By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Bob Murray says there are two key words attached to Quincy Christian School that make it unique.
Those same words will also help make it successful in the coming years, he feels.
"Quincy Christian School is independent and nondenominational," said Murray, who took over as administrator late last summer.
The school is not an outreach of any one specific church, denomination or doctrine.
"We represent all of the churches," Murray said.
Murray said it is his job as administrator to get that message out about the school, which since its opening 16 years ago has struggled to find an identity in the community. Murray's energetic approach -- plus a move to a new site a couple of years ago -- appear to be paying dividends for the school.
When Murray arrived last July about a month before school was to start there were 42 students enrolled in prekindergarten through 12th grade.
There are now 67. That's a 59 percent increase -- and Murray is just beginning to beat the drum. He's also just beginning to get a feel for the community he calls home after spending most of his administrative career in California.
Murray, whose goal is to have the school's enrollment doubled in the near future, said the moment he first visited Quincy for an interview he knew this was where he was supposed to be.
"Why am I here?" he said. "God."
Murray worked at a much larger school in California and has had to temporarily leave his family behind while establishing roots in Quincy, but never once has wavered about his decision to relocate.
"This is where I am supposed to be," he said.
His wife, Debbie, soon will be joining him in Quincy. The couple has three adult children and four grandchildren.
Murray has spent most of his waking hours in recent months getting acquainted with not only with the students, parents and staff of 13 at the school, but also the community. He's making an effort to attend every church that has students represented at the school, and has found that journey to be extremely uplifting. He says he not only wants to know the student and family, but also their church home.
That means Murray has, or is in the process of visiting Madison Park Christian, The Crossing, Faith Assembly of God, Columbus Road Baptist, Journey, New Beginnings, Cornerstone, Calvary Baptist, Calvary Tabernacle. Grandview, Bethel Assembly of God, Blessed Sacrament, Cathedral of Worship and Faith Christian churches.
Murray is also trying to establish relationships with those and other churches that he feels will benefit the growth of the school.
"Our long-term goal is to grow a good, healthy Christian school," he said.
The school now occupies what was once the two-story St. John's Catholic elementary school building at 1236 N. 10th. The school was closed seven years ago when several local parishes were consolidated as part of a downsizing of the local Catholic community. The school was purchased five years ago, along with the former St. John's Church, which sits just to the south of the school at Tenth and Cedar, by Grandview Church.
Grandview moved from its former home at 18th and Harrison. Soon afterward, Grandview and Quincy Christian School worked out a lease agreement. Although Grandview serves as landlord, the church has no say in school operations.
QCS was previously in the northeast corner of town on Longlett Drive. School officials had been seeking a more centralized location for several years in an effort to create more awareness about itself.
"We're going to continue to grow," Murray said. "It's almost like a lot of Quincy does not know about Quincy Christian School."
A good bet, however is those who don't soon will.
"I am not a status quo kind of guy," Murray said. "Let's dream dreams and be all that God wants us to be."