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Christ on Main opens in Greenville

D-Day came two days early in Greenville. June 4 is when believers celebrated the grand opening of Christ on Main. These warriors of the faith took an empty, cavernous building on 14 S. Main St. downtown and created a beautiful dwelling where all are welcome to visit and learn about the Lord.

Brendan Dudley and Tony Owens with Veritas spearheaded the renovation effort. They relied on the insight of Joseph Pazdan and the McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture firm to design a warm, welcoming environment for everyone.

Bill Coffey, who is on the board of directors, called this a deanery-wide mission of bringing Christ into the middle of downtown Greenville.

“We always wanted to be right on Main,” Coffey said. “We want this to be an oasis for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.”

That was Pazdan’s quest, too. So he put his time, talent and treasure into the effort and created a masterpiece. All pro-bono, according to Coffey. Pazdan died before the grand opening.

He will be remembered for his effort to create Christ on Main, Coffey said, because “Joe touched so many lives.”

Many of them were at the grand opening, including Jane Durrell.

“It’s beautiful,” Durrell said. “I could not believe anything they were telling me was going to fit in this place.” Pazdan made it fit so perfectly. “It’s comfortable, spiritual, quiet, elegant and welcoming. Once they finish the furnishings, it’s going to be spectacular.”

One of those additions will be a stained-glass window of Jesus rescuing the lost sheep. Durrell envisions Christ on Main as a place that will change lives and where many lost sheep will be rescued.

“It’s very emotional, if you think about it, that Greenville, right when we need it the most, is welcoming Christ,” she said.

Durrell was so emotional because she saw the hard work it took to bring this center to fruition, and so did Mike and Cathy Spitzmiller.

“It’s been several years in the making,” according to Mike, who works with SouthState Bank. SouthState is the storefront's banker.

Spitzmiller saw this project's momentum from its inception. He explained that it grew from an idea and a concept to gaining support and finding a space downtown, then building a leadership team.

“I thought right from the beginning it was a great idea,” Spitzmiller said. “I had a lot of confidence in it because of all the people involved, and it’s great to see it come alive.”

Jordan Roberts, chairman of the board of directors, was one of those people involved. He calls the shop a wonderful gathering place where people can talk about their faith experiences.

“Look at where we are today,” Roberts said of the grand opening. “Maybe Christ on Main will be that opportunity for you to have that encounter with Christ.”

Opportunities will be plentiful once the store ramps up with its summer schedule and a full schedule in the fall, according to Robert Poppleton, vice chairman of the board of directors. It will be a place where people can pray the rosary and the Liturgy of the Hours, a place to hear inspiring speakers or quietly read uplifting literature.

“We will host both public and private events here,” Poppleton added, plus a gift shop and a bookstore will be in place this fall.

At the grand opening, folks could see samples of books, statues and posters right out front as they crossed the threshold. Once inside, they were greeted by Bishop Jacque Fabre-Jeune, CS, who blessed the site and everyone in it with holy water.

Bishop Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS, at the opening of Christ on Main June 4.
Bishop Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS, blessed Christ on Main store in Greenville at its opening on June 4. (Photo/Robert Markway)

“This place is going to be a sweet place to work. It’s beautiful,” Bishop Fabre said, then he complimented everyone involved in making Christ on Main a reality. It required “much work and prayer by so many.”

In the midst of all these businesses, this will be a place to stop and think and pray, he added.

Greenville Mayor Knox White was impressed with the building’s transformation, calling it “a beautiful job” of restoration. “We do pride ourselves in having a city that’s open to everybody.”

Coffey said that Bishop emeritus Robert E. Guglielmone was counting on that welcoming spirit.

“He said, ‘Invite, invite, invite. That is how Christ on Main will be successful,’” Coffey quoted the bishop.

That invitation stands at Christ on Main. As believers gather downtown before going forth to make disciples of all those around them, they just might remember June 4 as the day that Christ came to Main Street.

Joseph Reistroffer is a long-time writer who teaches religious education classes at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Spartanburg. Email him at