A growing church
Pastor Ronnie Trice and his wife Sandy organized Maranatha Church in December 1973, initially to serve its local community of Mont Belvieu, Texas. But church membership increased rapidly, so its congregation soon outgrew the sanctuary they then used, which seated six hundred.
In 1984, Maranatha (name means Come, Lord Jesus) opened the doors of its new facility, consisting of two Monolithic Domes – the church with its diameter of 208 feet and height of 48 feet and an auxiliary building, measuring 60 by 25 feet which houses offices and community rooms.
Pastor Trice reported that 4000 people can now be “comfortably seated” in their Monolithic Dome sanctuary, with its unobstructed view and comfortable acoustics. He said, “The acoustics are excellent in our building. They seem very natural.”
A dream come true
Trice readily admits that their interest in a Monolithic Dome stemmed from a dream of a beautiful but practical, cost-efficient facility. Maranatha began turning that dream into a reality by researching the operational cost-efficiency of various designs. Their study showed that a Monolithic Dome was their best bet.
Trice said that Maranatha’s combined cooling and heating costs average about $1500 per month. That yields a “conservative estimate of savings of about $60,000 per year.” He attributes those savings to operational costs that are far less than those of a conventional church of the same size.
Letter of February 2, 2004 from Dr. Ronnie Trice:
I am the pastor of Marantha Church in Mont Belvieu, Texas. We constructed our dome facility in 1984 and have been very pleased with it and all of its benefits. It is extremely energy efficient causing our energy bills to be low. To date, our heater has never even been turned on. We only turn on our air conditioners for church services two days a week. The temperature in the dome on days when the air is turned off never fluctuates more than ten degrees, even in 100 degree weather. Because we have music in our services, we installed a fiberglass lay-in ceiling and carpeting some facial walls. I have no doubts in recommending this type of construction to anyone. If you have any other questions, please feel free to call my office at 281/576-2259.
September 25, 2005: Church members call Hurricane Rita “eerie”
Maranatha Church in Mont Belvieu, Texas is located just 70 miles west of where the eye of Hurricane Rita hit Texas and Louisiana last week.
As millions of people attempted to evacuate the Houston area, I-45, became completely clogged. Northbound traffic moved at speeds between one-half to one mile per hour. Because of this, about a dozen members of Maranatha decided to stay in their Monolithic Dome church during the hurricane.
Dora Hatch, a secretary at Maranatha, hunkered down with her family. She said, “We tried to evacuate, but after 9 hours in the car, we were only a few miles away, so we came back. We stayed in the Monolithic Dome office at the church, while others stayed in the sanctuary. Those that stayed in the sanctuary said the storm was ‘eerie’ because they could hear it, but felt safe from it.”
Wind gusts of up to 100 mph were reported in their area. Their Monolithic Dome church went unscathed.
After the storm, Dora and her family were relieved to find damage to their property was limited to the loss of a few electric poles. Damage in the area near the church seemed to be located in “pockets.” Random clusters of homes had their roofs sheered off. Large trees were uprooted and fences blown down.
Note: This article combines three that we presented about Maranatha Church between 1998 and 2005.