On April 9, the traveling Mosaic Sanctuary exhibit, Messiah’s Mansion, opened in St. Louis. The exhibit, which could be seen through guided tours, had 1,800 visitors during its eight-day duration.
In 2020, St. Louis Central Church member Amy Ikpeama was inspired by a sermon about the symbolism of the sanctuary. She wondered if there was a way the church could build a life-sized replica of the sanctuary and invite the community to come see it. After discussing these possibilities with different teams in the church, the church determined it would be very difficult to build their own life-sized replica of the sanctuary.
Not giving up completely on the idea, Ikpeama began searching the internet.
“One way or another I stumbled upon Messiah’s Mansion,” Ikpeama said. “The church found out [Messiah’s Mansion does] tours. They have a life-size replica that they travel with in a semi-truck.”
After more research, the church decided to book a date for Messiah’s Mansion to come to the St. Louis area.
“We wanted to book their dates, and I really wanted it to be at Easter time,” Ikpeama said. “So, we filled out the application, we got the deposit, we sent it in and then we started working—which included [finding] a location.”
Obtaining a location ended up being more difficult than Ikpeama initially thought. Since Messiah’s Mansion is a life-size replica, the exhibit requires a large space. Eventually, after several months of looking and research, in December 2021, just four months before Messiah’s Mansion was coming, St. Louis Central found a non-Adventist church willing to hold the event on their property.
After the location was secured, St. Louis Central and other area churches—both in the Iowa-Missouri Conference and the Central States Conferenc—began advertising. The churches handed out letters, launched a digital advertising campaign, bought billboard advertising and conducted radio interviews.
Six churches (Agape, St. Louis Central, St. Louis Mid-Rivers, St. Louis Southside, West County, and St. Louis Spanish) officially partnered together to make Messiah’s Mansion possible. Members of the Northside Church and students from Sunnydale Adventist Academy also volunteered. Carolyn Leinneweber, assistant director for Messiah’s Mansion, said the teamwork between churches was “awesome.”
“It really warms my heart to see the churches working together,” Leinneweber said.
Angela Powell, a member of the Agape Church, prayed at and for Messiah’s Mansion every day. She said she learned something every day and saw God’s hand working at the exhibit. Powell believes because volunteers from different churches came together, Messiah’s Mansion was able to impact many people.
Messiah’s Mansion received a lot of positive feedback about the exhibit and many attendees said the tour positively effected their faith walk.
“The tour was so interesting, and I learned so much Biblical history that strengthened my faith! Thank you for putting this on,” wrote a local Presbyterian church member.
While the temporary exhibit has ended, the impact has not. About 250 individuals expressed interest in Bible studies. These individuals will be divided based on zip code, and local churches in nearby zip codes will reach out to those interested and provide Bible studies and other resources.