It may seem like an odd choice to nestle a church among a tattoo studio, a strip club, a music venue and bars, but that is exactly why Pastor Scott Chrostek wanted to build his new United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Downtown on Grand Boulevard near 16th Street.
“We absolutely love our neighborhood, and we love our neighbors,” said Chrostek. “It seemed like a great place to be since there is such a great spirit.” Resurrection has outgrown its current home nearby on McGee Street and is building a 15,236-square-foot church at one end of The Kansas City’s Star’s north parking lot.
Chrostek finds biblical allusions all over this Crossroads neighborhood.
“You can’t help but look around and see immediately to the east this glass building lit up. It’s The Star rising in the east,” he said, referring to The Star’s Press Pavilion. “The Three Kings coming to the child king followed the star rising in the east.
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“Then you turn and look around and there is a building with a big sign talking about temptation,” as in Temptations strip club farther north on Grand. Then there is Mercy Seat Tattoo, alluding to the biblical forgiveness of sins. Lastly, the church’s original downtown home was formerly Crosstown Station, as in the Stations of the Cross in a church, Chrostek says.
“When we think about our building scripturally, this building is where we want to be and we are surrounded by the best neighbors. It has been so fun,” he said.
The church simply needs more space. “What began as a handful of people has grown to a community that has over 1,000 in worship,” said Chrostek. So the church finds other places for its more popular events, such as an Easter egg hunt from 10 a.m. to noon April 8 on the Liberty Memorial lawn and Easter services at 9 and 11 a.m. April 16 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
This will be the first new church building downtown in more than 80 years, Chrostek said. It will add another ingredient to the interesting mix on this block of Grand Boulevard. Among some of the longest-running businesses are Suzy’s Cafe, the Mercy Seat Tattoo and Retro Inferno.
“When I moved over here in March 2004, the Sprint Center (just to the north) wasn’t on the drawing board and the entertainment district wasn’t there. There wasn’t much on the street. The difference is huge,” said Retro Inferno owner Rod Parks. The shop carries a huge assortment of mid-century modern furniture, art and artifacts.
The Cigar Box is another staple on the block and is worth a visit on a weekend night to catch Al Latta performing classics by singers like Frank Sinatra.
Newcomers include the bright, cheery Koko Thai — try the Sweet and Sour Salmon — and the modern and elegant cocktail bar SoT (which stands for South of Truman Road). Try the Potosi Paloma or a Cocktail in the Rock there.
Across the street, the RecordBar, a former mainstay near Westport, features a steady stream of live music in its new Crossroads home.