Pastor Ronnie Trice and his wife Sandy organized Maranatha Church in December 1973, initially to serve its local community in 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 (the 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 4,000 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.”
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 cooling and heating combined averages 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.
“To date, our heater has never even been turned on,” said Trice. “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.”
Since Maranatha Church has been operating for more than ten years, and its pastor consistently reports significant energy savings, Monolithic Dome Institute decided to do a study of its own.
Read the study, “How energy savings can pay for a Monolithic Dome church.”
Purpose: To prove or disprove that a large facility, such as the 34,000 square foot Maranatha Church, could pay for itself with its savings in energy and operational costs.
Conclusion: If energy savings were invested as shown, in the thirteenth year, the fund would equal the original price of the facility. By the end of thirty years, the fund would equal more than four times its original price.
Reprinted from the Winter 1998 issue of the Roundup: Journal of the Monolithic Dome Institute