger."
Not only has the growth of Meriden E. Free expanded the building but it has also expanded the ministries of the church.
"We have put together a fairly extensive ministry to serve all facets of our congregation. I think we are fairly well-balanced in reaching out to the folks that come into our church," Ostercamp said. "A lot of that has to do with the tremendous effort by our volunteers. The volunteer spirit has been instrumental in accomplishing all of the things we do here."
Around every corner there is ministry happening at Meriden. Mothers of Preschoolers meet in the nursery monthly, the women of the church hold gatherings and time for fellowship with one another, the senior high and junior high students have a place to learn and connect through the efforts of the youth pastor, Aaron Willey, and the list goes on.
In March the church opened its doors to Reality Ministries and the community, hosting a drama called "Last Chance" for the cost of a free-will donation.
"We had a good response from the people that were here," Pastor Larry Ostercamp said.
This Friday, MEFC will be hosting a praise and worship service with special guest, Brandon Dempsey of Texas. Dempsey is a praise and worship guru who travels the country training praise bands how to enrich their music and better serve in the capacity they fill during a worship service.
"It's his ministry to come in and teach praise bands how to do music and do it even better," Ostercamp said.
The members of Meriden E. Free praise band will receive a special lesson from Dempsey Friday afternoon, and will show off their talents during a worship service held Friday, April 24 at 7 p.m.
Meriden is also looking forward to an evening with Robert Rogers, a public speaker and song writer, from Fort Wayne, IN. Rogers lost his wife and four children after the family van was swept off the road and crushed during a flash flood on Interstate 35 near Emporia, Kansas, Aug. 31, 2003. He now travels the country sharing his story of loss and teaching others to live a life of no regrets and will be doing so Sunday, April 26 at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend to hear Rogers moving and motivational story.
For more information about the event or any other activities at Meriden Evangelical Free Church, contact the church office at 712-443-8283.